Sunday, April 21, 2019

All Doubt and Fear Is O'er

Awake, awake, my heart, and sing!
For Christ is ris’n today!
Behold a gleam of angel wings;
The stone is rolled away!

Awake, awake, my heart, and sing!
The gloom of death is o’er;
And Mary hastes, the news to bring,
He lives forevermore!

Awake, my heart, the morn is bright,
All doubt and fear is o’er!
For Christ is ris’n in power and might,
He lives forevermore!

Behold the joyous Easter day
That brings the news to earth
Of Easter morning far away,
When life from death had birth.

Alice J. Cleator, 1900; alt.
Tune: MAGNIFY (G.M.)
Calvin W. Laufer, 20th cent.

P.S. The fourteenth-century fresco above is from one of the chapels in the Santa Maria Novella convent in Florence. The artist Andrea da Firenze depicts scenes from the Resurrection, including the women coming to the empty tomb on the left side, and Mary's encounter with Jesus on the right.

Ten (Liturgical) Years Ago: Christ is risen! Alleluia!

Nine (Liturgical) Years Ago: The strife is o'er, the battle done

Seven (Liturgical) Years Ago: Jesus Christ is risen today

Six (Liturgical) Years Ago: Lift your voice rejoicing, Mary

Three (Liturgical) Years Ago: Christ Jesus lay in death's strong bands

Two (Liturgical) Years Ago: Jesus Christ is risen today (but not the one you think!)

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Gleams of Eternity Appear

As another Holy Week comes to a close...

Sunset to sunrise changes now,
For God has made the world anew;
On the Redeemer's thorn-crowned brow,
The wonders of that world we view.

E'en though the sun withholds its light
Lo! a more heav'nly lamp shines here,
And from the cross, on Calvary's height,
Gleams of eternity appear.

Here in o'erwhelming final strife
The Lord of Life has victory,
And sin is slain, and death brings life,
And earth inherits heaven's key.

Clement of Alexandria, 3rd cent.;
para. Howard Chandler Robbins, 20th. cent.; alt.
Tune: KEDRON (L.M.)
attrib. Elkanah Kelsay Dare, 19th cent.

Saint Clement of Alexandria (c.150-c.215) was originally Titus Flavius Clemens, a Greek theologian and a convert to Christianity who became the intellectual leader of the Christian community in Alexandria. His sainthood was revoked by the Roman Catholic Church in the sixteenth century, but he remains revered in Anglicanism, as well as the Coptic and Ethiopian branches of Christianity.

Howard Chandler Robbins (1876-1952) was ordained to the Episcopal priesthood in 1904 and served parishes in New York and New Jersey before serving as dean of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in Manhattan from 1917-1929. Following that position, he became a professor at the (Episcopal) General Theological Seminary. He was a member and was eventually made a Fellow of the Hymn Society of America, as well as a member of the Society of Mayflower Descendants. He served on the committee that produced the Episcopal Hymnal 1916, and several of his hymns (including today's paraphrase) appear in the subsequent Hymnal 1940. My own particular favorite of his hymns is Put forth, O God, thy Spirit's might, for which he also composed the tune CHELSEA SQUARE, one of the finest tunes of the twentieth-century, in my opinion.

One of the earliest published American composers, Elkanah Kelsay Dare (1782-1826), was also a Presbyterian minister who was pastor of the Union Presbyterian Church in Colerain Township (now Kirkwood), Pennsylvania (his middle name is sometimes given as Kelsey). His ten hymn tunes appeared in the Repository of Sacred Music, Part Second (1813) edited by John Wyeth.  (The most well-known tune that also appeared in that volume is NETTLETON, which everyone here has undoubtedly sung.)

P.S. - While putting this entry together, it occurred to me that the tune ST. CLEMENT is also a Long Meter tune, so I tried to match this text with that Anglican tune (suggestive of the original author) but sadly the word stresses don't line up correctly. And anyway, it appears that KEDRON is the only tune used for this text in the thirteen hymnals where it appears, as documented at, so, OK.

Eleven (Liturgical) Years Ago: O sorrow deep

Ten (Liturgical) Years Ago: All the sacrifice is ended

(Liturgical) Years Ago: When Jesus was convicted

Three (Liturgical) Years Ago: Resting from his work today