Fifth Sunday after Easter (“Rogation Sunday”)

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About this Sunday
A hymn for Rogation days
Propers
Psalms from the Daily Office
Motets and cantatas

About this Sunday

“Rogation” comes from the Latin rogare, which means to ask. AT the beginning of today’s Gospel, Jesus (in the Upper Room, the night before his death) says to the disciples: “Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.”

Our Prayerbook designates Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of this week as Rogation Days. The asking tied to these days for many centuries emphasized prayers for God’s favor to be extended to things agricultural; priests and bishops often offered special blessings to fields.

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“O Jesus, crowned with all renown”

Edward White Benson (1829-1896) was elevated to the Archbishop of Canterbury in 1883. Long before that honor, he was headmaster of Wellington College, a boarding school in Berkshire. In 1860, he wrote a six-stanza hymn which began “O Throned, O Crowned with all renown” for a hymnbook used at the school. That hymn was abridged to three stanzas for The Hymnal 1940 (Hymn #101), and the opening line changed to “O Jesus, crowned with all renown.” The tune selected for use in our Hymnal is KINGSFOLD, which is based on an English folk song.

Our choir recorded this hymn while under quarantine in May 2020 (each singer recording his or her part at home).

The choir of All Saints Anglican Church

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Propers

     Introit

Vocem jucunditatis. Isaiah 48:20
With a voice of singing declare ye this, and let it be heard, alleluia: utter it even unto the ends of the earth; the Lord hath delivered his people, alleluia, alleluia. [Psalm 66] O be joyful in God, all ye lands, sing praises unto the honour of his Name; make his praise to be glorious. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be: world without end. Amen. With a voice of singing . . .

Men of the choir of All Saints Anglican Church

     Epistle

St. James 1:22-27
Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: for he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

     Gospel

St. John 16:23-33
At that time, Jesus said unto his disciples: Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full. These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall show you plainly of the Father. At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you: for the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God. I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father. His disciples said unto him, Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb. Now are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou camest forth from God. Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe? Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

     Offertory

[Psalm 66] O praise our God, ye people, and make the voice of his praise to be heard: who holdeth our soul in life, and suffereth not our feet to slip. Praised be God, who hath not cast out my prayer, nor turned his mercy from me, alleluia.

Men of the choir of All Saints Anglican Church

     Communion

[Psalm 96] O sing unto the Lord, alleluia: sing unto the Lord, and praise his Name, be telling of his salvation from day to day. alleluia, alleluia.

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Psalms from the Daily Office for this week

Below are plainsong renditions of the Psalms as published in the Saint Dunstan’s Plainsong Psalter.

ROGATION SUNDAY
MORNING PRAYERPsalm 65 (Tone VII 5)
Te decet hymnus, Deus, in Sion
EVENING PRAYERPsalm 147 (Tone VIII 1)
Laudate Dominum, quoniam bonus
ROGATION MONDAY
MORNING PRAYERPsalm 104 (Tone III A 1; IV 6)
Benedic, anima mea, Domino
EVENING PRAYERPsalm 34 (Tone VII 2)
Benedicam Dominum
ROGATION TUESDAY
MORNING PRAYERPsalm 80 (Tone IV 4)
Qui regis Israel, intende
EVENING PRAYERPsalm 67 (Tone VIII 3)
Deus misereatur nostri
ROGATION WEDNESDAY
MORNING PRAYERPsalm 144 (Tone I B 2)
Benedictus Dominus Deus meus
Ascension EveEVENING PRAYERPsalm 93 (Tone V 3)
Dominus regnavit, decorem indutus est
ASCENSION DAY
MORNING PRAYERPsalm 96 (Tone VIII 1)
Cantate Domino canticum novum
EVENING PRAYERPsalm 24 (Tone VII 5)
Domini est terra
FRIDAY
MORNING PRAYERPsalm 15 (Tone III A 5)
Domine, quis habitabit?
EVENING PRAYERPsalm 20 (Tone III A 1)
Exaudiat te Dominus
SATURDAY
MORNING PRAYERPsalm 45 (Tone VIII 1)
Eructavit cor meum
EVENING PRAYERPsalm 8 (Tone V 2)
Domine Dominus noster quam admirabile

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Motets and cantatas

Offertory motet by Palestrina
Communion motet by Monteverdi
Bach cantata BWV 86, “Truly, truly, I say to you”
Bach cantata BWV 87, “Until now you have asked for nothing in my name”

Palestrina, Benedicite gentes

Palestrina set Below is the text to today’s Offertory in Latin and English (the English translation of the text that is sung by our choir is above.

Benedicite gentes Dominum Deum
O nations, bless the Lord our God,
nostrum et obaudite vocem laudis ejus.
let the voice of His praises resound;
qui posuit animam meam ad vitam
He has restored my soul to life
et non dedit commoveri pedes meos.
and He has not suffered my feet to stumble.
Benedictus Dominus qui non amovit deprecationem meam
Blessed be the Lord who has neither rejected my prayer
et misericordiam suam a me. Alleluia.
nor turned His mercy away from me. Alleluia.

This text has been set to music by many composers, including Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (1525-1594). It is sung by the Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge, conducted by Richard Marlow.

Monteverdi, Cantate Domino

The Communion proper for Rogation Sunday is from Psalm 96:

Cantate Domino canticum novum,
Sing to the Lord a new song,
Cantate et benedicite nomini ejus:
Sing and give praise to his name:
Quia mirabilia fecit.
for he has done marvellous deeds.
Cantate et exultate et psallite
Sing and exult and praise
in cythara et voce psalmi:
in songs with the harp and the voice:
Quia mirabilia fecit.
for he has done marvellous deeds.
 

In 1620, an energetic motet based on this text by Claudio Monteverdi was published. It is sung below by the Monteverdi Choir, conducted by John Eliot Gardiner.

J. S. Bach, “Truly, truly, I say unto you”

Johann Sebastian Bach composed two cantatas to be sung on this Sunday. The first of these, Wahrlich, wahrlich, ich sage euch (“Truly, truly, I say to you,” BWV 86), takes its name and its theme from the first verse of today’s Gospel. The aria by the bass soloist that opens the cantata is taken straight from that verse.

Wahrlich, wahrlich, ich sage euch,
Truly, truly, I say to you,
so ihr den Vater etwas bitten werdet in meinem Namen,
whatever you ask the Father in my name
so wird er’s euch geben.
will be given to you.

The alto aria that follows this bass solo uses a surprising image to convey the trust of the Father’s provision for all that we need:

Ich will doch wohl Rosen brechen,
I shall indeed therefore pluck roses
Wenn mich gleich die itzt Dornen stechen.
even if thorns prick me at the same time.
Denn ich bin der Zuversicht,
For I have confidence
Dass mein Bitten und mein Flehen
that my prayers and entreaty
Gott gewiss zu Herzen gehen,
go straight to God’s heart
weil es mir sein Wort verspricht.
since this is promised by his Word.

In the video below, alto Robin Blaze and violinist Shunske Sato describe how Bach converted this imagery into music.

Blaze and Sato are featured in the performance below of the entire cantata. They are joined by tenor Daniel Johannsen, bass Stephan MacLeod, bass, soprano Marjon Strijk, and the Netherlands Bach Society under the direction of violinist Shunske Sato. The entire text is available here.

J. S. Bach, “Until now you have asked nothing in my name”

Bach’s second cantata composed for the Fifth Sunday after Easter was also based on the Gospel reading for today. In the opening line of Bisher habt ihr nichts gebeten in meinen Namen (BWV 87, “Until now you have asked nothing in my name”), the asking of Rogation Sunday is explicitly referenced. As he did with the earlier cantata based on the text from St. John 16, Bach opens this cantata with a bass soloist singing the words of Jesus:

Bisher habt ihr nichts gebeten in meinem Namen.
Until now you have asked nothing in my name.

After a brief alto recitative comes an alto aria, the longest movement in the work. The text is filled with remorse; the asking here is for forgiveness. Bach achieves a distinctively somber sound by having the soloist accompanied by two oboi da caccia (alto oboes).

Vergib, o Vater, unsre Schuld
Forgive, O Father, our guilt
Und habe noch mit uns Geduld,
and still have patience with us,
Wenn wird in Andacht beten
when we devoutly pray
Und sagen: Herr, auf dein Geheiß,
and say: Lord, at your command —
Ach, rede nicht mehr sprichwortsweis,
Ah, speak no more proverbs —
Hilf uns vielmehr vertreten.
Instead help us to present ourselves before you.

The closing chorale in this cantata uses one of Bach’s favorite chorale melodies, Jesu, meine freude, which we sing as the hymn “Jesus, all my gladness” (#453).

Muss ich sein betrübet?
Must I be troubled?
So mich Jesus liebet,
If Jesus loves me
Ist mir aller Schmerz
then for me all sorrow
Über Honig süße,
is sweeter than honey,
Tausend Zuckerküsse
a thousand sweet kisses
Drücket er ans Herz.
he gives to my heart.
Wenn die Pein sich stellet ein,
When pain makes an appearance
Seine Liebe macht zur Freuden
his love changes to joy
Auch das bittre Leiden.
even bitter suffering.

Bisher habt ihr nichts gebeten in meinen Namen (BWV 87) is performed here by the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Choir conducted by Ton Koopman. The soloists are Bogna Bartosz, alto; Jörg Dürmüller, tenor; and Klaus Mertens, bass. The entire text is available here.

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