Easter Music – Classic Hymns: The Strife is O’er – Truro Cathedral Choir

April 5, 2015

(I can’t resist reposting this even though I’ve posted it in other years.  I need these words this Easter Morn!  Look for new Easter devotional entries beginning Monday.)

easter-lily

For this morning’s Easter musical selection, I’m choosing one of my favorite classic hymns:

The Strife is O’er performed by the Truro Cathedral Choir.

(Should the embedded music file not display or play, use this link, but please respect copyright and purchase the file should you wish to keep it.)

This version appears on the 2009 album Easter Joy, with 51 hymns and songs by assorted artists.

Here is a pretty close version of the lyrics (there are a few minor differences)

The strife is o’er, the battle done;
Now is the Victor’s triumph won;
Now be the song of praise begun.
Alleluia!

2. Death’s mightiest powers have done their worst,
And Jesus hath His foes dispersed;
Let shouts of praise and joy outburst.
Alleluia!

3. On the third morn He rose again
Glorious in majesty to reign;
Oh, let us swell the joyful strain!
Alleluia!

4. He closed the yawning gates of hell;
The bars from heaven’s high portals fell.
Let songs of praise His triumph tell.
Alleluia!

5. Lord, by the stripes which wounded Thee.
From death’s dread sting Thy servants free
That we may live and sing to Thee.
Alleluia!

Note, as is often the case, the American version of the hymn is somewhat different.


A prayer of self-dedication – commiting ourselves afresh to the Lord for 2015

January 1, 2015

From our 2005 archives, one of my favorite prayers.  I’m shocked I’ve never re-posted this here at this version of Lent & Beyond since we began this site in 2007!

I’m aware that I can’t change my behavior unless God first draws my heart towards Him and renews my mind…:

Almighty and eternal God, so draw our hearts to you,

so guide our minds,

so fill our imaginations,

so control our wills,

that we may be wholly yours, utterly dedicated unto you;

and then use us, we pray you, as you will,

and always to your glory and the welfare of your people;

through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.


Advent Favorites: A-D-V-E-N-T Acrostic – An Advent Classic from the late Rev’d Dr. Peter Toon

November 21, 2014

One of the best overviews of Advent I’ve ever seen, including insightful commentary  on various of the Anglican Advent Collects from the late Rev’d Dr. Peter Toon of the Prayer Book Society.  I came across this again a few days ago browsing our files with Advent 2005 archives from our old blog.  Can’t believe I’ve never reposted it here at this version of Lent & Beyond!

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Here’s the commentary I posted about this article on December 2, 2005.

Dr. Toon’s acrostic on the meaning and purpose of Advent is excellent and I found very helpful.

A = Arrival
D = Devotion
V = Volition (the act of willing or resolving)
E = Expectancy
N = Narrative
T = Thanksgiving

For each aspect of Advent, Dr. Toon shows how the theme is developed and reinforced in the Advent liturgy, which I found helpful in giving me eyes to see the very familiar Advent collects afresh.

Dr. Toon’s article was originally posted Sunday, November 27, 2005 at the website of the Prayer Book Society:

A D V E N T

The Christian season of Advent (Latin, adventus, “Coming”) runs from the fourth Sunday before Christmas until the eve of Christmas. It is also the beginning of the Christian Year.One way of thinking about its purpose and meaning is to take each letter of the word, a-d-v-e-n-t, and let it represent a theme or aspect of this season. So let us try this method.
A – ArrivalDuring the season of Advent the Church of Christ joins the remnant of Israel (such as Simeon & Anna) through liturgy in preparing for the Arrival of the Messiah, the Son of David & the Son of God, even Jesus, Son of Mary. Further, the Church joins Israel in listening to John the Baptist, who prepared the way of the Messiah.

Also, during the season of Advent the Church of Christ as the Bride of Christ looks for his Return to earth, his Arrival as the Lord of lords and King of kings to raise the dead, judge the nations and inaugurate the kingdom of God.

So the Church prays on Advent III

O Lord Jesu Christ, who at thy first coming didst send thy messenger to prepare thy way before thee: Grant that the ministers and stewards of thy mysteries may likewise turn so prepare and make ready thy way, by turning the hearts of the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, that at thy second coming to judge the world, we may be found an acceptable people in thy sight, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

D — Devotion

The four weeks of Advent provide the possibility of a period of intense and deep Devotion both in the public liturgy of the Church and in personal times of prayer and meditation. This consecration to walking with God in humility and obedience is summed up in the Collect for the last of the four Sundays:

O LORD, raise up (we pray thee) thy power, and come among us, and with great might succour us; that whereas, through our sins and wickedness, we are sore let and hindered in running the race that is set before us, thy bountiful grace and mercy may speedily help and deliver us; through the satisfaction of thy Son our Lord, to whom with thee and the Holy Ghost be honour and glory, world without end. Amen.

The Collect is addressed to God, the Father, and it is an earnest request that he will gather up his power and descend to his people (by the Holy Ghost) in order to help, succour and sustain them in the race they are running in their earthly pilgrimage towards the goal & fullness of the kingdom of heaven (see Hebrews 12:1).

In making this petition, God’s people recognize that due to their sins of omission and commission they have failed to run in God’s grace as gracefully and swiftly as they are called to do and ought to have done. Thus they look to the Father to provide them through his Son and by his Spirit, and in grace and mercy, the help they need. In particular they look to the “satisfaction of thy Son”, to his perfect obedience of the Father in his life and in his death, as the basis for asking for divine mercy and assistance (i.e., to his active and passive obedience).

If God’s people are to live as those who expect the return of the Lord Jesus Christ, then they need not only to watch and pray but also to live as the obedient and faithful servants of God, engaged daily in his service and running the race that is set before them. This requires true Devotion!

V. Volition (the act of willing or resolving)

God is merciful and gives us grace but we have to be willing to receive that grace and to commit ourselves to his will and purpose. The Devotion of Advent requires definition Volition! But this we prayed for in the week before Advent: “Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people…”

The season of Advent may be viewed as a short Lent as a time when strict discipline over the body through Fasting is one means of deepening awareness of God and devotion to him. The colour for this season, like Lent, is purple pointing to asceticism and the words of the Advent Collect, “Give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness” also suggest the need for discipline & Fasting. Further, it is possible for four weeks to omit “Gloria in Excelsis” from the Eucharist as a sign of liturgical asceticism – but to do this without developing the interior Devotion of asceticism is to miss out!

Yet Volition, the commitment of the will resolved to do what God requires and to please him, is the real thing here! That is, the will as it is graciously turned towards the Lord to obey him and to do his bidding.

E – Expectancy

As the righteous remnant in Israel waited for the Messiah in hopeful expectancy, so Christian worshippers in the Liturgy throughout Advent grow in expectancy for the arrival of the Son of God Incarnate. And their expectancy is joyfully fulfilled at the first service of Christmas as either they hear the words of the angel first spoken to the shepherds: “To you is born this day in the city of David, a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord,” or the majestic words of John 1, “And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth…”

Further, liturgically Expectancy is communicated by the great “O’s” used during the last week of Advent.

O WISDOM, that camest out of the mouth of the Most High, reaching from one end to another, firmly and gently ordering all things: Come and teach us the way of understanding.

O ADONAI, Captain of the house of Israel, who didst appear to Moses in the flame of the burning bush, and gavest him the law on Sinai: Come and deliver us with thine outsretched arm.

O ROOT OF JESSE, who standest for an ensign of the people, before whom kings shall shut their mouths, to whom the nations shall seek: Come and deliver us and tarry not.

O KEY OF DAVID, Sceptre of the house of Israel, who openest and no man shutteth, and shuttest and not man openeth; Come and bring forth out of the prison-house him that is bound.

O DAY-SPRING FROM ON HIGH, Brightness of Eternal Light, and Sun of righteousness: Come and enlighten those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death.

O KING OF NATIONS, thou for whom they long, the Cornerstone that makest them both one: Come and save thy creatures whom thou didst fashion from the dust of the earth.

O EMMANUEL, our King and Lawgiver, the Desire of all nations and their Saviour: Come and save us, O Lord our God.

N – Narrative

The Scripture passages, the Bible narrative, read, heard and pondered during Advent are most important. In the Daily Offices of Morning and Evening Prayer, the Book of Isaiah the Prophet is prominent and is read extensively throughout the four weeks as the Old Testament Lesson. In this book, not only are there many passages addressed to ancient Israel but there are also prophecies that look into the future to proclaim the arrival of the Messiah, the nature of his kingdom, his exaltation through suffering, and the triumph of his cause.

The Anglican Collect for Advent II refers to this relation to Holy Scripture:

Blessed Lord, who hast caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning; Grant that we may in such wise hear them, read, mark ,learn and inwardly digest them, that by patience and comfort of thy holy Word, we may embrace and ever hold fast, the blessed hope of everlasting life, which thou hast given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

T – Thanksgiving

Though there is a strong element of penitence accompanying the fasting and asceticism in Advent, there is a stronger element of Thanksgiving! For God is praised and thanked for his saving deeds and his inspired words recorded in the Old Testament, all of which point to their climax in the arrival of the Messiah, the Saviour, who came to “fulfil the Law and the Prophets.” There is celebration of God’s mighty salvation experienced by the Israelites and there is anticipation of the even mightier salvation wrought in the Lord Jesus Christ.

And of course the meaning of the word, “Eucharist”, is “Thanksgiving” and thus in the Sacrament each week there is profound thanksgiving offered to the Father through the Son and with the Holy Spirit.

The Advent Collect to be used throughout the four weeks

Almighty God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious Majesty, to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, now and ever. Amen.


Best of Advent at Lent & Beyond – An Index of our Advent Favorites from the past 10 years

November 17, 2014

Advent-5-CandlesArt Credit: Daughters of God blog

Back in 2008 we initiated something called our Advent favorites series.  It started with re-posting some of our best and most popular Advent posts from the years 2004 – 2006 which we had rescued from our old blog site.  It now also includes a few newer entries posted in the last few years.

We’ve grouped these favorites into two categories:  Devotional (prayers, quotes, meditations); and Resources.

Anyway, without further ado, here are about 40 of the best Advent entries we posted in the first 10 years of Lent & Beyond.  (Out of 300+ total Advent entries!)

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Apologies for a number of incorrect links when I first posted this.  They should all be correct now

Advent Favorites – Devotionals

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Favorite L&B Original Devotionals:

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Advent Favorites – Resources

Finally, there is our comprehensive listing of Advent resources posted in 2008:  Advent Links: the Lent & Beyond Advent Resources Compilation.  (It needs SERIOUS updating to weed out dead links and add new links, [something we very much hope we can do this year!] but there are still a lot of great resources there, and it’s worth browsing…)

 


A Classic Ash Wednesday Post from our Archives #2: Seek the Lord and Live

March 5, 2014

Back in 2006 at the original site for Lent & Beyond, we hosted a Lent “blog carnival” with daily entries for Lent from various Anglican bloggers.  It was a great series.   I had the joy of penning the Ash Wednesday devotional for that series.  While clicking through some of our Lent links compilations the other day to make sure the links were still working, I happened to reread my post from 8 years ago, and I found the Lord using what I’d written then to  challenge me afresh.

So here’s an excerpt and the link to that Ash Wednesday devotional from 2006.

Seek the LORD and live…

Those are the opening words of the OT daily office reading from Amos for today, Ash Wednesday (ECUSA 1979 lectionary). I find it interesting that we have a call to choose life on a day when the liturgy during the imposition of ashes reminds us of our mortality:

Almighty God, you have created us out of the dust of the earth: Grant that these ashes may be to us a sign of our mortality and penitence, that we may remember that it is only by your gracious gift that we are given everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.

and: Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.

The theme of finding life through submission and obedience to in the Lord continues in the NT lesson from Hebrews 12, in verse 9:

Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live!

Do we truly believe that in Christ is life, and that to live we must submit to our heavenly Father?

I don’t just mean this in terms of salvation and eternal life and the debates about apologetics, and the uniqueness of Christ in which we so often get caught up. I am asking myself this question today and challenging each of us to ask it of ourselves daily throughout Lent. Is Christ our life? Are we willing to submit our wills and desires to God? To choose to do what pleases Him? Do we believe that the joy, life and freedom He offers, that we find in yielding to and obeying Him is better, more satisfying than the empty pleasures of this world?

You can read the whole entry here.


A Classic Ash Wednesday Post from our Archives #1: Matt Kennedy on Lenten Disciplines

March 5, 2014

Back in 2005, the Rev. Matt Kennedy, an Anglican rector in Binghamton NY wrote a short article about Lent for his parish newsletter, which we posted on the original site for Lent & Beyond.  I think it’s one of the best pieces for Lent I’ve ever read in terms of really solid practical advice (for believers AND non-believers) about how to choose a Lenten discipline…

This year (2014) Fr. Matt has produced a short video (7 minutes) about Lent which covers some of the same ideas, which is highly recommended.  But I wanted to repost Fr. Matt’s original 2005 article as well, since it’s one of my favorite entries from the last 10 years.  Who can forget the memorable line: “if you have a problem with lust, don’t give up chocolate”?!

Here’s an excerpt from Fr. Matt’s 2005 article:

For believers, Lent can be a time when you actively work to rid yourself of sins that have grown into habits and/or addictions (yes, this should be something we do all year round but it’s helpful to have a time like Lent set aside for that very purpose).

So, rather than thinking about what vice to give up or what discipline to add, a better place to start is prayer. Ask God to search your heart and bring to your mind those habits of thought, word, and/or deed that displease him most. (Sometimes what is displeasing in your life will be so obvious that you won’t even need to pray, you’ll just know. The Holy Spirit living inside you will have made it abundantly clear already). When you ask this in sincerity you can be sure that God will provide you with an answer.

This answer will tell you whether you need to add a discipline or be rid of a behavior or attitude. If, for example you believe that God wants you to be more committed to studying scripture, then you should probably consider adding personal or group bible study to your routine. If on the other hand you believe God is displeased with the amount of time you spend on the internet or the kinds of things you look at on-line, then you should probably consider cutting out or down on your computer usage or installing some parental control program to keep you accountable (even if, especially if, you’re a parent).

In other words, your Lenten discipline should not be arbitrary. If you have a problem with lust, don’t give up chocolate. Give up whatever it is that leads you into lustful behavior. And don’t just give it up for Lent, use Lent to give it up forever. Let the Lord know that you are committed to turning from the sin he has shown you and then ask him to help you in your task though the power of his Holy Spirit.

If you are not a believer then you don’t just need to turn around a habit or an attitude. God is calling you to turn your life around. He loves you so much that he sent his Son Jesus Christ to die in your place. Through Jesus, God is offering you the opportunity to be forgiven and made clean. No more guilt, no more burden, no more despair. In Jesus Christ you will have life and have it abundantly. It’s your choice. If you’re tired of living life apart from God, then let him know. You can say it like this:

“Lord Jesus I am a sinner. I’m lost and on my own I can’t find my way home. But you died on the cross to save me from the eternal consequences of my sins and today, this very moment, I repent and I put my life in your hands. I want to be with you forever. Come into my heart Lord Jesus and make your home there. I give my life to you. I pray this in your holy Name. Amen.”

You can read the full entry here.


An Advent Choral Service with the O Antiphons in your own living room

December 17, 2013

For $10 you can download a wonderful Advent recording and enjoy a traditional Advent Choral Service in your own home:

An Advent Procession based on The Great "O" Antiphons

at iTunes

at Amazon (CD and MP3 versions)

This album, An Advent Procession based on the Great O Antiphons, by the Choirs of Saint Mark’s Cathedral, Seattle, contains recordings of all the O Antiphons, Scripture readings, Collects and a number of traditional Advent hymns as well.

Listening to this is truly beautiful and a wonderful way to be still and meditate on Jesus in this final week before Christmas.  There are 34 total tracks (for about an hour of worship.)  The service is arranged in chronological order for each of the seven O Antiphons, so you could listen to an Antiphon, a Scripture, a Collect and a hymn each day for the next seven days of Advent.

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Other recordings containing the O Antiphons include:

Advent Carols from Saint Johns (iTunes)

And Comes the Day: Carols and Antiphons for Advent (Queens College Cambridge)  (iTunes)


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