Category Archives: Hymns

Music of the Reformation

 

Who trusts in God, a strong abode in heaven and earth possesses;
Who looks in love to Christ above, no fear his heart oppresses.
In thee alone, dear Lord, we own sweet hope and consolation;
Our shield from foes, our balm for woes, our great and sure salvation.
Tho’ Satan’s wrath beset our path, and worldly scorn assail us,
While thou art near we will not fear, thy strength shall never fail us:
Thy rod and staff shall keep us safe, and guide our steps forever;
Nor shades of death, nor hell beneath, our souls from thee shall sever.
In all the strife of mortal life our feet shall stand securely;
Temptation’s hour shall lose its pow’r, for thou shalt guard us surely.
O God, renew, with heav’nly dew, our body, soul, and spirit,
Until we stand at thy right hand, thro’ Jesus’ saving merit.
Written by Joachim Magdeburg in 1572, I discovered this hymn today in my 1935 Pilgrim Hymnal.    The CD set from which the above performance comes looks like something I would like to own, especially after reading this review:
“Heirs of the Reformation is nothing if not ambitious. Over forty chorales (dating from the time of Luther to German high Orthodoxy) are set by an encyclopedic list of cantors spanning the centuries, from Praetorius and Scheidt to Robert Buckley Farlee and Kevin Hildebrand. The dedicated vocal performances are backed by a kaleidoscopic variety of instrumentation, ranging from organ, brass and woodwinds to the period ensemble Musik Ekklesia. Kudos go to recording consultants Henry Gerike, Peter Reske, and Philip Spray; they and all the performers involved have produced not only a fine reference work, but a richly devotional listening experience.”
—GraceNotes (June/July 2009)
You can sample each of the hymns here.

Now That the Daylight Fills the Sky

A Latin hymn from the 7th or 8th Century, it has gone through several translations.  This one comes from the 1986 New English Hymnal.

Now that day light fills the sky,
We lift our hearts to God on high,
That He, in all we do or say,
Would keep us free from harm today;
Would guard our hearts and tongues from strife;
From anger’s din would shield our life;
From all ill sights would turn our eyes;
Would close our ears to vanities;
Would keep our inmost conscience pure;
Our souls from folly would secure;
Would bid us check the pride of sense
With due and holy abstinence.
So we, when this new day is gone,
And night in turn is drawing on,
With conscience by the world unstained
Shall praise His name for victory gained.
O God the Father, unto thee
Let everlasting glory be;
And glory to thine only Son,
With God the Spirit, ever one.

Ascension Day

Yesterday the Christian Church celebrated Ascension Day, forty days after Easter, the day our Lord ascended to Heaven.

Salute the last, and everlasting day,
Joy at the uprising of this Sun, and Son,
Ye whose true tears, or tribulation
Have purely wash’d, or burnt your drossy clay.
Behold, the Highest, parting hence away,
Lightens the dark clouds, which He treads upon;
Nor doth he by ascending show alone,
But first He, and He first enters the way.
O strong Ram, which hast batter’d heaven for me!
Mild lamb, which with Thy Blood hast mark’d the path!
Bright Torch, which shinest, that I the way may see!
O, with Thy own Blood quench Thy own just wrath;
And if Thy Holy Spirit my Muse did raise,
Deign at my hands this crown of prayer and praise.

                                                         John Donne

Latin.png Latin text

Coelos ascendit hodie
Jesus Christus Rex Gloriae:
Sedet ad Patris dexteram,
Gubernat coelum et terram.
Iam finem habent omnia
Patris Davidis carmina.
Iam Dominus cum Domino
Sedet in Dei solio:
In hoc triumpho maximo
Benedicamus Domino.
Laudetur Sancta Trinitas,
Deo dicamus gratias,
Alleluia. Amen.

English.png English translation

Today into the heavens has ascended
Jesus Christ, the King of Glory, Alleluia!
He sits at the Father’s right hand,
and rules heaven and earth, Alleluia!
Now have been fulfilled all of
Father David’s songs,
Now God is with God, Alleluia!
He sits upon the royal throne of God,
in this his greatest triumph, Alleluia!
Let us bless the Lord:
Let the Holy Trinity be praised,
let us give thanks to the Lord,
Alleluia! Amen.

Be Thy Love with Love Requited

One thing I have enjoyed in worshipping in a different tradition (Presbyterian), is singing wonderful old hymns I never knew before.   Our choir is also influenced by Episcopalian and Anglican music, from which comes this hymn.

My choir will be singing this 17th century hymn during communion this coming week.

Deck thyself, my soul, with gladness,
   leave the gloomy haunts of sadness,
Come into the daylight’s splendor,
   there with joy thy praises render
Unto Him whose grace unbounded
   hath this wondrous banquet founded;
High o’er all the heavens he reigneth,
   yet to dwell with thee he deigneth.
Sun, who all my life dost brighten;
   Light, who dost my soul enlighten;
Joy, the best that any knoweth;
   Fount, whence all my being floweth:
At thy feet I cry, my Maker,
   let me be a fit partaker
Of this blessed food from Heaven,
  for our good, thy glory, given.
Jesus, Bread of life, I pray thee,
   Let me gladly here obey thee;
Never to my hurt invited,
   be thy love with love requited:
From this banquet let me measure,
   Lord, how vast and deep its treasure;
Through the gifts thou here dost give me,
   as thy guest in heaven receive me.

Bryn Calfaria

Finally, this week, I will sing this tune.  My introduction to it was a recording of Ralph Vaughan Williams’ organ prelude.  I probably listen to it at least 20 weeks a year on my way to church.

 

Later I heard it sung for the first time, but in a language I don’t understand, Welsh.  My recording is much better than this, but it is still beautiful.

The hymn we will sing during the communion service Sunday is “Lord, Enthroned in Heavenly Splendor.”   Here is a much larger choir singing it:

Lord, enthroned in heavenly splendor,
first begotten from the dead.
Thou alone, our strong defender,
liftest up thy people’s head.
Alleluia!  Alleluia!  Alleluia!
Jesus, true and living bread!
Jesus, true and living bread!
Here our humblest homage pay we,
here in loving reverence bow;
here for faith’s discernment pray we,
lest we fail to know thee now.
Alleluia!  Alleluia!  Alleluia!
Thou art here, we ask not how.
Thou art here, we ask not how.
Though the lowliest form doth veil thee
as of old in Bethlehem,
here as there thine angels hail thee,
branch and flower of Jesse’s stem.
Alleluia!  Alleluia!  Alleluia!
We in worship join with them.
We in worship join with them.
Paschal Lamb, thine offering, finished
once for all when thou was slain,
in its fullness undiminished
shall for evermore remain.
Alleluia!  Alleluia!  Alleluia!
Cleansing us from every stain.
Cleansing us from every stain.
Life-imparting heavenly Manna,
smitten Rock with streaming side,
heaven and earth with loud hosanna
worship thee, the Lamb who died.
Alleluia!  Alleluia!  Alleluia!
Risen, ascended, glorified!
Risen, ascended, glorified!
                                                                                                                  George Hugh Bourne