2017: From Glory to Glory

nikola_mihaylov_kozi_dol_church_transfiguration_iconThis year, the last Sunday of Camp falls on the Feast of the Transfiguration, the day when we celebrate how Jesus’s appearance was transformed on the mountain, and his disciples saw him in his heavenly glory.  You can read the story in Matthew 17:1-8.

Since glory is the order of the day, it seems like a good year to learn this very fine hymn, written by Charles Humphreys and usually sung to a tune by Gustav Holst.  The hymn is actually a free translation of some words from the Divine Liturgy of St James, which is the oldest complete rite for Holy Communion still in use in the Church today.  If you’re interested in such things, you can read the whole rite here.  (The words on which the hymn is based appear almost at the end, in section XLVIII.)

 

From glory to glory advancing, we praise thee, O Lord;

Thy Name with the Father and Spirit be ever adored.

From strength unto strength we go forward on Sion’s highway,

To appear before God in the city of infinite day.

 

Thanksgiving and glory and worship and blessing and love,

One heart and one song have the saints upon earth and above.

O Lord, evermore to thy servants thy presence be nigh;

Ever fit us by service on earth for thy service on high.

 

Advertisements

2016: Saint George

Cry God for HarryThere’s a bit of a Saint George theme going on at Camp this year.  St George’s day is celebrated on 23rd April, which is also, by tradition, the birthday of William Shakespeare.  Since 2016 also happens to be the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, it would seem rude not to include his most famous mention of the chivalrous Saint.

Here, for your delectation and delight, is the end of King Henry’s speech from Shakespeare’s Henry V, Act 3, Scene 1.  Additional kudos may be gained by reciting it with suitable dramatic voices and waving of (preferably, imaginary) swords.

                                   … And you, good yeomen,

Whose limbs were made in England, show us here

The mettle of your pasture; let us swear

That you are worth your breeding; which I doubt not;

For there is none of you so mean and base,

That hath not noble lustre in your eyes.

I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,

Straining upon the start.  The game’s afoot:

Follow your spirit, and upon this charge

Cry, ‘God for Harry, England and Saint George!’

 

2015: Before the Ending of the Day

Feeling sleepy?  Never fear.  This year’s Neglected Gem is a bedtime prayer, originally written in Latin and traditionally sung at Compline:

candleBefore the ending of the day,
Creator of the world, we pray,
That with thy wonted favour, thou
Wouldst be our guard and keeper now.
 
From all ill dreams defend our eyes,
From nightly fears and fantasies;
Tread underfoot our ghostly foe,
That no pollution we may know.
 
O Father, that we ask be done,
Through Jesus Christ, thine only Son;
Who, with the Holy Ghost and thee,
Doth live and reign eternally.  Amen

 morland

These words are translated by John Mason Neale.  The original Latin version is often attributed to Saint Ambrose of Milan, who lived in the 4th Century.  We don’t know for sure if he actually wrote them, but it’s certain that this is a very old hymn which has been sung by Christians for well over 1000 years.

You might recognise the Latin words, Te Lucis Ante Terminum, because they were set to music by Henry Balfour Gardiner as the very fine anthem Evening Hymn, which we sang at Camp last year.

 

2014: When a Knight Won His Spurs

boy-young-knight-and-dragon-clipartGrab your horse and sword and chariot!  This year’s Neglected Gem is a hymn called When a Knight Won His Spurs, written by Jan Struther (1901-1953).  It used to be a very popular children’s hymn (your granny probably sang it at school), but it has now largely fallen out of use, which is a great shame.

 

Luckily for the world, you can charge in with your shield and your lance and put it all right again, simply by learning and repeating (0r singing) this:

When a knight won his spurs in the stories of old,
He was gentle and brave, he was gallant and bold;
With a shield on his arm and a lance in his hand,
For God and for valour he rode through the land.
 
No charger have I, and no sword by my side,
Yet still to adventure and battle I ride.
Though back into storyland giants have fled,
And the knights are no more, and the dragons are dead.
 
Let faith be my shield and let joy be my steed
‘Gainst the dragons of anger, the ogres of greed;
And let me set free, with the sword of my youth,
From the castle of darkness, the power of the truth.

 

The hymn is sung to the tune Stowey, a traditional English folk tune arranged and harmonised by Ralph Vaughan Williams.

Here’s a man in a hat imagining dragons in his bedroom.  He’d love you to sing along:

 

 

2013: To be a Pilgrim

Our Neglected Gem for this year is John Bunyan’s hymn “To be a Pilgrim,” from his classic work Pilgrim’s Progress, written in 1684:

Who would true valour see,
Let him come hither;
One here will constant be,
Come wind, come weather.
There’s no discouragement
Shall make him once relent
His first avowed intent
To be a pilgrim.
 
Whoso beset him round
With dismal stories,
Do but themselves confound;
His strength the more is.
No lion can him fright,
He’ll with a giant fight,
But he will have a right
To be a pilgrim.
 
Hobgoblin, nor foul fiend
Can daunt his spirit;
He knows he at the end
Shall life inherit.
Then fancies fly away,
He’ll fear not what men say,
He’ll labour night and day
To be a pilgrim. 
 

You might have sung slightly different words to this hymn in Church or at school; it was changed in Victorian times by people who thought that hobgoblins shouldn’t be mentioned in Church!  Here at Morland, though, we’re more than a match for hobgoblins, so we’ll stick to the original version.

For those of you who enjoy a bit of karaoke, here’s a jolly version on youtube for you to sing along: Who Would True Valour See.

2012: The Elixir

In keeping with the Olympics, this year’s Neglected Gem is all about gold.  It is some verses from George Herbert’s poem The Elixir:

Teach me, my God and King,
In all things thee to see,
And what I do in any thing,
To do it as for thee.
 
All may of thee partake:
 Nothing can be so mean,
Which with his tincture (for thy sake)
 Will not grow bright and clean.
 
A servant with this clause
Makes drudgery divine:
Who sweeps a room, as for thy laws,
 Makes that and the action fine.
 
This is the famous stone
That turneth all to gold:
For that which God doth touch and own
Cannot for less be told.
 

George Herbert was an Anglican Parish Priest and a poet who lived in the 17th Century.  This poem is based on the idea, common at the time, that there might exist a magical stone which could turn ordinary metals into gold.  (The stone was known as The Philosopher’s Stone, which later appeared in Harry Potter.) George Herbert’s poem reminded people that the real gold was not money or status, but doing the will of God.

Here is a PDF of the words which you can print out:

The Elixir

 


2011: The Collect for Saint Oswald

This year, we sing Evensong at Carlisle Cathedral on the Feast Day of Saint Oswald, a seventh century King of Northumbria.  Our Neglected Gem is the special Collect (prayer) which celebrates his life and witness:

Lord God almighty,
who so kindled the faith of King Oswald with your Spirit
that he set up the sign of the Cross in his kingdom
and turned his people to the light of Christ:
grant that we, being fired by the same Spirit,
may always bear our cross before the world
and be found faithful servants of the gospel;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.  Amen

 Click here for a PDF of the words which you can print out:

Collect for Saint Oswald

Don’t forget to check out the hymn writing competition  too!