Monday, June 28, 2021

308. Hymn for Saints' Days

I'm going to play against type here, and instead of writing a super-long hymn with lots of substitute middle stanzas (like, one for each of the apostles and evangelists) – which othes have done already, anyway – I decided what the world of hymnody needed is one all-purpose stanza for any and all of the apostles, one for either of the four evangelists, and a few spare stanzas for miscellaneous observances – albeit with the obligatory opening and closing stanza regardless of who is in view. The tune I had in mind while writing this hymn was PAA SIT KORS, which I previously used with this hymn. And in case anyone is interested (skip this sentence if you feel a yawn coming on), this hymn was a rare instance in which the first and last stanza were the last two that I wrote; usually, in this type of hymn, they're written first. Weird, huh?
Christ, with those who saw Your glory,
First to preach and write Your story,
First our crosses' weight to bear,
With the martyrs and confessors,
Make and keep us fit possessors
Of the blood-washed robes we wear.

(Apostles' Days)
Some You called from humble stations,
Sending them to tell all nations
Of Your cross and victor's crown.
Let us hold their doctrine purely,
Founded on the Rock securely
That through them found wide renown.

(Evangelists' Days)
Lest long years and leagues should fetter
Word of You, some preached by letter:
Worthy scribes of scenes that live.
Let it be our sweetest pleasure,
Seeking in their page the treasure
That Your words and wonders give.

(Holy Martyrs)
Some because of You were slaughtered,
While the seedling church was watered
With their willing blood and loss.
Teach us, by their brave example,
Satan underfoot to trample
And to glory in the cross.

(Confessors of the Faith)
Some, though spared the last full measure,
Risked their age's sharp displeasure,
Standing firm through storm and strain.
As we bear the same confession,
Let our blest communion freshen
Heart and hope despite all pain.

(Feasts of Mary)
Even Mary, best of mothers,
Blest more highly than all others,
Felt the Spirit's piercing sword.
Keep us, too, in You confiding,
All our thoughts and actions guiding
In accordance with Your word.

(Closing stanza)
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
All dominion, strength and merit,
Riches, wisdom, honor, laud,
Have been since the world was founded,
Are, and unto worlds unbounded
Will be Yours, the only God.

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