Sunday, 5 June 2016

Listening to prayers by Samuel
Johnson in Lichfield Cathedral

Early summer sunshine in the grounds of the Hedgehog Vintage Inn on the northern fringes of Lichfield (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2016)

Patrick Comerford

This is the Second Sunday after Trinity [5 June 2016], and I am back in Lichfild for a short, overnight visit before travelling on to the Hayes Conference Centre in Swanwick, Derbyshire, for the annual residential meetings of the trustees and council of the Anglican mission agency, USPG.

I caught the first flight from Dublin to Birmingham this morning, and I am staying at the Hedgehog Vintage Inn on the outskirts of Lichfield, with beautiful rolling Staffordshire countryside beside me, and sweeping views from the grounds out across Lichfield and south towards the three spires of Lichfield Cathedral.

Later this morning, I hope to walk back down Beacon Street to the cathedral for the Choral Eucharist at 11 a.m., celebrated by the Dean of Lichfield, the Very Revd Adrian Dorber, and sung by the Boys’ and Men’s voices of the cathedral choir.

The preacher this morning is Canon Dr Anthony Moore, who is the canon-in-residence this week. He is Vice-Dean and Canon for Liturgy and Formation, with responsibility for oversight of the Cathedral’s Choral Foundation and its musical and educational outreach work with schools, colleges and universities within the Diocese of Lichfield and the region.

The setting this morning is the Communion Service in C and F by the Irish-born composer, Sir Charles Villiers Stanford (1852-1924).

The motet is Grant me, O Lord, a setting by Benjamin Lamb, Director of Music at Lichfield Cathedral, of a prayer written by Samuel Johnson in his diary on Easter Day, 22 April 1764.

This setting was written for the annual service of the Johnson Society in Lichfield Cathedral and features as one of the tracks (No 15) on the new album by Lichfield Cathedral Choir, Inservi Deo:

Grant me, O Lord,
good purposes and steady resolution,
that I may repent my sins,
and amend my life.
Deliver me from the distresses of vain terrour,
and enable me by thy Grace to will and to do what may please thee,
that when I shall be called away from this present state
I may obtain everlasting happiness
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


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