Sunday, January 04, 2015

Prophet, Priest, and King Supreme

Songs of Thankfulness and Praise
by Christopher Wordsworth

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 addressed
God in man made manifest.

Manifest at 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 addressed
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 addressed,
God in man made manifest.

Sun and moon shall darkened be,
Stars shall fall, the heavens shall flee;
Christ will then like lightning shine,
All will see His glorious sign;
All will then the trumpet hear,
All will see the Judge appear;
Thou by all wilt be confessed,
God in man made manifest.

Grant us grace to see Thee, Lord,
Mirrored 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.

A solid hymn for Epiphany, which is Tuesday, but liturgically celebrated today in many jurisdictions. Christopher Wordsworth, an Anglican who was Bishop of Lincoln, was the nephew of William Wordsworth. He was most famous in his day for his book on the geography and archeology of Greece, which became a sort of standard guide for Englishmen traveling to Greece, and his work in putting together a critical edition of the New Testament in the original Greek. He wrote a book of hymns for every Sunday and Holy Day of the year, The Holy Year; this is actually the hymn for the Sixth Sunday after Epiphany, where it served as a recapitulation of the ideas found in the readings of the preceding weeks. It is often found in hymnals because it was one of the hymns added to the supplementary Appendix of one of the most influential hymnbooks of the nineteenth century, a book that served as the model for an immense number of hymnals, Hymns Ancient and Modern.

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