Category : Liturgy, Music, Worship

Music for Advent–Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus from Red Mountain Music

The music is by Rowland H. Prichard and the lyrics are by Charles Wesley.

Listen to it all.

Posted in Advent, Liturgy, Music, Worship

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Isaac Watts

God of truth and grace, who didst give Isaac Watts singular gifts to present thy praise in verse, that he might write psalms, hymns and spiritual songs for thy Church: Give us grace joyfully to sing thy praises now and in the life to come; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who livest and reignest with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.God of truth and grace, who didst give Isaac Watts singular gifts to present thy praise in verse, that he might write psalms, hymns and spiritual songs for thy Church: Give us grace joyfully to sing thy praises now and in the life to come; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who livest and reignest with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Posted in Church History, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Spirituality/Prayer

Music for his Feast Day–Sing Joyfully, by William Byrd (1540-1623)

Lyrics:

Sing joyfully to God our strength; sing loud unto the God of Jacob!
Take the song, bring forth the timbrel, the pleasant harp, and the viol.
Blow the trumpet in the new moon, even in the time appointed, and at our feast day.
For this is a statute for Israel, and a law of the God of Jacob.

Posted in History, Liturgy, Music, Worship

Music For his Feast Day–Thomas Tallis: Spem In Alium

Lyrics:

I have never founded by hope on any other than Thee,
O God of Israel, Who shalt be angry, and yet be gracious,
and Who absolvest all the sins of mankind in tribulation.
Lord God, Creator of heaven and earth, be mindful of our lowliness.

Posted in Liturgy, Music, Worship

A Prayer for the Feast Day of William Byrd, John Merbecke+Thomas Tallis

O God most glorious, whose praises art sung night and day by thy saints and angels in heaven: We offer thanks for William Byrd, John Merbecke and Thomas Tallis, whose music hath enriched the praise that thy Church offers thee here on earth. Grant, we pray thee, to all who are touched by the power of music such glimpses of eternity that we may be made ready to join thy saints in heaven and behold thy glory unveiled for evermore; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who livest and reignest with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Posted in Church History, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Spirituality/Prayer

(Church Times) Cathedral music is facing a sustainability crisis, report warns

Cathedral music faces a serious sustainability crisis and is in danger of losing credibility with the public, unless it faces up to the challenges of widening participation and increasing affordability, a comprehensive report from the Cathedral Music Trust, published on Sunday, has concluded.

The report acknowledges that cathedral music — “one of the glories of English cultural heritage” — has an importance in British national life which goes far beyond its place in daily worship. “The UK’s flagship cathedral choirs are renowned worldwide and consistently perform to the highest standards of excellence. Cathedral music is one of the UK’s greatest and most distinctive cultural assets,” it says.

It also emphasises: “Cathedral music and particularly the service of choral evensong have seen a sustained surge in popularity even at a time of decreasing church attendance overall. Many people love cathedral music for its transcendent beauty and numinous quality, whether or not they are religiously active, and there is strong support and engagement for cathedral music from those interested in heritage, the artistic value of the music and its place in education.”

But, without compromising on excellence, it must evolve to meet the challenges of the context in which it now operates, the report concludes. Cathedral choirs are “expensive to run and difficult to manage”, it acknowledges. “There is a risk that cathedral music becomes polarised between well-endowed choral foundations with linked choir schools which produce music of the highest quality but are perceived as exclusive, and those cathedrals which recruit their choristers from local schools but struggle to find the time and money to reach similar standards of excellence.”

Read it all (registration or subscription).

Posted in Church of England, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Music, Parish Ministry, Stewardship

(R U) Terry Mattingly–The Last Rites For Elizabeth II

“Queen Elizabeth was one of those people in this mortal life who always thought ahead,” said David Lyle Jeffrey, distinguished senior fellow at the Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor University. When preparing these rites, the queen was “clearly looking for prayers, Scriptures and hymns that made connections she wanted to make for her family, her people and the world. … I think she succeeded brilliantly.”

An Anglican from Canada, Jeffrey said the events closing the queen’s historic 70-year reign were an appropriate time to explore the “essence of her admirable Christian character.” Thus, the retired literature professor wrote a poem after her death — “Regina Exemplaris (An exemplary queen)” — saluting her steady, consistent faith. It ended with these lines:

She who longest wore the heavy crown

Knew but to kneel before the unseen throne

And plead her people’s cause as for her own,

And there to praise the Lord of All, bowed down,

More conscious of his glory than her high acclaim,

Exemplar thus in worship, in praise more worthy of the Name.

After the “Kontakion of the Departed,” Bishop David Conner, the dean of St. George’s Chapel, noted the importance of this sanctuary to Queen Elizabeth. She had worshipped in the Windsor Castle chapel as a girl, sometimes singing in the choir and taking piano lessons with organist Sir William Henry Harris. The queen included some of his music in the committal service.

“We are bound to call to mind,” said Conner, “someone whose uncomplicated, yet profound Christian faith bore so much fruit … in a life of unstinting service to the nation, the Commonwealth and the wider world, but also, and especially to be remembered in this place, in kindness, concern and reassuring care for her family, friends and neighbors.

Read it all.

Posted in Church History, Church of England (CoE), Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, History, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Poetry & Literature, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

(BBC Sounds) A Discussion looking back on the Queen’s funeral especially focusing on the faith issues involved

Herewith the BBC blurb about the show:

Exploring the faith behind the pomp and pageantry of the Queen’s funeral.

Millions will have watched the historic funeral service from Westminster Abbey and the Committal at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle as Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was laid to rest. For some, the services will be full of meaning and resonance. Others will be less familiar with the Christian rituals that have evolved over centuries.

Ernie Rea is joined by writer and journalist Catherine Pepinster, Professor Douglas Davies, Rev Dr Giles Fraser and Andrew Carwood MBE (Director of Music, St Paul’s Cathedral) to discuss and illuminate the meaning, symbolism and significance of the Queen’s state funeral.

Listen to it all (28 minutes).

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Ministry of the Ordained, Preaching / Homiletics, Religion & Culture

The full order of service for Queen Elizabeth II’s committal at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle today

All stand as the Dean of Windsor says:

THE BIDDING

WE have come together to commit into the hands of God the soul of his servant Queen Elizabeth. Here, in St George’s Chapel, where she so often worshipped, we are bound to call to mind someone whose uncomplicated yet profound Christian Faith bore so much fruit. Fruit, in a life of unstinting service to the Nation, the Commonwealth and the wider world, but also (and especially to be remembered in this place) in kindness, concern and reassuring care for her family and friends and neighbours. In the midst of our rapidly changing and frequently troubled world, her calm and dignified presence has given us confidence to face the future, as she did, with courage and with hope. As, with grateful hearts, we reflect on these and all the many other ways in which her long life has been a blessing to us, we pray that God will give us grace to honour her memory by following her example, and that, with our sister Elizabeth, at the last, we shall know the joys of life eternal.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Death / Burial / Funerals, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry

The full order of Service for Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral held this morning USA Time

The Precentor says

Let us pray that we may be given grace to live as those who believe in the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, and the resurrection to eternal life.

BRING us, O Lord God, at our last awakening into the house and gate of heaven, to enter into that gate and dwell in that house, where there shall be no darkness nor dazzling, but one equal light; no noise nor silence, but one equal music; no fears nor hopes, but one equal possession; no ends nor beginnings, but one equal eternity; in the habitation of thy glory and dominion, world without end. Amen.

–John Donne (1572–1631)

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England, Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry

(ABC Aus.) Alison Milbank–“May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest”: Elizabeth II and the virtues of a Christian monarchy

There is a danger that we consign Elizabeth and what she represents of embodied faithfulness to the angels and to history and go forward on our atomised way as a society and a Church into an ever more individualist future, where the only mutual belonging is in our separate identity groups. Instead, let us use that sense of common loss to forge ever-stronger bonds between neighbours, classes, cultures, and nations, and resist the forces that seek to pull us apart. As King Charles said in his first speech, we must instead “help … to bring the marginal to the centre ground”; the needs of Lazarus must be at the heart of our attention. We need strong neighbourhoods and parishes to resist the pressures of globalisation, of racism and hate. The virtues and the faith of the late Queen, far from being old-fashioned and superseded, are what we need for our future, which will only be sustainable if we can co-operate, act sacrificially, and show steadfastness and loyalty.

So we clergy can wear our white vestments of hope with integrity, for in laying Elizabeth to rest and acknowledging the religious resources upon which she drew, we can affirm the value of a Christian monarchy as offering a world of many faiths and cultures a moral umbrella, in which we can imagine together a better world of real justice, peace, and co-operation.

May she rest in peace and rise in glory. And may her faithfulness inspire and steady us in the years to come.

Read it all.

Posted in Church History, Church of England (CoE), Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Language, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Johann Sebastian Bach, George Frederick Handel and Henry Purcell

Almighty God, beautiful in majesty and majestic in holiness, who dost teach us in Holy Scripture to sing thy praises and who gavest thy musicians Johann Sebastian Bach, George Frederick Handel and Henry Purcell grace to show forth thy glory in their music: Be with all those who write or make music for thy people, that we on earth may glimpse thy beauty and know the inexhaustible riches of thy new creation in Jesus Christ our Savior; who livest and reignest with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Posted in Church History, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Spirituality/Prayer

Music producer-turned-priest puts on DJ-led worship services

The Revd Simon Stride, Curate at Holy Trinity, Stalybridge, in Cheshire has had a passion for dance music since his early teens and his combined interests in theology and dance music have helped guide his spiritual direction through his adult life.

Since his early days as an ordinand, Simon has led DJ worship ranging from Christian clubland-style events complete with strobe lights and smoke machines for youth congregations – to ‘chill-out’ compline services, using soundscapes and atmospheric music tracks to help people meditate on scripture.

“I feel it’s part of my calling to use the skills I learnt in this area as part of worship – to enable people to connect with God through dance and electronic music,” he explained.

“We’ve also started seeing more young people bring their friends to these church events for the first time.”

Simon even ran a ‘Resurrection Rave’ with headlining DJ, Bazz Morgan (Velocity of Light).

“We wanted to create something that would attract young people to church and also communicate the Christian message and the meaning of the Resurrection,” he explained.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry

A Prayer for the Feast Day of James Weldon Johnson

Eternal God, we give thanks for the gifts that thou didst bestow upon thy servant James Weldon Johnson: a heart and voice to praise thy Name in verse. As he gave us powerful words to glorify you, may we also speak with joy and boldness to banish hatred from thy creation, in the Name of Jesus Christ; who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Posted in Church History, Language, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Spirituality/Prayer

Eleanor Parker–‘O three and one without ending’: a wittily clever medieval song to the Holy Trinity

One of the points I like to emphasise on this blog is that (contrary to what many people believe who know nothing about the subject) medieval religious literature is often full of creativity, imagination and joy. Here’s a perfect example: this is a witty, playful, exuberant medieval carol on the subject of – of all things – the Holy Trinity. I’ve heard many a solemn, pained sermon on the Trinity, complaining about how difficult it is for us to understand, how it’s always been a stumbling block for believers and a trial to the unwary preacher. That’s how our age approaches mystery and complexity; but in the fifteenth century, they wrote carols about it. That’s how creative medieval religion could be.

Read it all (my emphasis).

Posted in Church History, Liturgy, Music, Worship, The Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit

(Reuters) ISIS affiliate suspected of R Catholic church massacre, Nigeria says

Nigerian security officials suspect extremists from Islamic State’s affiliate in west Africa were behind an attack on a Catholic church last weekend that killed dozens.

Forty people are now thought to have died after gunmen stormed St Francis Catholic church in Owo, Ondo State, on Sunday, and 61 survivors are still being treated in hospital, according to local authorities. The total is double an earlier estimate.

Nigeria’s National Security Council said on Thursday that the attack was the work of the Islamic State West Africa Province (Iswap) group, apparently reinforcing fears that the militants, who have been restricted to the north-east for many years, are looking to expand their influence and reach to other parts of the country. Ondo, in the south-west, has long been considered one of the safer parts of the country.

Read it all.

Posted in Liturgy, Music, Worship, Nigeria, Parish Ministry, Pentecost, Religion & Culture, Religious Freedom / Persecution, Terrorism, Violence

Music for Pentecost 2022–Taizé – Holy Spirit, Come to Us

Enjoy it all.

Posted in Liturgy, Music, Worship, Pentecost

A Prayer for the Feast Day of the First Book of Common Prayer

Almighty and everliving God, whose servant Thomas Cranmer, with others, did restore the language of the people in the prayers of thy Church: Make us always thankful for this heritage; and help us so to pray in the Spirit and with the understanding, that we may worthily magnify thy holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in --Book of Common Prayer, Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

(Church Times) Two church musicians awarded for long service

The Queen is not the only one to be celebrating a Platinum Jubilee — two musicians received lifetime service awards from their church communities last month, with a combined contribution of 135 years.

Heather Braddock has been singing in the choir of Christ Church, Woodford, in the diocese of Chester, since the coronation in 1952, when she was 11 years old. On Easter Day, she was presented with a long-service medal and certificate from the Royal College of Musicians, in recognition of 70 years’ continuous service. The congregation also gave her a new sound system.

Ms Braddock, a former secretary in the NHS, has been running the choir for the past 20 years, and served as the PCC secretary for more than 28 years. She is married to Malcolm; their son, Canon Andrew Braddock, is the Interim Dean of Gloucester Cathedral.

She said: “It has been, and remains, a privilege and a joy to sing in, and serve, the choir here. Thank you to all the church family for their kindness and support. And here’s to our ongoing musical tradition here at Woodford.”

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry

Music for Memorial Day–Eternal Father, Strong to Save (The Navy Hymn)

Posted in Death / Burial / Funerals, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Military / Armed Forces

Eleanor Parker–An Anglo-Saxon Hymn to St Dunstan

The text comes from Hymns of the Anglo-Saxon Church, ed. Inge B. Milfull (Cambridge, 1996), pp. 317-8. Here’s a translation:

Hail Dunstan, star and shining adornment of bishops, true light of the English nation and leader preceding it on its path to God.

You are the greatest hope of your people, and also an innermost sweetness, breathing the honey-sweet fragrance of life-giving balms.

In you, Father, we trust, we to whom nothing is more pleasing than you are. To you we stretch out our hands, to you we pour out our prayers….

Read it all.

Posted in Archbishop of Canterbury, Church History, Liturgy, Music, Worship

(Guardian) St Paul’s Cathedral to admit girls to choir for first time in 900 years

St Paul’s Cathedral is to admit girls to its internationally renowned choir, breaking a tradition stretching back 900 years.

The move comes 31 years after Salisbury became the first Anglican cathedral in England to offer girls places in its choir. Many others, including York Minster, Durham and Exeter, have followed suit.

St Paul’s choir performs at services and events of national importance as well as daily liturgies and three times on Sundays. It will perform at a service of thanksgiving next month for the Queen’s platinum jubilee celebrations.

The choir currently comprises 22 choristers alongside professional singers known as vicars choral. The first girls will join in 2025 after boarding school facilities have been expanded and funds raised for scholarships.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry

(RNS) Like that new church worship song? Chances are, it will be gone soon.

The most popular worship song in churches these days is “Build My Life,” from Bethel Music, the megachurch-based worship music hit machine based in Northern California.

Sitting at number one on the top 100 worship song chart from Christian Copyright Licensing International, which licenses worship music, “Build My Life,” first released in 2016, is an outlier in worship music, where hit songs are here today and gone tomorrow.

A new study entitled “Worship at the Speed of Sound,” from Southern Wesleyan University professor Mike Tapper and colleagues, found that the lifespan of a hit worship song has declined dramatically in recent years.

Read it all.

Posted in Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry

More Music for Easter–Come, Ye Faithful, Raise the Strain

Lyrics:

1 Come, ye faithful, raise the strain
of triumphant gladness;
God hath brought his Israel
into joy from sadness;
loosed from Pharaoh’s bitter yoke
Jacob’s sons and daughters;
led them with unmoistened foot
through the Red Sea waters.

2 ‘Tis the spring of souls today;
Christ hath burst his prison,
and from three days’ sleep in death
as a sun hath risen;
all the winter of our sins,
long and dark, is flying
from his light, to whom we give
laud and praise undying.

3 Now the queen of seasons, bright
with the day of splendor,
with the royal feast of feasts,
comes its joy to render;
comes to glad Jerusalem,
who with true affection
welcomes in unwearied strains
Jesus’ resurrection.

4 Neither might the gates of death,
nor the tomb’s dark portal,
nor the watchers, nor the seal
hold thee as a mortal:
but today amidst thine own
thou didst stand, bestowing
thine own peace, which evermore
passeth human knowing.

Posted in Easter, Liturgy, Music, Worship

More Music for Easter–John Rutter: Most Glorious Lord of Life

Listen to it all.

Lyrics:

Most glorious Lord of life, that on this day
Didst make thy triumph over death and sin,
And having harrow’d hell, didst bring away
Captivity thence captive, us to win.
This joyous day, dear Lord, with joy begin,
And grant that we may for whom thou diddest die,
Being with thy dear blood clean wash’d from sin,
May live for ever in felicity.
And that thy love we weighing worthily,
May likewise love thee for the same again;
And for Thy sake, that all like dear didst buy,
With love may one another entertain.
So let us love, dear love, like as we ought;
Love is the lesson which the Lord us taught.
The day of resurrection! Earth, tell it out abroad;
The Passover of gladness, the Passover of God.
From death to life eternal, from earth unto the sky,
Our Christ hath brought us over, with hymns of victory. Amen.

Posted in Easter, Liturgy, Music, Worship

More Music for Easter 2022–This joyful Eastertide

Listen to the whole glorious thing.

Lyrics:

1.This joyful Eastertide
away with sin and sorrow!
My love, the Crucified,
has sprung to life this morrow.

Refrain:
Had Christ, who once was slain,
not burst his three-day prison,
our faith had been in vain:
but now hath Christ arisen,
arisen, arisen;
but now has Christ arisen!

2. My flesh in hope shall rest
and for a season slumber
till trump from east to west
shall wake the dead in number. [

3. Death’s flood has lost its chill
since Jesus crossed the river.
Lover of souls, from ill
my passing soul deliver.

Posted in Easter, Liturgy, Music, Worship

More Music for Easter–Christus resurgens – William Byrd, John Rutter, The Cambridge Singers

Listen to it all.

Posted in Easter, Liturgy, Music, Worship

More Music For Easter–Since By Man Came Death from Handel’s Messiah

Take the time to listen to it all from the Oxford Philomusica.

Posted in Easter, Liturgy, Music, Worship

Music for Easter–The Lord is Risen Indeed! William Billings

Listen to it all and you can read more about it, including finding the lyrics, at Lent and Beyond.

Posted in Holy Week, Liturgy, Music, Worship

Music for Easter 2022–Jesus Christ is Risen Today

Posted in Easter, Liturgy, Music, Worship