Sunday after Ascension: choice of hymns

This morning’s service from the Church of St John the Evangelist, Monasterevin, in Portarlington Union of Parishes had music that was played (by me) using plainsong hymns from Hymns of Prayer and Praise (published for The Panel of Monastic Musicians by The Canterbury Press Norwich). The choice of hymns from this book was to assist in preventing singing by the congregation as this is currently not allowed.

The music in advance of the service was for the hymn,

Great Jerusalem, our city,
Named the vision of God’s peace,
Now in heaven they build your fabric
With the living souls from earth;
Even now the angels crown you
As a bridesmaid crowns the bride.

Fresh from heaven’s bridal chamber
As a bride she comes from God,
In her youth prepared and ready
For her marriage with the Lord;
All her streets, her walls and ramparts
Fashioned from the purest gold.

All her gates with pearls are gleaming,
All her gateways open wide,
Welcoming and calling homeward
Those who fro the love of Christ
In this world have drunk his chalice,
Meriting his own reward.

All her stones are bruised and hammered,
Polished, carved to perfect form,
Truly laid by craft of builder,
Each in its appointed place;
Planned, foreseen to stand for ever
In the temple walls of God.

Glory give to God and honour,
Always, everywhere, most high,
Father and the Son together
With the glorious Paraclete;
Theirs be power and theirs be worship
Now through all eternity.

Words: Mount Saint Bernard Abbey, altered, from Urbs Ierusalem beata (8th or 9th century) © 1995 Mount Saint Bernard Abbey, Coalville, Leicester, LE67 5UL

At the Offertory, the hymn was

O Jesus, Saviour, Lord of all,
What mind will ever span
The measure of your mighty love,
O Saviour, Son of Man?

What loving mercy held your heart
That you should bear our sin?
Should let yourself be crushed by death
That our life might begin?

You broke the power of sin and death,
You tore the gateway wide;
And all who welcome you were led
Back to the Father’s side.

May this same love surround us now
To free us from all harm,
That we may soon meet face to face
Within our Father’s home.

O Jesus, be our joy this day,
Our comfort in this place;
May this your risen life be ours
That we may know your peace.

Words by Ralph Wright OSB, from Iesu, nostra redemptio (7th or 8th century). © 1989 GIA Publications Inc., 7404, Mason Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60638.

During the communion, I played the tune Pange lingua in the Sarum form of melody to the words of

Hail our Saviour’s glorious body,
Which his virgin mother bore;
Hail the blood which, shed for sinners,
Did a broken world restore;
Hail the sacrament most holy,
Flesh and blood of Christ adore.

To the Virgin, for our healing,
His own Son the Father sends;
From the Father’s love proceeding
Sower, seed and Word descends:
Wondrous life of Word incarnate
With his greatest wonder ends.

On the paschal evening see him
With the chosen twelve recline,
To the old law still obedient
In its feast of love divine;
Love divine, the new law giving,
Gives himself as bread and wine.

By his word the Word almighty
Makes of bread his flesh indeed;
Wine becomes his very life-blood:
Faith God’s living Word must heed.
Faith alone may safely guide us
Where the senses cannot lead.

Come, adore this wondrous presence;
Bow to Christ, the source of grace:
Here is kept the ancient promes
Of God’s earthly dwelling-place.
Sight is blind before God’s glory,
Faith alone may see his face.

Glory be to God the Father,
Praise to his co-equal Son,
Adoration to the Spirit,
Bond of love, in Godhead one;
Blest be God by all creation
Joyously while ages run.

Words: James Quinn SJ (1919–2010), altered, from Pange lingua gloriosi corporis, St Thomas Aquinas? (1227–74). ©1969 The Continuum International Publishing Group, The Tower Building, 11 York Road, London, SE1 7NX.

After the Blessing, seeing as it is the month of May, I played a plainsong tune “Stella Maris” for the hymn “Ave maris stella”.

Star of sea and ocean,
Hail most blessed Virgin.
Mother of our Saviour,
Joyful gate of heaven.

In the angelic greeting
Is our new beginning:
Eva turned to Ave,
Sign of peace indwelling.

Loose the bonds that bind us,
Flood with light our blindness,
Drive away all evil
Turning us to goodness.

Be for us a mother:
So may he, Incarnate,
Finding us before you,
Hear our prayer and save us.

Holy matchless Virgin
Blest beyond all telling,
Mary, pure and gentle,
Be our inspiration.

Grant that we may journey
Safe to heaven’s gateway,
And, with endless praises,
There may we see Jesus.

Father, Son and Spirit,
Three in one we praise you,
Honour and adore you,
God with us for ever.

Words: Peter Allan CR and John Harper, from Ave, maris stella (8th century) © 2011 The Panel of Monastic Musicians.

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