Feast of Christopher Wordsworth (March 20)   3 comments

Trinity College, Cambridge

Above:  Trinity College, Cambridge, England, United Kingdom, 1890-1900

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-ppmsc-08091

Copyright Holder = Detroit Publishing Company

Print Number 10094

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CHRISTOPHER WORDSWORTH (OCTOBER 30, 1807-MARCH 20, 1885)

Anglican Bishop of Lincoln

I begin this post with a simple warning to my readers:  I mention three Christopher Wordsworths and two John Wordsworths.  I have tried to minimize or prevent confusion.  The Christopher Wordsworth to whom I devote the most attention is Christopher (Jr.), as I refer to him.  His father was Christopher (Sr.) and one of his sons was Christopher (III).

Christopher Wordsworth (1807-1885), the subject of this post, was a son of one Christopher Wordsworth, Anglican Rector of Lambeth in 1807 and later the Master of Trinity College, Cambridge.  Christopher (Jr.), the subject of this post, was both a brilliant student and a talented athlete at Manchester and at Trinity College.  His life, in fact, was that of a priest-scholar.  And he was in good company as a scholar, author, and clergyman.  William Wordsworth, his uncle, was a great poet.  John Wordsworth, a brother of Christopher (Jr.), was a scholar of antiquity.  Charles Wordsworth, another brother of Christopher (Jr.), was a bishop of the Scottish Episcopal Church.  A second John Wordsworth, a son of Christopher (Jr.), became the Bishop of Salisbury.  And a third Christopher Wordsworth, also a son of Christopher (Jr.), became a liturgical scholar.

But what about Christopher (Jr.)?  He became the Bishop of Lincoln in 1868 and held that post until his death.  During his career he published much.  Among his works was The Holy Year (1862), a collection of hymns for each season of the Western Christian year.  And, in a series of volumes, he wrote a complete commentary on the Bible.  Christopher (Jr.) also published Ancient Writings Copied from the Walls of Ancient Pompeii (1837) and Church History Up to A.D. 451 (1881-1883).

John Ellerton (1826-1893), an Anglican priest and a prolific writer of hymns, considered Christopher (Jr.) to be

…a most  humble, loving, and self-denying man. And the man was reflected in his verse.  To read one of his best hymns is like looking into a plain face, without one striking feature, but with an irresistible charm of honesty, intelligence, and affection.

Since I am writing this post during the Season after Epiphany, I choose to share an Epiphany hymn from Christopher (Jr.).

Songs of thankfulness and praise,

Jesus, Lord, to Thee we raise,

Manifested by the star

To the sages from afar;

Branch of royal David’s stem

In Thy birth at Bethlehem;

Anthems be to Thee addrest,

God in Man made manifest.

—–

Manifest in Jordan’s stream,

Prophet, priest, and King supreme;

And at Cana wedding-guest

In Thy Godhead manifest;

Manifest in power divine,

Changing water into wine;

Anthems be to Thee addrest,

God in Man made manifest.

—–

Manifest in making whole

Palsied limbs and fainting soul;

Manifest in valiant fight,

Quelling all the devil’s might;

Manifest in gracious will,

Ever bringing good from ill;

Anthems be to Thee addrest,

God in Man made manifest.

—–

Grant us grace to see Thee, Lord,

Present in Thy holy Word;

May we imitate Thee now,

And be pure, as pure art Thou;

That we like to Thee may be,

At Thy great Epiphany;

And may praise Thee, ever blest,

God in Man made manifest.

Those words from 1862 contain much theological depth, unlike the lyrics of certain contemporary (to 2013) praise songs, theological tidepools with repeated and few words.

Christopher Wordsworth (Jr.) devoted his art and intellect to noble pursuits, usually Christ.  (There was also much merit in the study of the ancient past.)  May we honor Christopher (Jr.)’s faithfulness, his intellect, and his craft with words.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 19, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SARGENT SHRIVER, U.S. STATESMAN

THE FEAST OF SAINT CAESARIUS OF ARLES, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP; AND SAINT CAESARIA OF ARLES, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBESS

THE FEAST OF SAINT HENRY OF UPPSALA, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF SAINT WOLFSTAN OF WORCESTER, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

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Almighty God, your Holy Spirit gives to one the word of knowledge,

and to another the insight of wisdom,

and to another the steadfastness of faith.

We praise you for the gifts of grace imparted to your servant Christopher Wordsworth,

and we pray that by his teaching we may be led to a fuller knowledge of the truth

we have seen in your Son Jesus, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and

the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Proverbs 3:1-7 or Wisdom 7:7-14

Psalm 119:89-104

1 Corinthians 2:6-10, 13-16 or 1 Corinthians 3:5-11

John 17:18-23 or Matthew 13:47-52

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 61

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Revised on December 24, 2016

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3 responses to “Feast of Christopher Wordsworth (March 20)

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  1. Pingback: See the Conqueror Mounts in Triumph | GATHERED PRAYERS

  2. Pingback: Christopher Wordsworth | GATHERED PRAYERS

  3. Pingback: Feast of Edward King (March 8) | SUNDRY THOUGHTS

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