Archive for the ‘Calvin Weiss Laufer’ Tag

Feast of Alfred Tennyson (August 5)   2 comments

Tennyson

Image in the Public Domain

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ALFRED TENNYSON (AUGUST 6, 1809-OCTOBER 6, 1892)

English Poet

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For finished and exquisite artistry he had no peer among his contemporaries.  His mind moved habitually on high levels; his teaching was always on what ennobles and exalts; and though his sensitive spirit was acutely alive to to the questionings and spiritual uncertainties of his age, which his work faithfully reflects, his faith in Divine goodness and guidance and in the life beyond gave comfort and strength to his generation.

–James Moffatt, ed. Handbook to the Church Hymnary (London, England, UK:  Oxford University Press, 1927), pages 516 and 517

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Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892), perhaps the most famous English poet of the Victorian age, was son of George Clayton Tennyson, an Anglican priest.  Our saint published is first volume of poetry with his brother Charles; Poems by Two Brothers (1827) debuted before Tennyson started his studies at Trinity College, Cambridge (1828).  While a student there he published a solo volume, Poems, Chiefly Lyrical (1830).  Many great poems followed.  Our saint became the national Poet Laureate in 1850.  In 1884 he became a peer, the Baron Tennyson of Aldworth and Farringford.  He died in 1892, interred at Westminster Abbey.

Tennyson, who never wrote hymns per se, did compose texts from which others excerpted hymns.  Here is one example:

Sunset and evening star,

And one clear call for me!

And may there be no moaning of the bar

When I put out to sea,

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But such a tide as moving seems asleep,

Too full for sound and foam,

When that which drew from out the boundless deep

Turns again home.

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Twilight and evening bell,

And after that the dark!

And may there be no sadness of farewell

When I embark;

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For, though from out our bourne of time and place

The flood may bear me far,

I hope to see my Pilot face to face

When I have reached the bar.

And here is another example:

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,

The flying cloud, the frosty light;

The year is dying in the night;

Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,

Ring, happy bells, across the snow:

The year is going, let him go;

Ring out the false, ring in the true.

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Ring out the grief that saps the mind,

For those that here we see no more;

Ring out the feud of rich and poor,

Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,

The civic slander and the spite;

Ring in the love of truth and right,

Ring in the common love of good.

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Ring out old shapes of foul disease,

Ring out the narrow lust of gold;

Ring out the thousand wars of old,

Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,

The larger heart, the kindlier hand;

Ring out the darkness of the land,

Ring in the Christ that is to be.

I found these texts and another one (which I have added to my GATHERED PRAYERS weblog) in The Hymnal (1933), Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., one of the better hymnbooks–certainly one classier ones–of the previous century.  And I found another Tennyson in Hymns for the Family of God (1976), one of the hymnals on the other end of the spectrum from classy:

More things are wrought by prayer

Than this world dreams of.

Wherefore, let thy voice

Rise like a fountain for me night and day.

For what are men better than sheep or goats

That nourish a blind life within the brain,

If, knowing God, they lift not hands of prayer

Both for themselves and those who call them friends,

For so the whole round earth is every way

Bound by gold chains about the feet of God.

That text is a rare bright spot of quality in that hymnal, populated by a combination of gold and dross–mostly the latter.

This is a post about Tennyson, however, so I return to him.  Our saint, a man of deep piety and great literary ability, used his talents to glorify God and to beautify the world–to exalt the noble and the lovey.  He set the bar very high.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 28, 2014 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT THOMAS AQUINAS, ROMAN CATHOLIC THEOLOGIAN

THE FEAST OF CHARLES KINGSLEY, ANGLICAN PRIEST, NOVELIST, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF JOSEPH BARNBY, ANGLICAN CHURCH MUSICIAN AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF RICHARD FREDERICK LITTLEDALE, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND TRANSLATOR OF HYMNS

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Eternal God, light of the world and Creator of all that is good and lovely:

We bless your name for inspiring Alfred Tennyson

and all those who with words have filled us with desire and love for you;

through Jesus Christ our Savior, who with you and the Holy Spirit

lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

1 Chronicles 29:14b-19

Psalm 90:14-17

2 Corinthians 3:1-3

John 21:15-17, 24-25

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 728

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Feast of William Hiram Foulkes (June 14)   1 comment

PCUSA 1937

Above:  Part of The Christian Century‘s Report on the 1937 General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.

Photograph Dated December 31, 2013

Image Source = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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WILLIAM HIRAM FOULKES (JUNE 16, 1877-DECEMBER 9, 1961)

U.S. Presbyterian Minister and Hymn Writer

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Science and religion no more contradict each other than light and electricity.

–William Hiram Foulkes

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William Hiram Foulkes, born in Qunicy, Michigan, in 1877, was a Presbyterian minister, a denominational statesman, and a writer of hymns.

The progress of our saint’s career was as follows:

  1. Foulkes graduated from the College of Emporia, Emporia, Kansas, in 1897.  Next he attended McCormick Theological Seminary, where he received the Bernardine Orme Smith Fellowship for general excellence.  He also studied on the graduate level at New College, Edinburgh, Scotland.
  2. Foulkes ministered at churches in Elmira, Illinois; Portland, Oregon; New York, New York; Cleveland, Ohio; and Newark, New Jersey; in that order.
  3. Foulkes served as the General Secretary of the Board of Ministerial Relief and Sustenation of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. from 1913 to 1918.
  4. Foulkes served as the Chairman of the New Era Movement (in full, the New Era Expansion Program) of the denomination.  The purpose of the New Era Movement (1919-1933) was to encourage cooperation among congregations, presbyteries, synods, and denominational boards and agencies to promote stewardship, ecumenism, and missionary education.
  5. Foulkes sat on the General Council of the denomination.
  6. Foulkes contributed to the 1935 Handbook to the 1933 Hymnal.
  7. Foulkes served as the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. in 1937-1938.
  8. Foulkes retired in 1941.
  9. Foulkes died at Smithtown, New York, in 1961.

Our saint wrote at least three books:

  1. Living Bread from the Fourth Gospel (1914), a devotional volume;
  2. Sunset by the Wayside (1917), a volume of poems; and
  3. Homespun:  Along Friendly Roads (1936), a volume of Christian essays.

He also wrote hymns, including “Take Thou Our Minds, Dear Lord” (1918), which I have added to my GATHERED PRAYERS weblog.  It is a hymn about consecration to God–having the mind of Christ, yielding to God, et cetera.  He wrote it as a devotional text for young people.  Dr. Calvin Weiss Laufer had asked Foulkes to compose words

that will challenge their hearts and minds.

–Quoted in William Chalmers Covert and Calvin Weiss Laufer, eds., Handbook to The Hymnal (Philadelphia, PA:  Presbyterian Board of Christian Education, 1935), page 266

Perhaps the best way to conclude my remarks is to affirm a simple prayer from that hymn:

Guide Thou our ordered lives as Thou dost please.

Amen.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 16, 2014 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE VICTIMS OF THE HAITI EARTHQUAKE

THE FEAST OF GEORGE AND LILLIAN WILLOUGHBY, QUAKER PEACE ACTIVISTS

THE FEAST OF SAINT PACHOMIUS, FATHER OF SPIRITUAL COMMUNAL MONASTIC LIFE

THE FEAST OF RICHARD MEUX BENSON, FOUNDER OF THE SOCIETY OF SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST

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Eternal God, light of the world and Creator of all that is good and lovely:

We bless you for inspiring William Hiram Foulkes

and all who with words have filled us with desire and love for you;

through Jesus Christ our Savior, who with you and the Holy Spirit

lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

1 Chronicles 29:14b-19

Psalm 90:14-17

2 Corinthians 3:1-3

John 21:15-17, 24-25

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 728

Feast of Charles Coffin (June 20)   1 comment

Map of France 1741

Above:  A Map of France, 1741

Image in the Public Domain

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CHARLES COFFIN (OCTOBER 4, 1676-JUNE 20, 1749)

Roman Catholic Priest and Hymn Writer

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He is one of the few French hymn writers whose poems have become a part of the worship material of America.

–William Chalmers Covert and Calvin Weiss Laufer, eds., Handbook to The Hymnal (Philadelphia, PA:  Presbyterian Board of Christian Education, 1935), page 517

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Father Charles Coffin, born in Buzancy, France, in 1676, received his education at Duplessis College of the University of Paris.  In 1701 he joined the faculty of the College of Doirmans-Beauvais of that university.  Eleven years later our saint became the Principal of the College.  In 1718 Father Coffin became Rector of the University of Paris, a position he held for five years before reverting to Principal of the College of Doirmans-Beauvais.  Those are particulars, mostly of Coffin’s academic career, but not very interesting relative to what follows.

Our saint wrote hymns, some of which exist in English translation.  Perhaps the best summary of Father Coffin’s hymns is that they were

direct and fitted with the spirit of grace.

–Fred L. Precht, Lutheran Worship:  Hymnal Companion (St. Louis, MO:  Concordia Publishing House, 1992), page 575.

I have added translations of some of those graceful hymns to my GATHERED PRAYERS weblog.

Here is the Yattendon Hymnal (1899) translation of a Coffin masterpiece:

Happy are they, they that love God,

Whose hearts have Christ confest,

Who by His Cross have found their life,

And ‘neath His yoke their rest.

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Glad is the praise, sweet are the songs,

When they together sing;

And strong the prayers that bow the ear

Of heaven’s eternal King.

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Christ to their homes giveth His peace,

And makes their loves His own;

But, ah what tares the evil one

Hath in His garden sown!

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Sad was our lot, evil this earth,

Did not its sorrows prove

The path whereby the sheep may find

The fold of Jesus’ love.

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Then shall they know, they that love Him,

How all their pain is good;

And death itself cannot unbind

Their happy brotherhood.

And here is the John Chandler (1806-1876) translation of an Advent hymn:

The advent of our God

Our prayers must now employ,

And we must meet him on his road

With hymns of holy joy.

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The everlasting Son

Incarnate deigns to be;

Himself a servant’s form puts on

To set his people free.

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Daughter of Sion, rise

To meet thy lowly King,

Nor let thy faithless heart despise

The peace he comes to bring.

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As Judge, on clouds of light,

He soon will come again,

And all his scattered saints unite

With him in heaven to reign.

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Before the dawning day

Let sin’s dark deeds be gone;

The old man all be put away,

The new man all put on.

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All glory to the Son,

Who comes to set us free,

With Father, Spirit, ever One,

Through all eternity.

Coffin, who composed Latin poems, published some of them in 1727.  Nine years later, at the command of the Archbishop of Paris, Coffin prepared the Paris Breviary, which contained most of his hymns.  The Archbishop favored replacing old Latin hymns with new Latin hymns.  (If one is to discard the old in favor of the new, Charles Coffin compositions are the way to go.)  Also in 1736, our saint published Hymni Sacri Auctore Carolo Coffin, containing about a hundred hymns.  A posthumous two-volume set of his complete works followed in 1755.

There was an unfortunate and needless shadow–one which commends Father Coffin in my mind–at the end of his life.  This holy man received neither the last rites nor a Christian burial because a certain priest, citing church politics, denied them.  Our saint had, along with many other French clergymen, objected the papal bull Unigenitus (1713).  Pope Clement XI condemned Jansenism, a movement within the Roman Catholic Church, as heretical.

Many papal bulls were, partially or entirely, bull.  Unigenitus was certainly at least partially bull (less so if one is of a Reformed perspective and more so if one leans toward the Wesleyan-Arminian end of the spectrum).  The document condemned a long list of Jansenist assertions as heresies.  Among these were the following:

  1. There is no role for human free will in salvation.
  2. It is both necessary and useful for all sorts of people to study the Bible.
  3. It is harmful to laity not to study the Bible.

Our saint found parts of the papal bull unacceptable and said so.  This made him a political hot potato at the end of his life, unfortunately.  But I praise God that such a talented and courageous man lived.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 13, 2014 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARGUERITE BOURGEOYS, FOUNDER OF THE SISTERS OF NOTRE DAME

THE FEAST OF SAINT HILARY OF POITIERS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF HUBERT HUMPHREY, UNITED STATES SENATOR AND VICE PRESIDENT

THE FEAST OF SAINT KENTIGERN (MUNGO), ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF GLASGOW

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Holy God, whose majesty surpasses all human definitions and capacity to grasp,

thank you for those (especially Charles Coffin)

who have nurtured and encouraged the reverent worship of you.

May their work inspire us to worship you in knowledge, truth, and beauty.

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

1 Chronicles 25:1-8

Psalm 145

Revelation 15:1-4

John 4:19-26

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 27, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JAMES INTERCISUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYR

THE FEAST OF HENRY SLOANE COFFIN, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN THEOLOGIAN

Feast of Calvin Weiss Laufer (April 16)   2 comments

Handbook to the Hymnal (1935) August 28, 2013

Above:  Part of the Title Page of a Germane Volume from my Library

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CALVIN WEISS LAUFER (APRIL 16, 1874-SEPTEMBER 21, 1938)

U.S. Presbyterian Minister and Hymnodist

Using The Hymnal (1933) has proven to be quite a boon to the Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.  This source has yielded many wonderful discoveries already.  And I have eight months’ worth of saints yet to go!

Among those discoveries (from my perspective) is the Reverend Calvin Weiss Laufer (1874-1938), a native of Brodheadsville, Pennsylvania.  He attended Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, Pennsylvania (B.A., 1897; M.A., 1900) then Union Theological Seminary.  Our saint, ordained in 1900s, served at two churches:

  • Steinway Reformed Church, Long Island City, New York (1901-1905), and
  • First Presbyterian Church, West Hoboken, New Jersey (1905-1915).

Then Laufer worked for arms of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. for the rest of his life.  From 1915 to 1924 he labored for the Presbyterian Board of Publication and Sabbath-School Work.  Then, from 1925 until his death, he worked for the Presbyterian Board of Christian Education, focusing on musical publications.  Our saint, in his official capacity, was partially responsible for the following books:

  • The Church School Hymnal for Youth (1927);
  • Junior Church School Hymnal (1928);
  • Songs for Men (1928);
  • Primary Music and Worship (1930); and
  • Hymn Lore (1932);
  • The Hymnal (1933);
  • Handbook to the Hymnal (1935); and
  • When  the Little Child Wants to Sing (1935).

Laufer, a protege of Lewis Fitzgerald Benson, produced other volumes:

Our saint wrote hymns, some of which I have added to my GATHERED PRAYERS weblog.  He wrote “We Thank Thee, Lord, Thy Paths of Service” (1919) for use in the Flatbush Presbyterian Church, Brooklyn, New York, New York, in September 1919.  The pastor, Herbert H. Field, was a dear friend with whom Laufer dined weekly.  Laufer wrote the triumphant “Thee, Holy Father, We Adore” (1931) in the midst of grief.  Our saint wrote of those circumstances in the Handbook to The Hymnal (1935):

This triumphant and joyous hymn of faith was born out of a great domestic sorrow that left the author’s heart and home bereft of an inspiring companionship.  The experience of God’s grace, in its ministry of comfort and a sense of victory in this soul crisis, not only illumined the darkness that fell but revealed the majesty and greatness of God in unforgettable glory.

–Page 19

And Laufer wrote “O Thou Eternal Christ of God” (1933) after an especially memorable Palm Sunday service.

Robert Guy McCutchan, editor of Our Hymnody:  A Manual of The Methodist Hymnal, 2d. Ed. (Nashville, TN:  Abingdon Press, 1937), wrote of our saint:

A writer of hymns, a devotional poet, and a musician of attainment, Doctor Laufer has made a notable contribution to the Church at large.

–Page 164

Yes, Dr. Laufer did.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 30, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF CHARLES CHAPMAN GRAFTON, EPISCOPAL BISHOP OF FOND DU LAC

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Holy God, whose majesty surpasses all human definitions and capacity to grasp,

thank you for those (especially Calvin Weiss Laufer)

who have nurtured and encouraged the reverent worship of you.

May their work inspire us to worship you in knowledge, truth, and beauty.

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

1 Chronicles 25:1-8

Psalm 145

Revelation 15:1-4

John 4:19-26

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 27, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JAMES INTERCISUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYR

THE FEAST OF HENRY SLOANE COFFIN, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN THEOLOGIAN

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Feast of Ebenezer Elliott (March 17)   1 comment

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Above:  The Great Stack, Sheffield (1909), by Joseph Pennell (1857-1926)

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-USZ62-22370

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EBENEZER ELLIOTT (MARCH 17, 1781-DECEMBER 1, 1849)

“The Corn Law Rhymer”

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This businessman author made himself a voice for the inarticulate cry of the downtrodden.  His hymns should arouse all Christians to a realization that in God’s sight persons are of more value than property.

–William Chalmers Covert and Calvin Weiss Laufer, eds., Handbook to The Hymnal (Presbyterian Board of Christian Education, 1935), page 394

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I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values.  We must rapidly begin the shift from a “thing-oriented” society to a “person-oriented” society.  When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.

–The Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr., Riverside Church, New York, New York, April 4, 1967; quoted in James Melvin Washington, ed., A Testament of Hope:  The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr. (San Francisco, CA:  HarperCollins, 1986; paperback, 1991), page 240

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Where injustice rules as tyrant,

give us courage, God, to dare

live our dreams of transformation.

Make our lives incarnate prayer.

–O. I. Cricket Harrison, 1988; revised in 1993; from Hymn #658, Chalice Hymnal (1995)

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Some background information is crucial to understanding the politics of our saint.

In 1815 the Tory-controlled Government of Great Britain passed the Corn Law while starving people protested outside the Halls of Parliament.  This law restricted the importation of inexpensive corn, benefiting some while harming many others.  Especially hard hit were poor people.  A peaceful protest against the Corn Law at Manchester in 1819 ended violently when soldiers attacked the crowd, which included many women and children.  Four hundred suffered severe injuries and eleven people–including one child–died.  This became a notorious incident and the cause of much political discontent, but the Government cracked down on dissent, making large public gatherings almost impossible and cracking down on the liberal press.  Law and order triumphed over social reform.

The Government finally repealed the Corn Law in 1846 due to pressure from the Irish Potato Famine.  In the meantime, people had suffered needless burdens of preventable hunger as the Government and businesses conspired to keep wages low and food prices high.  Opposition to such injustice had continued, as the Anti-Corn Law League had formed in 1838 and Ebenezer Elliott had written against the bread tax.

The family of Ebenezer Elliott (1781-1849), born at Yorkshire, had suffered because of the Corn Law and similar measures.  Although he was a conservative by temperament, the food-and-wage policies of the Tory Party (and later of the Conservative Party) pushed him into liberal politics.  Our saint, an ironmonger by profession, spent most of his life in Sheffield, a site of many abuses of industrialization.  (The reference to “dark Satanic mills” in “Jerusalem” was no exaggeration.)  On the side Elliott became a bard of the poor, publishing social protest poems in the local press and helping to build support for the repeal of the bread tax in 1846.

By accident one of his texts, “When Wilt Thou Save the People?,” published posthumously in an 1850 volume, became a hymn.  The text remains relevant.

May the faithful example of Ebenezer Elliott remind us of our responsibility to condemn injustice.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 19, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF ANNE HUTCHINSON, REBELLIOUS PURITAN

THE FEAST OF BLAISE PASCAL, MATHEMATICIAN AND ROMAN CATHOLIC THEOLOGIAN

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN EUDES, FOUNDER OF THE CONGREGATION OF JESUS AND MARY

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For Further Reading:

http://www.historyhome.co.uk/people/elliott.htm

http://spenserians.cath.vt.edu/AuthorRecord.php?&recordid=33382

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Holy and righteous God, you created us in your image.

Grant us grace to contend fearlessly against evil and to make no peace with oppression.

Help us, like your servant Ebenezer Elliott, to work for justice among people and nations,

to the glory of your name, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Hosea 2:18-23

Psalm 94:1-15

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60

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Revised on December 23, 2016

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Feast of Robert Walmsley (March 2)   1 comment

1777_Burdett_map_of_Sale

Above:  Map of Sale, England, 1777

Image in the Public Domain

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ROBERT WALMSLEY (MARCH 18, 1835-OCTOBER 30, 1905)

English Congregationalist Hymn Writer

Robert Walmsley, born in Manchester, England, spent most of his life as a jeweler in Sale, five miles southwest of his hometown.  He was, in the words of the Handbook to The Hymnal (Edited by William Chalmers Covert and Calvin Weiss Laufer and published by the Presbyterian Board of Christian Education in 1935),

an ardent Sunday School worker.

–page 52

He also wrote hymns, forty-one of which he published in Sacred Songs for Children of All Ages (1900).  Walmsley wrote most of his hymns for the Manchester Sunday School Whit-Week Festivals.  Among his hymns was “The Sun Declines, O’er Land and Sea” (1893), which I have added to my GATHERED PRAYERS blog ahead of this entry.

Walmsley’s work as a jeweler was certainly important to many people.  I will never know how much he affected people for the better via that profession.  His hymns, however, outlive him on this plane of reality.  They constitute a fine legacy.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 18, 2013 COMMON ERA

PROPER 15–THE THIRTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST, YEAR C

THE FEAST OF ERDMANN NEUMEISTER, GERMAN LUTHERAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT HELENA, MOTHER OF EMPEROR CONSTANTINE I

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM PORCHER DUBOSE, EPISCOPAL THEOLOGIAN

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God of grace and glory,

you have given a rich variety of interests and talents to us; thank you.

Thank you for those who have served you and helped their fellow human beings

in their daily lives habitually via their vocations yet most memorably their avocations,

and for those who do so.

May we, reminded of and encouraged in our responsibilities to you and each other by their examples,

continue faithfully in the endeavors you assign us.

In the name of Jesus, who came to serve, not to be served.  Amen.

Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 38:24-34a

Psalm 33

Romans 14:7-8

Matthew 5:13-16

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 14, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM CROFT, ANGLICAN ORGANIST AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF JONATHAN MYRICK DANIELS, EPISCOPAL SEMINARIAN AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF SAINT MAXIMILLIAN KOLBE, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR

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Revised on December 23, 2016

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Feast of Bernhardt Severin Ingemann (February 22)   1 comment

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Above:  University of Copenhagen

Photograph Undated

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-ggbain-30701

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BERNHARDT SEVERIN INGEMANN (MAY 28, 1789-FEBRUARY 24, 1862)

Danish Lutheran Author and Hymn Writer

Bernhardt Severin Ingemann, born on Falster Island, in the Baltic Sea, was the son of the local Lutheran (Church of Denmark) minister.  Our saint survived some traumatic early experiences.  He, a student at the University of Copenhagen starting in 1806, defended the city against the British in 1807.  His apartment (and his early poetic works) burned in the foreign attack.  Two years later an epidemic claimed his mother, three brothers, and a niece.  These experiences influenced much of his work and contributed to the fact that

Ingemann was a sensitive, soft-spoken man with few friends.

–Marilyn Kay Stalken, Hymnal Companion to the Lutheran Book of Worship (Philadelphia, PA:  Fortress Press, 1981, page 406)

Ingemann, engaged to Lucie Madie, his future wife, in 1812, got on with life.  He completed his education at the University of Copenhagen in 1813 and became a tutor at Walkendorf’s Collegium.  His published works earned him sufficient public respect that, in 1817-1819, the Danish government sponsored him to travel and study in Germany, France, Italy, and Switzerland.  In 1822 he became Professor of Literature at the Academy of Soro, Zeeland.

Our saint’s collected works filled thirty-four volumes.  He was the second most popular author of Danish children’s stories behind his good friend, Hans Christian Andersen.  Ingemann, a prolific author of poems, novels, and historical epics which contributed greatly to Danish nationalism, prepared the 1855 psalter for the Church of Denmark.

Among the hymns Ingemann composed was the following, translated by Sabine Baring-Gould in 1867 and 1875:

Through the night of doubt and sorrow

Onward goes the pilgrim’s hand,

Singing songs of expectation,

Marching to the promised land;

Clear before as through the darkness

Gleams and burns the guiding light;

Brother clasps the hand of brother,

Stepping fearless through the night.

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One the light of God’s own presence

O’er His ransomed people shed,

Chasing for the gloom and terror,

Brightening all the path we tread;

One the object of our journey,

One the faith which never tires,

One the earnest looking forward,

One the hope our God inspires.

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One the strain that lips of thousands

Lift as from the heart of one,

One the conflict, one the peril,

One the march in God begun;

One the gladness of rejoicing

On the far eternal shore,

Where the One Almighty Father

Reigns in love forevermore.

+++++

Onward, therefore, pilgrim brothers,

Onward, with the cross our aid;

Bear its shame, and fight its battle,

Till we rest beneath its shade;

Soon shall come the great awaking,

Soon the rending of the tomb ,

Then the scattering of all shadows

And the end of toil and gloom.

The analysis of the analysis of the hymn, according to William Chalmers Covert and Calvin Weiss Laufer, Handbook to The Hymnal (Philadelphia, PA:  Presbyterian Board of Christian Education, 1935), follows:

The strength of the lines even in translation bears witness to the author’s virile and inclusive faith.

–page 366

Ingemann understood well that it is easy to have deep faith during good times but that, when the chips are down, the true test of faith occurs.  He had such faith.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 10, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JOHANN SCHEFFLER, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST, POET, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF GEORG NEUMARK, GERMAN LUTHERAN POET AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF JOHN HINES, PRESIDING BISHOP OF THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH

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Almighty God, beautiful in majesty, majestic in holiness:

You have shown us the splendor of creation in the work of your servant Bernhardt Severin Ingemann.

Teach us to drive from the world all chaos and disorder, that our eyes may behold your glory,

and that at last everyone may know the inexhaustible richness of your new creation in Jesus Christ our Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Isaiah 28:5-6 or Hosea 14:5-8 or 2 Chronicles 20:20-21

Psalm 96

Philippians 4:8-9 or Ephesians 5:18b-20

Matthew 13:44-52

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

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Revised on December 9, 2016

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