A funny little season – Ascension to Pentecost

Westonbirt 9 IMG_0020.JPG
A tree of fire

My apologies that this is a bit late.


This season is even shorter than the twelve days of Christmas. It is both Easter and not-Easter. ‘Seasonette’ might be a better name. Indeed, Ascension Day has its own canticles and the Pentecost ones stop with the day itself though the words ‘another suitable Canticle’ in all the directions allow one to sit lightly on that if one wishes.

Ascension Day

A slightly confusing feature in CWDP, though it is logical, is that as this is an office for one day only, the instructions for the Morning and Evening are combined, with the Evening coming first because it is also applies to the previous evening. The opening Psalm is the same for both.

Holy Communion on Ascension Day provides another opportunity to sing the wonderful tune Old Fosters, this time as the setting for Psalm 47. Although adopted in the Sheffield area as one of their favourite tunes for While Shepherds Watched (see Blogpost for Christmas and its links), that tune was originally written for Psalm 47. The collection includes modern words for Psalm 47 designed to be sung to that tune. The other psalm suggested for communion on Ascension Day is 93, which goes to a version of Haydn’s Creation.


Although disguised under the title, A Song of the King’s Glory this is Psalm 24. There are two versions of this wonderful psalm in the collection. As it is also prescribed for mornings in Advent, I have already written about it then. I am still looking for someone to be inspired to write a tune that is an even better match than Falan Tiding, the cheerful Tyrollean Folk Tune in the collection.

Evening Prayer  Canticle between the Readings:-

This is Daily Prayer Canticle A Song of Christ’s Appearing,  a combination of two separate extracts from 1 Timothy, 3:16 and 6:15-16. This is not in the downloadable version of Book 6 on this site, but I have recently written a version of this Canticle in Common Metre. At the moment, I am intending to link it to this tune, Alexandria  in F Major by William Arnold (1768-1832) and to give it the title Shown in the Flesh, taken from the first line.

Alexandria by William Arnold (1768-1832

These are the words.

1. Christ Jesus was shown in the flesh, ~ in the Spirit confirmed,
2. By angels seen, to all proclaimed ~ and by nations affirmed,

3. Believed in through the whole earth wide,  ~ in glory raised on high,
4. And manifest to all he’ll be ~ when his due time is nigh,

5. As King of kings and Lord of lords ~ Sov’reign bless’d and unique.
He only is exempt from death, ~ clad in his own mystique,

6. Dwelling in light, so bright that none ~ can see him or draw near.
To Christ be glory, honour, praise ~ endless and without peer.

Morning Prayer  Canticle between the Readings:-

This is Daily Prayer Canticle 44, Tobit 13: 1, 3, 4-6a, verses from Tobit’s Thanksgiving at the end of all his adventures. This is not in the downloadable version of Book 6 on this site, but again, I have recently rendered it into metre. This is in 868688 and set to a tune Palmyra by J Summers (1839-1917) below. A feature of this metre is that the last two lines function differently from the previous 4. It is in D Major but the melody does not end on the tonic.

Palmyra by J Summers (1839-1917)

These are the words.

1. Blesséd be God, who lives, whose reign ~ endures throughout all days.
2. Children of Israel shout aloud ~ before the world, his praise.
3. He’s scattered you throughout the world; ~ it’s how his greatness is unfurled.

4. Hold him up in the living’s sight ~ he is our God and Lord.
He is our Father ever to ~ be worshipped and adored.
5 Though he may punish us for sins ~ his mercy to us all still wins.

6. He’ll bring you back from every land ~ where you may be dispersed.
7. When you turn to the Lord with heart ~ and soul, your paths reversed,
Our God and Lord will you assure ~ and hide his face from you no more.

8. See what the Lord has done for you; ~ give thanks with a loud voice
Praise him, the Lord of righteousness; ~  exalt him king of choice,
Through endless ages, his name raise; ~ the Father, Son and Spirit praise.

The days leading up to and Pentecost.

Morning Prayer:-


This is Psalm 103:1-7, 19-22 which is also the opening Psalm for Tuesday mornings in the Green Season. There are two tunes provided, Old 103rd and Wengen.

Canticle between the Readings:-

This is Ezekiel’s Song, Ez 24: 24-28, Canticle 40 in CWDP.  It makes a statement that is so fundamental about the nature and role of the Holy Spirit, that rather than just refer to its presence in Book 6, I am going to quote it here. It is suitable for general use as a hymn, rather than just a Canticle where a Canticle is required.

1. I shall take you from the nations ~ gather you from ev’ry land.
I shall sprinkle you with water ~ cleansing tarnished heart and hand.
I shall purge your taint of idols, ~ wash away your secret sin,
And a new heart shall I give you, ~ a new Spirit place within.

2. I’ll pluck out your heart of granite, ~ place in you a heart of flesh;
And I’ll put my Spirit in you, ~ so in you my laws shall mesh.
My decrees, you shall adhere to; ~ that I’ll give you means to do.
I your God, and you my people, ~ in the land I gave to you.

3. Glory be to God the Father, ~ glory be to God the Son,
And to God, the Holy Spirit, ~ ever three and ever one.
As it once was, so it now is, ~ and shall be for ever more:
Throughout endless ages stands firm, ~ God, the Lord, whom we adore.

It is in 8787D. I originally wrote it to go to the well known tune, Abbot’s Leigh (about a mile from where I am writing these words) by Cyril Taylor (1907-1991). As producer of Religious Broadcasting for the BBC, he was evacuated to Bristol during the Second World War and lodged in Abbot’s Leigh which is on the immediate south side of the Clifton Suspension Bridge. That tune is still in copyright but in most hymn books. If you have the sheet music on terms which allow you to use it, it also goes well to the tune written by Keith and Kristyn Getty for their version of ‘Beneath the cross of Jesus’.

The collection offers two options, each with a completely different feel. One is Suo Gân, a beautiful Welsh lullaby with a meditative flavour that many people will recognise from the film Emperor of the Sun.  The other is a more conventional traditional hymn tune Engadine, Anon from Frizzoni’s Canzuns Spirituaelas 1765 in D Minor.

The alternative suggestion is Canticle 45, Judith 16:13-16, which I have not yet metricated.

Evening Prayer:-

As yet, the collection does not provide much suitable material. The opening hymn is Creator Spirit, Lord of Grace, which is already a hymn in LM by James Quinn SJ.  The recommended Canticle between the readings is Canticle 68, an inspiring selection of verses from Rom 8. It will be difficult to cast that into metre and so far I have not done. The second option is Canticle 60, Eph 1:3-10.  As I said in my Easter blog, I do not think it is possible to render this into singable metre at all. The third option provided is Shown in the Flesh, above.

Night Prayer (Compline)

The Psalm is 86, The version in the collection is in DCM and goes to a dignified tune, which may have been written by John Playford of The English Dancing Master as it does not seem to appear before his psalter at the Restoration. His version is in three parts and the one in the collection has an alto part added.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s