Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity

Psalms from the Daily Office
A cantata for today
John Keble, “Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity”
Christopher Wordsworth, Hymn for the Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity



Inclina, Domine. [Psalm 86]
Bow down, O Lord, thine ear to me, and hear me: O my God, save thy servant that trusteth in thee: have mercy upon me, O Lord, for I have called daily upon thee. Comfort the soul of thy servant: for unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul. 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. Bow down, O Lord . . .


Keep, we beseech thee, O Lord, thy Church with thy perpetual mercy; and, because the frailty of man without thee cannot but fall, keep us ever by thy help from all things hurtful, and lead us to all things profitable to our salvation; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Galatians 6:11–18
Ye see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand. As many as desire to make a fair show in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh. But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God. From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus. Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.


[Psalm 92] It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord: and to sing praises unto thy Name, O Most Highest. To tell of thy lovingkindness early in the morning, and of thy truth in the night-season.


Alleluia, alleluia. [Psalm 95] For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods. Alleluia.


St. Matthew 6:24–34
No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.


Expectans expectavi
[Psalm 40:1, 3] I waited patiently for the Lord, and he inclined unto me: he heard my calling, and he hath put a new song in my mouth, even a thanksgiving unto our God.


[St. John 6:51] The bread that I will give is my Flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

Psalms from the Daily Office

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

MORNING PRAYERPsalm 49 (Tone II 1)
Audite hæc, omnes gentes
MORNING PRAYER Psalm 103 (Tone V 3)
Benedic, anime mea, Domino
MORNING PRAYERPsalm 1 (Tone I B 1)
Beatus vir qui non abiit
MORNING PRAYER Psalm 15 (Tone III A 5)
Domine, quis habitabit?
Judica me, Domine
EVENING PRAYER Psalm 128 (Tone III A 5)
Beati omnes qui timent Dominum
EVENING PRAYER Psalm 34 (Tone VII 2)
Benedicam Dominum
EVENING PRAYER Psalm 84 (Tone III A 1)
Quam dilecta tabernacula tua Domine
MORNING PRAYERPsalm 75 (Tone I A 3)
Confitebimur tibi, Deus, confitebimur
EVENING PRAYER Psalm 71 (Tone IV 9)
In te, Domine, speravi
Notus in Judæa Deus
Deus, judicium tuum regi da
MORNING PRAYER Psalm 77 (Tone II 1)
Voce mea ad Dominum
EVENING PRAYER Psalm 73:1–13 (Tone VII 7)
Quam bonus Israel Deus!
EVENING PRAYER Psalm 73:14–28 (Tone I B 8)
Et fui flagellatus tota die
MORNING PRAYER Psalm 81 (Tone III A 6)
Exsultate Deo adjutori nostro
EVENING PRAYER Psalm 80 (Tone IV 4)
Qui regis Israel, intende
MORNING PRAYER Psalm 85 (Tone IV 5)
Benedixisti, Domine, terram tuam
EVENING PRAYER Psalm 89:1–15 (Tone I B 1)
Misericordias Domini in æternum cantabo
EVENING PRAYERPsalm 89:16–30 (Tone V 3)
Si autem dereliquerint filii eius
Bonum est confiteri Domino
EVENING PRAYER Psalm 46 (Tone V 3)
Deus noster refugium et virtus
Cantate Domino canticum novum

A cantata for today: confident trust in the face of struggle and suffering

In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells his disciples not to fret about the conditions of their lives. God clothes the grass of the field; he will surely clothe us. Our heavenly Father knows what we need.

That absence of anxiety runs through the six stanzas of a 17th-century hymn beloved by J. S. Bach and other German composers. Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan (“What God does, that is done well”) was written in 1675 by Samuel Rodigast (1649–1708), the son of a Lutheran pastor who taught philosophy at the University of Jena.

Here is an English translation of the original German:

What God does, that is done well!
His will remains just,
however he deals with my affairs.
I want calmly to place my whole trust in him.
He is my God, who in my troubles
knows well how to support me;
therefore I let him alone rule over me.

What God does, that is done well!
He will not deceive me;
he leads me along the right way,
so I live content
with his favour and have patience.
He will turn aside my misfortune,
for he has the power to do so.

What God does, that is done well!
He will take good care of me.
He, as my physician and miracle-worker,
will not give me poison
instead of medicine.
Therefore I want to rely on him
and trust his grace.

What God does, that is done well!
He is my light, my life
who can have no ill will towards me.
I want to entrust myself to him
in joy and sorrow. The time will come
when it will be clearly apparent
how faithful his intention is.

What God does, that is done well!
If I have to taste the chalice
that I foolishly imagine is bitter,
I shall not let myself be frightened,
since in the end I shall feel delight
and sweet consolation in my heart.
Then all sorrows will vanish.

What God does, that is done well!
I shall keep to this thought.
It may be that on the rough road
I shall be driven by distress, death, and misery,
yet God will just like a father
hold me in his arms.
Therefore I let him alone rule over me.

Many scholars believe that Rodigast wrote this text for a sick friend. The friend, Severus Gastorius (1646-1682), was a church musician, who composed a melody to which Rodigast’s hymn could be sung. The tune — known as WAS GOTT TUT — has accompanied the text ever since.

Bach used this tune and portions of this text in seven of his cantatas, three of which are known by the name Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan. One of those is BWV 99, composed to be sung on the Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity. In this cantata, Bach uses two of the hymn’s stanzas, one in the opening chorus and one in the closing chorale. In both movements, Gastorius’s melody is used.

Before listening to the entire cantata (below), you may want to take a minute and listen to the closing chorale to get to know the tune.

Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Chorus, Ton Koopman, conductor

That melody also permeates the opening chorus of Cantata #99, permeates, but does not dominate. Conductor Jos van Veldhoven of the Netherlands Bach Society explains that this opening movement entices listeners with a sense of confident joy suggested by Rodigast’s hymn.

As van Veldhoven points out, the flute and oboe have prominent roles in this cantata, and not just in the opening movement. Here is flute player Marten Root describing why, in playing his part in BWV 99, he sometimes sounds like “a shepherd who has flipped his lid.”

Here is the entire cantata, performed by the Netherlands Bach Society. The soloists are Gerlinde Sämann, soprano; Damien Guillon, alto; Charles Daniels, tenor; and Peter Kooij, bass. The conductor is Jos van Veldhoven. The German text with an interlinear translation is available here.

The hymn on which this cantata is based is not in our Hymnal, but we have sung it in the past by means of an insert placed in the bulletins. We use the translation of four of the stanzas by Catherine Winkworth. You may download a copy of “Whate’er My God Ordains Is Right” by clicking here.

John Keble, “Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity”

The following poem is from John Keble’s The Christian Year (1827).

Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow.
St. Matthew, vi. 28.

Sweet nurslings of the vernal skies,
     Bathed in soft airs, and fed with dew,
What more than magic in you lies,
     To fill the heart’s fond view?
In childhood’s sports, companions gay,
In sorrow, on Life’s downward way,
How soothing! in our last decay
     Memorials prompt and true.

Relics ye are of Eden’s bowers,
     As pure, as fragrant, and as fair,
As when ye crowned the sunshine hours
     Of happy wanderers there.
Fall’n all beside — the world of life,
How is it stained with fear and strife!
In Reason’s world what storms are rife,
     What passions range and glare!

But cheerful and unchanged the while
     Your first and perfect form ye show,
The same that won Eve’s matron smile
     In the world’s opening glow.
The stars of heaven a course are taught
Too high above our human thought:
Ye may be found if ye are sought,
     And as we gaze, we know.

Ye dwell beside our paths and homes,
     Our paths of sin, our homes of sorrow,
And guilty man where’er he roams,
     Your innocent mirth may borrow.
The birds of air before us fleet,
They cannot brook our shame to meet—
But we may taste your solace sweet
     And come again to-morrow.

Ye fearless in your nests abide —
     Nor may we scorn, too proudly wise,
Your silent lessons, undescried
     By all but lowly eyes:
For ye could draw th’ admiring gaze
Of Him who worlds and hearts surveys:
Your order wild, your fragrant maze,
     He taught us how to prize.

Ye felt your Maker’s smile that hour,
     As when He paused and owned you good;
His blessing on earth’s primal bower,
     Ye felt it all renewed.
What care ye now, if winter’s storm
Sweep ruthless o’er each silken form?
Christ’s blessing at your heart is warm,
     Ye fear no vexing mood.

Alas! of thousand bosoms kind,
     That daily court you and caress,
How few the happy secret find
     Of your calm loveliness!
“Live for to-day! to-morrow’s light
To-morrow’s cares shall bring to sight,
Go sleep like closing flowers at night,
     And Heaven thy morn will bless.”

Christopher Wordsworth, A hymn for the Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity

The following hymn is from Bp. Christopher Wordsworth’s The Holy Year; or Hymns for Sundays and Holy Days throughout the Year (1862).

Hymn 77.


“Consider the Lilies of the Field.” Gospel of the Week.

The Lilies in the field that grow,
Cloth’d by God’s goodness shine,
And preach to all “O cast your care
On love and power divine.”

The Lilies in the field that grow.
Or glisten in the glade,
May teach how soon Life’s flowers are blown.
And then how soon they fade.

The Lilies, that in winter die,
And in sweet spring-tide bloom.
May teach how Christian Flowers of Faith
Will blossom from the Tomb.

The Christian soul, that shines in peace
Mid cold neglects and scorns,
Gleams in the shade with silver light
“A Lily among thorns.”

The Vine, whose branches, fed by sap,
Ripe golden clusters bear,
May teach how join’d to Christ by grace
We live, and fruitful are.

The Earth a holy Garden is,
An Eden to the wise;
And there God with us walks, as once
With man in Paradise.

Each plant a story has of grace,
A tale of love, to tell;
Each herb, to ears that listen, is
A living Parable.

The lowliest hedgerow flowers, when view’d
By Faith, and cull’d by Love,
May weave a garland for the saints
In endless joys above.

Praise to the Father and the Son,
And to the Holy Ghost,
From all things be in Earth and Sea,
And from the heavenly Host.