This NPR story is so worth hearing!
And here’s a New York Times article about the same event, with sound files imbedded:
Hear 9 New Psalm Settings for Challenging Times
I had one of those “I’m sad I finished this book” moments this past weekend.
Saturday’s events in Charlottesville, and a rather frustrating phone call, led me to the decision to cancel my evening plans and stay home.
After dinner of lamb burgers and cold potatoes dressed in lemon and olive oil, I made a quick trip to the market for a few odds and ends.
And then at about 8.30 p.m. I sat down with James Woodforde‘s The Diary of a Country Parson.
On the Grace & Holy Trinity Cathedral choir tour last summer, many of us learned of this book as we were in Norwich, England, where Parson Woodforde was the rector of a parish in that dioecese.
I’d started this book in June, and had picked away at it. Since it’s a diary, and the entries are short, one can easily set the book aside. But this past week I’d been more intentional in reading the parson’s account of life in Norfolkshire.
After about an hour, I had finished the last 100 pages, and found myself with tears in my eyes.
In offering the book to other folks on the tour, I wrote “What a wonder, this little tome! The parson unwittingly has provided us a cultural, dietary, fashion, social and economic history of his age. And for anyone who loves history, this is just a fun read.”
So Parson Woodforde’s diary is now in the hands of Lenette, who will pass it along to Joyce, who will likewise pass it along.
I found in Parson Woodforde a bit of myself: some of the melancholy, some of the impatience and even intolerance with others, so of the simple piety (I hope).
Thanks be to God for good and faithful servants like James Woodforde, for slices of life from centuries ago, and for the reminder to be thankful for the comforts we celebrate now.
A hymn by Isaac Watts.
1. Come, ye that love the Lord,
And let your joys be known;
Join in a song with sweet accord,
And thus surround the throne.
2. Let those refuse to sing
That never knew our God,
But children of the heavenly King
May speak their joys abroad.
3. The God of heaven is ours,
Our Father and our love ;
His care shall guard life’s fleeting hours,
Then waft our souls above.
4. There shall we see his face,
And never, never sin;
There, from the rivers of his grace,
Drink endless pleasures in.
5. Yes, and before we rise
To that immortal state.
The thoughts of such amazing bliss
Should constant joys create.
6. Children of grace have found
Glory begun below:
Celestial fruits on earthly ground,
From faith and hope may grow.
7. The hill of Sion yields
A thousand sacred sweets,
Before we reach the heavenly fields,
Or walk the golden streets.
8. Then let our songs abound,
And ev’ry tear be dry;
We’re trav’lling through Immanuel’s ground,
To fairer worlds on high.
This classic Paschal or Easter Sermon is from Saint John Chrysostom, fifth century early church father and one of the greatest preachers of all time. This homily for Holy Pascha exhorts all, even those who have not kept the Lenten fast, to rejoice and enter into the Easter feast of the resurrection.
Let all Pious men and all lovers of God rejoice in the splendor of this feast; let the wise servants blissfully enter into the joy of their Lord; let those who have borne the burden of Lent now receive their pay, and those who have toiled since the first hour, let them now receive their due reward; let any who came after the third hour be grateful to join in the feast, and those who may have come after the sixth, let them not be afraid of being too late, for the Lord is gracious and He receives the last even as the first. He gives rest to him who comes on the eleventh hour as well as to him who has toiled since the first: yes, He has pity on the last and He serves the first; He rewards the one and is generous to the other; he repays the deed and praises the effort.
Come you all: enter into the joy of your Lord. You the first and you the last, receive alike your reward; you rich and you poor, dance together; you sober and you weaklings, celebrate the day; you who have kept the fast and you who have not, rejoice today. The table is richly loaded: enjoy its royal banquet. The calf is a fatted one: let no one go away hungry. All of you enjoy the banquet of faith; all of you receive the riches of his goodness.
Let no one grieve over his poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed; let no one weep over his sins, for pardon has shone from the grave; let no one fear death, for the death of our Savior has set us free: He has destroyed it by enduring it, He has despoiled Hades by going down into its kingdom, He has angered it by allowing it to taste of his flesh.
When Isaiah foresaw all this, he cried out: “O Hades, you have been angered by encountering Him in the nether world.” Hades is angered because frustrated, it is angered because it has been mocked, it is angered because it has been destroyed, it is angered because it has been reduced to naught, it is angered because it is now captive. It seized a body, and lo! it discovered God; it seized earth, and, behold! it encountered heaven; it seized the visible, and was overcome by the invisible.
O death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory? Christ is risen and life is freed, Christ is risen and the tomb is emptied of the dead: for Christ, being risen from the dead, has become the Leader and Reviver of those who had fallen asleep. To Him be glory and power for ever and ever. Amen.
Yet again last evening at Maundy Thursday service, as it has so many times before, this hymn slayed me. Husky voice. Tearful singing. Such wonder in these lyrics.
Here might I stay and sing,
No story so divine;
Never was love, dear King,
Never was grief like thine!
This is my Friend,
In whose sweet praise
I all my days
Could gladly spend.