Suscepimus. Psalm 48
We have waited, O God, for thy loving-kindness in the midst of thy temple: according to thy Name, O God, so is thy praise unto the world’s end: thy right hand is full of righteousness. Great is the Lord, and highly to be praised: in the city of our God, even upon his holy hill. 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. We have waited . . .
O God, whose never-failing providence ordereth all things both in heaven and earth: we humbly beseech thee to put away from us all hurtful things, and to give us those things which are profitable for us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
[Psalm 31] Be thou my strong rock and house of defense, that thou mayest save me. In thee, O Lord, have I put my trust: let me never be put to confusion.
Alleluia, alleluia. [Psalm 48] Great is the Lord, and highly to be praised: in the city of our God, even upon his holy hill. Alleluia.
St. Matthew 7:15-21
At that time; Jesus said to his disciples: Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
[Psalm 18] Thou shalt save the people that are in adversity, O Lord, and shalt bring down the high looks of the proud: for who is God, but the Lord?
[Psalm 34] O taste and see how gracious the Lord is: blessed is he that putteth his trust in him.
The Franco-Flemish composer Heinrich Isaac (c.1450-1517) was born at a time and place that boasted excellent music education. Isaac served as a court musician in Germany, Italy, Austria, and other parts of central Europe. The last two decades of his life were spent in service of Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I. Isaac’s relationship with the Hapsburg court resulted in his having a great influence on the development of music in Germany. The rich polyphonic style pioneered by Isaac and his Franco-Flemish contemporaries (including Josquin Des Prez) laid the foundations for the magnificent German music of the Baroque period and beyond.
Isaac wrote dozens of settings of the Ordinary of the Mass (Kyrie, Gloria Sanctus, etc.), but is best-known for his settings of the Propers of the Mass (Introit, Offertory, etc.). His Choralis Constantinus is a collection of over 375 Gregorian chant-based motets setting texts for the Propers, such as that in Gustate et videte, which sets the Psalm verse used in today’s Offertory: “O taste, and see, how gracious the Lord is: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.” The harmonies in this setting may sound exotic to modern ears, as they employ musical scales that go beyond simple “major “and “minor.”
Our choir has sing this work a few times in the past; other than the plainchant we sing regularly, it is one of the oldest works in our repertoire. Gustate et videte, is sung here by the Hungarian ensemble Lassus énekegyüttes.
Organist for many years at St Paul’s Cathedral in London, Sir John Goss (1800-1880) was one of a large body of Victorian composers who left a hefty collection of church music. In his book O Sing unto the Lord: A History of English Church Music, Andrew Gant describes Goss as “a kindly fellow, intensely musical but no disciplinarian, firmly brought up in the bad old days of badly run choirs and neglected choristers.”
Goss composed many settings for Anglican chant as well as hymns and anthems. In our Hymnal, we sing his tune LAUDA ANIMA with the words to “Praise, my soul, the King of heaven.” Many other hymnals feature his tune HUMILITY with the words to the Christmas hymn “See amid the winter’s snow.”
Goss also composed a number of anthems, of which O taste and see is one of the best known. The score for this work may be obtained here. It is sung here by the Clare College Chapel Choir conducted by Timothy Brown.
This brief setting of today’s Communion proper was composed to be be sung at Holy Communion during the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in Westminster Abbey, on June 2, 1953. It is sung here by The Cambridge Singers, conducted by John Rutter.
One of three cantatas composed by Bach for use on the Eighth Sunday after Trinity, Es ist dir gesagt, Mensch, was gut ist (“You have been told, mankind, what is good” BWV 45) is a musical homily inspired by the Gospel reading for the day. (The entire text is here.)
The work opens with a chorus which takes its text from the prophet Micah:
You have been told, mankind,
what is good and what the Lord requires of you, namely:
to keep God’s word and to live in love and be humble before your God.
This chorus is followed by a tenor recitative and aria in which the dangers of disobedience are stressed. Especially notable is the warning in the final sentence of the aria:
Reward follows obedience; torment and shame threaten you when you transgress!
The German words translated here “torment and shame” are “Qual und Hohn,” which are repeated forcefully by the soloist, so listeners won’t fail to hear the sober warning.
An aria for bass follows, singing some of the words of Jesus from the Gospel:
Many will say to me on that day: Lord, have we not prophesied in your name, have we not driven out devils in your name, have we not done many deeds in your name? Then I shall declare to them: I have never known you, all of you go away from me, you evil doers!
An alto aria and recitative continue with this theme of exhortation and warning about the danger of hypocrisy and disobedience, but the soloist concludes with some words of comfort:
The Lord’s will must happen, but his assistance is also certain, so that he may see his work in me accomplished well.
The final chorale (to a melody that Bach used in cantatas half a dozen times) uses a text from Johann Heermann (1585-1647), a noted Lutheran poet and hymn writer. Heermann’s words form a closing prayer for the cantata:
Grant that I may do with diligence
what it is proper for me to do,
wherever your command leads me in my position!
Grant that I may soon do it
at the time when I should do it;
and when I do it, then grant
that it may turn out well!
Es ist dir gesagt, Mensch, was gut ist is sung here by the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Choir, conducted by Ton Koopman. The soloists are Bogna Bartosz, alto; Christoph Prégardien, tenor; and Klaus Mertens, bass.
The following poem is from John Keble’s The Christian Year (1827).
It is the man of God, who was
disobedient unto the word of the Lord.
1 King xiii. 26.
Prophet of God, arise and take
With thee the words of wrath divine,
The scourge of Heaven, to shake
O’er yon apostate shrine.
Where Angels down the lucid stair
Came hovering to our sainted sires
Now, in the twilight, glare
The heathen’s wizard fires.
Go, with thy voice the altar rend,
Scatter the ashes, be the arm,
That idols would befriend,
Shrunk at thy withering charm.
Then turn thee, for thy time is short,
But trace not o’er the former way,
Lest idol pleasures court
Thy heedless soul astray.
Thou know’st how hard to hurry by,
Where on the lonely woodland road
Beneath the moonlight sky
The festal warblings flowed;
Where maidens to the Queen of Heaven
Wove the gay dance round oak or palm,
Or breathed their vows at even
In hymns as soft as balm.
Or thee, perchance, a darker spell
Enthralls: the smooth stones of the flood,
By mountain grot or fell,
Pollute with infant’s blood;
The giant altar on the rock,
The cavern whence the timbrel’s call
Affrights the wandering flock:—
Thou long’st to search them all.
Trust not the dangerous path again—
O forward step and lingering will!
O loved and warned in vain!
And wilt thou perish still?
Thy message given, thine home in sight,
To the forbidden feast return?
Yield to the false delight
Thy better soul could spurn?
Alas, my brother! round thy tomb
In sorrow kneeling, and in fear,
We read the Pastor’s doom
Who speaks and will not hear.
The grey-haired saint may fail at last,
The surest guide a wanderer prove;
Death only binds us fast
To the bright shore of love.
The following hymns are from Bp. Christopher Wordsworth’s The Holy Year; or Hymns for Sundays and Holy Days throughout the Year (1862).
EIGHTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY
Disobedience and its punishment, as seen in the history of the Prophet from Judah, in the First Lesson of this Morning, contrasted with Obedience and its rewards, as seen in the history of the faithful Prophet Elijah, and also of the faithful Widow of Zarephath, or Sarepta, in the First Lesson for the Evening; and as enforced by our Lord’s words in the Gospel of the Week, “Beware of false Prophets,” and “Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the Kingdom of hea’ven, but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven.”
Not gifts of Prophecy can save,
Nor courage be our stay;
Lord, make us doers of Thy Word,
O teach us to obey.
If God command thee to abstain
From royal Bethel’s fare,
Taste not its food, though Angel hands
Should spread a table there.
The obedient Seer from Jordan’s stream
To trickling Cherith fled;
Him there the Brook, in time of drought,
And hungry Ravens fed.
Go to Zidonian Zarephath,
To Jezebel’s domain;
Though Zidon’s Queen may seek thy life,
A Widow shall sustain.
O Widow, fear not, but God’s Seer
With thy last morsel feed;
Who in His Prophets gives to God,
Shall never suffer need.
Thy meal exhaustless is; to thee
Rivers of oil shall flow ;
Obedience is thine Olive-yard,
Faith harvests can bestow.
By Faith, and by Obedience
God’s best rewards are won ;
Thou dost a Prophet feed, and he
Restores to thee a son.
Thy pious service is approved
And blest by love divine ;
O Zarephath, thy Widow’s name
Shall in Christ’s Gospel shine.
To Father, Son, and Holy Ghost
For Faith and Love we pray ;
Thee ever may our voices praise
And may our hearts obey.
ANOTHER HYMN FOR THE EIGHTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY
History of Elijah the Prophet, as described in the First Lesson of the Afternoon of the Eighth Sunday, and in the two First Lessons of the Ninth Sunday after Trinity.
“The Lord is God! the Lord is God!”
Lord, make us true to Thee,
Make us in courage and in zeal
Like to Elijah be !
If Thou dost bid us leave our home,
And go to Cherith’s rill,
Or Zarephath, O speed us forth
Obedient to Thy will.
Help us in dark and evil days
To see Thee ever nigh.
And ever for the Truth to fight
Of God the Lord most High.
Though Baal’s Priests four hundred be,
And we be left alone,
Yet on our Carmels let us stand,
And Thee, Thee only, own.
“The Lord is God! the Lord is God!’
The astonish’d People cry,
When water was lick’d up by fire
Down shooting from the sky.
And how may hearts by us be mov’d?
Where is our strength, O where?
Thou say’st, that ‘righteous men prevail
By earnest, fervent prayer.”
Elijah’s prayer reviv’d the Child,
And brought that fire from high,
Elijah’s prayer shut up the heaven,
His Prayer unseal’d the sky.
Not in fierce fires, or furious winds,
Which rocks and mountains tear,
But in the still small voice art Thou
Of inly-breathing Prayer.
O therefore, give us grace to pray;
And when beneath the shade
Of earth’s dark junipers we faint,
Send Angels to our aid.
Strengthen’d by food of grace divine
May we to Horeb come,
Pilgrims through this world’s wilderness
Travelling to Heav’n, our home.
So, when our earthly race is run.
May we to glory rise.
Caught up, to meet our coming Lord,
In chariots of the skies.
Transfigur’d on Thy holy hill
May we in glory shine,
And ever see Thy blessed face,
And be for ever Thine!
To Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,
One God, in Persons Three,
Dominion, Adoration, Praise,
And Glory, ever be!