20 May 2012

How shall I sing that majesty?

Salvador Dali: The Ascension (1958) … from the cover of this morning’s booklet for the Eucharist

Patrick Comerford

Today [Sunday 20 May 2012] is the Seventh Sunday of Easter, the Sunday after Ascension Day, when we are caught in that intermediate time between the Ascension of Christ and the coming of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost.

This morning, I am presiding at the Community Eucharist 11.30 in the Church of Ireland Theological Institute, and the readings, hymns, Collect and Post-Communion Prayer reflect the fears and hopes of that “intermediate time.”

The readings are: Acts 1: 15-17, 21-26; Psalm 1; I John 5: 9-13; John 17: 6-19.

We are singing four hymns this morning:

1, The processional hymn (Hymn 259): Christ triumphant, ever reigning, by Michael Saward.

2, The Gradual (Hymn 263): Crown him with many crowns, by Matthew Bridges.

3, The offertory hymn (Hymn 468): How shall I sing that majesty, by John Mason, to Kenneth Naylor’s tune, Coe Fen. We are using all four verses of this hymn, and not merely the three in Irish Church Hymnal, and I hope when this hymn is sung at my funeral, all four verses are sung, and that this tune is used.

4, The Recessional hymn (281). Rejoice the Lord is King!, by Charles Wesley.

An icon of Christ in an antique shop in Thessaloniki … from the cover of this morning’s booklet for the Eucharist (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2011)

The Collect:

O God the King of Glory,
you have exalted your only Son Jesus Christ
with great triumph to your kingdom in heaven:
Mercifully give us faith to know
that, as he promised,
he abides with us on earth to the end of time;
who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.

The Post-Communion Prayer:

Eternal Giver of love and power,
your Son Jesus Christ has sent us into all the world
to preach the gospel of his kingdom.
Confirm us in this mission,
and help us to live the good news we proclaim;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Canon Patrick Comerford is Lecturer in Anglicanism and Liturgy, the Church of Ireland Theological Institute, and a canon of Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin.

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