Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Da Pacem, Domine

Father Anthony Chadwick posted the following on his blog yesterday, in light of Pope Franncis' announcement that Saturday will be a Day of Prayer and Fasting for peace in Syria. May all Christians everythere take this to heart. We remember before the Lord our brothers and sisters in Syria, and all men, women and children who will suffer if the present conflict becomes full scale war. 

Listen to the the Song of Thanksgiving set to music in 1944 by Vaughan Williams, carefully looking at the images. The text from the Sacred Scriptures and our favourite English poets is helpful, so is included.

The BBC asked RVW to write a “Thanksgiving Anthem” to mark the end of the war and this is the result. Originally called “Thanksgiving for Victory”, it was later re-named and has been recorded several times. A lesser composer might have regarded such a commission as a mere ‘job-of-work’ - an occasional piece that would be performed once or twice and then forgotten; but Vaughan Williams, of course, gave it his all and came up with a work of poignant sincerity; patriotic but never jingoistic or triumphalist. He selected the text himself from the bible, Shakespeare and Rudyard Kipling.

This performance is to be found on a Hyperion disc. Matthew Best conducts the Corydon Singers and the City of London Sinfonia, with Sir John Gielgud (speaker) and Lynn Dawson (Soprano). Children from the Choir of the London Oratory sang Kipling’s ‘Land of Our Birth’.

Blessed art thou, O Lord God of our fathers;
and to be praised and exalted above all for ever.
And blessed is thy glorious and holy Name;
and to be praised and glorified above all for ever.
Blessed art thou in the temple of thine holy glory;
and to be praised and exalted above all for ever.
Blessed art thou on the glorious throne of thy kingdom,
and to be praised and glorified above all forever.
Song of the Three Holy Children, vv. 29, 30, 31 & 33

O God, thy arm was here,
And not to us, but to thy arm alone
Ascribe we all. Take it, God, for it is none but thine.
Henry V, Act IV, Sc. 8

Thine, O Lord, is the greatness,
and the power and the glory.
Thine is the victory, and the majesty;
for all that is in the heaven and earth is thine.
Thine is the kingdom, O Lord,
and thou art exalted as head above all.
I Chronicles XXIX, v. 2

O give thanks unto the Lord because he is gracious:
For his mercy endureth for ever.
Song of the Three Holy Children, v. 67

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord hath anointed me to proclaim liberty to the captives and the opening of the prison to them that are bound, to comfort all the mourn; to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.
Isaiah, LXI, vv. 1, 2, 3

Go through, go through the gates,
prepare ye the way of the people;
cast up, cast up the highway;
gather out the stones.
Lift up a standard for the people.
Behold, the lord hath proclaimed
unto the ends of the world,-say ye,
“Behold thy salvation cometh,
Behold, his reward is with him and his work before him.”
And they shall call them the holy people,
the redeemed of the lord:
and thou shalt be called “Sought out,”
a city not forsaken.
Isaiah, LXII, vv. 10, 11, 12

And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations. And they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations
of many generations.
Isaiah, LXI, v. 4

Violence shall be no more heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders; but thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise.

But thou shalt call thy walls Salvation,
and thy gates Praise.
Isaiah, LX, v. 18

Land of our birth, we pledge to thee
Our love and toil in the years to be;
When we are grown and take our place
As men and women with our race.
Father in Heaven who lovest all,
O help thy children when they call.
That they may build from age to age
An undefiled heritage.

Teach us the strength that cannot seek,
By deed, or thought, to hurt the weak;
That, under thee, we may possess
Man’s strength to comfort man’s distress.
Teach us delight in simple things,
The mirth that has no bitter springs;
Forgiveness free of evil done,
And love to all men ‘neath the sun.

Land of our birth, our faith, our pride,
For whose dear sake our fathers died;
O Motherland, we pledge to thee,
Head, heart and hand through the years to be.
Rudyard Kipling

The Lord shall be thine everlasting light,
And the days of thy mourning shall be ended.
Isaiah LX, v. 20


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