Today happens to be the Feast of the Epiphany. So, I suppose I should be providing three gifts, but here are either three or five, depending on whether one counts words and tunes separately.
Common Worship Daily Prayer (CWDP) provides two Canticles from Romans, numbers 57 and 58. The first is,
God reckons as Righteous
Canticle 57 is a selection of verses Rom 4:24, 25; 5.1-5, 8, 9, 11, where it has the title A Song of the Justified. It is provided for Evening Prayer on Fridays in Ordinary Time. The version below is in the metre 11, 11, 11,11 and goes to the tune Gordon, also sometimes known as Jehovah Tsidikenu, by a composer with the unusual and memorable name of Adoniram Gordon (1836-95). The version below is in F Major.
1. God reckons as righteous all those who believe
In him who raised Jesus from death’s dearth of breath.
For our sins was Christ giv’n over to death,
And raised back to life, our lost souls to retrieve.
2. By faith we are made just: so we can know peace,
Through Christ Jesus, our Lord, clasped in his embrace.
Through him we can enter God’s favour, his grace,
In hope of the joy of God’s glorious release.
3. Even in our suff’rings, we still can rejoice;
For they make us steadfast in trials and pain;
And steadfastness brings hope, which is not in vain,
For the Holy Spirit has made us his choice.
4. That Spirit has flooded our hearts with God’s love.
Even for a good soul, we hardly would die;
But God shows he loves us; though in sin we lie,
Yet Christ has died for us, to lift us above.
5. Since by Jesu’s death, we have been justified.
By his life we have been rescued from God’s wrath
So joyful are we, in Christ Jesus, God’s path,
For in him and through him we’ve been reconciled.
To God who’s our Father, and to God the Son
And to God the Spirit let all glory be.
As was, and is now until eternity
We worship you, ever, the three and the one.
The Law of the Spirit
The second canticle is CWDP Canticle 58, assembled from Romans 8: 2, 14, 15b-19. There it has the title is A Song of God’s Children. CWDP provides it for evenings between Ascension Day and Pentecost. Although it reads as though it is very straightforward, it was actually quite difficult to fit into a suitable metre. ‘Spirit’, which needs to occur three times, is a word that does not scan very flexibly. Furthermore I felt it was important to include some version of the phrase ‘cry Abba, Father’, which is also metrically difficult. Because the stress in both words falls on the first syllable, neither ‘Abba’ nor ‘Father’ can be the word that falls at the end of the line which carries the rhyme.
This version is in Common Metre and these are the words:-
1. The law of the Spirit of life ~ in Jesus Christ sets free:
Loosed from the law of sin and death, ~ he’s bought our liberty.
2. All whom the Spirit of God leads ~ as God’s sons qualify:
The Spirit we’ve received means we ~ can Abba, Father, cry.
3. Within our heart that Spirit speaks, ~ affirming what he shares:
We are God’s children, and if so ~ then also we’re God’s heirs.
4. And if God’s heirs, then heirs with Christ ~ and this we can declare:
“If with him now we suffer, then ~ his glory we shall share”.
5. “Whatever pains we now endure: ~ however we may groan:
It cannot match the glory that ~ shall be to us made known”.
6. “For all creation waits. It yearns ~ for what has been concealed,
The day of glory, the time when ~ God’s children are revealed”.
Following on from the difficulty matching the words to conventional scansion, they also fit most comfortably with the more conventional Common Metre tunes. They do not work easily to the many attractive melodies in that metre which include ornamentation. As not all CM tunes are that suitable, I am suggesting for it the simple tune St Agnes by J. B. Dykes (1823-76), here in G Major, which is often associated with the hymn Jesu the very thought of thee and which is below.
Downloadable version of the blogs from 2015-6.
Meanwhile, the third or fifth gift is that I have also assembled in one pdf file the text of all the blogs from the start of this site down until the end of 2016. They can be downloaded from here. I will also be adding a link on the downloads page.