Sunday, May 1, 2016

Hymn: "Son of Man and Son of God"

My Prayer Times with The Divine Hours (This photo was taken before the BCP 2011 was completed, so please forgive the 1928 BCP shown here.... ;)

Three times each day I pick up one of the three Divine Hours prayer books edited by Phyllis Tickle. Together, all three take us through the entire year with The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime, The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime, and The Divine Hours: Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime.

This series of prayer books contains The Morning Office, The Midday Office, and The Vespers Office for each day. Then each month has a separate section for a week of Compline Prayers that can be prayed for each day of the week throughout the month. Because I pray the Compline from The Book of Common Prayer 2011, the vast majority of the time, I pray The Divine Hours three times each day: before breakfast, before lunch, and before bed.
Image from Amazon
While the Morning and Midday offices contain both a Reading from the Scriptures plus a reading from the Psalms, The Vespers Office usually contains a hymn or poem instead of Readings from the Old or New Testaments. Often these hymns are ancient to the church but very new and fresh to me.

The Vespers Office for last Tuesday had a wonderful old hymn that reads like a poem (as many song lyrics do--we study song lyrics as poems in The Playing with Poetry Workshop at Brave Writer), and I wanted to share it here with all of you. (When I perused a short Wikipedia bio of William Mercer, he is indeed referred to as a poet in the post, so either he wrote this hymn as a protest (as he espoused the Protestant cause during and after the Reformation) or someone else set this poem to music. Either way, the words seemed to sear themselves into my soul....

The Hymn: "Son of Man and Son of God" by William Mercer (d. 1675) 

How bright appears the Morning Star,
With mercy beaming from afar;
The host of heaven rejoices;
          O righteous Branch, O Jesse's Rod!
          You Son of Man and Son of God!
We, too, will lift our voices:
Jesus! Jesus! Holy, holy, yet most lowly,
Please draw near us, Emmanuel, come and hear us.

Though circled by the hosts on high,
He deigned to cast a pitying eye
Upon his helpless creature;
          The whole creation's Head and Lord,
          By highest seraphim adore,
Assumed our very nature;
Jesus, grant us, through your merit, to inherit     
Your salvation hear, O hear, our supplication.

Rejoice, you heavens; O earth, reply;
With praise, you sinners, fill the sky,
For this his Incarnation.
          Incarnate God, put forth your power,
          Ride on, ride on, great Conqueror, 
Till all shall know your salvation.
Let us cry, "Bless the Lord," and again,"Bless the Lord"
Praise be given evermore, by earth and heaven. 

I especially appreciated the internal rhyme, such as "Holy, holy, yet most lowly" and "through your merit, to inherit." I wish that I knew the melody to such a lovely and carefully-crafted poem. 

As long as I'm posting about The Divine Hours, I think I'll post this week's Collect from the BCP 2011:


O LORD, from you all good things come; Grant to us, by your holy inspiration, to think of good things and then accomplish them by your merciful guidance; Through our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and rules with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen. (References: James 1.17; John 15.5; 2 Corinthians 3.5; Philippians 1.6)

So what are some of your favorite hymns? Leave your answers in the responses. Thanks!!

Wishing you a blessed week in the love and peace of our Lord, Jesus Christ,

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