12 February 2014
Finding love, light and life in this
evening’s service and hymns
I am presiding at the Community Eucharist this evening. The readings, along with the Collect and Post-Communion Prayer, are those for last Sunday, the Fourth Sunday before Lent. The themes of Love, Light and Life run through our readings, prayers and hymns these evening.
Our processional hymn, Love divine, all loves excelling, (Hymn 634), is probably the best-loved hymn by Charles Wesley. This hymn is a three-part prayer: that Christ will enter every heart with his love; that we all may know his perfect love; and that we may finally be “lost in wonder, love, and praise.”
We are singing the canticle Gloria as Hymn 693, written by the Revd Christopher Idle, to the tune Cuddesdon by the Revd William Harold Ferguson, who was a student at Cuddesdon Theological College (now Ripon College Cuddesdon), Oxford.
The Gradual, There is no moment of my life (Hymn 19), by the Revd Brian Foley (1919-2000), is a paraphrase of Psalm 139, and was first published in 1971. As we prepare to hear God’s word in our Gospel reading, this hymn reminds us: “he keeps me, loves me, in my ways; no lover such as he.”
This hymn is paired with Newbury, a harmonisation by Ralph Vaughan Williams of a traditional melody that is also associated in hymnals with The Maker of the Sun and Moo (New English Hymnal 38) and Jerusalem, thou City blest (New English Hymnal 228).
Our Offertory hymn, Come down, O love divine (Hymn 294), was originally written in Italian in the 14th century by Bianco da Siena. It was first translated into English in 1867 by the Revd Dr Richard Frederick Littledale, a Dublin-born Anglican priest. The tune Down Ampney is also by Vaughan Williams, and is named after the Cotswold village in Gloucestershire where he was born and where his father, the Revd Arthur Vaughan Williams, was the vicar.
We go out into the world singing our Recessional hymn, Blessed are the pure in heart (Hymn 630) by the Revd John Keble and the Revd William John Hall, and is based on familiar words in Matthew 5. It was originally written for the Feast of the Presentation (or Purification), which we celebrated last week (2 February). The tune Franconia was adapted by Canon William Henry Havergal from a longer tune first published in Frankfurt-am-Main in 1738.
Isaiah 58: 1- 9a, Psalm 112: 1-9, I Corinthians 2: 1-12, Matthew 5: 13-20.
you know us to be set
in the midst of so many and great dangers,
that by reason of the frailty of our nature
we cannot always stand upright:
Grant to us such strength and protection
as may support us in all dangers
and carry us through all temptations;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
God of tender care,
in this Eucharist
we celebrate your love for us and for all people.
May we show your love in our lives
and know its fulfilment in your presence.
We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.