Monday, May 23, 2016

Early in the Morning Our Songs Shall Rise to Thee: The Music and Conduct of Morning Prayer, Part 6

By Robin G. Jordan

The Creed. The Apostles’ Creed should flow out of the Third Canticle. The Nicene Creed is best reserved for the service of Holy Communion. It drags out the service at this juncture.

The Prayers. At the beginning of the Prayers is the most appropriate place for the Lord’s Prayer in the service of Morning Prayer. The Prayers originally began with the Salutation and the Lord’s Prayer. The Lord’s Prayer following the penitential introduction originated as a private devotion before the Office. It was said silently along with the Ave Maria. The penitential introduction was not added until the 1552 Prayer Book. The 1662 Prayer Book requires the Lord’s Prayer to be said after the penitential introduction and at the beginning of the Prayers. The 1929 Scottish Prayer Book and the 1926 South African Prayer Book omit the initial Lord’s Prayer. The 1928 Prayer Book permits its omission if the penitential section is omitted. The 1928 Proposed English Prayer Book in its Alternative Orders for Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer restore the Lord’s Prayer to its proper place at the beginning of the Prayers. Almost all the most recent Anglican service books have done the same thing.

The rubrics of the 1928 Prayer Book also do not require the use of the five prayers printed in Morning Prayer after the Third Collect on every Sunday. The minister may conclude the service with general intercessions taken from the Prayer Book or with the Grace. Churches that use these five prayers without variation are actually following the rubrics of the 1892 Prayer Book, not the 1928. They may have also succumbed to the dismal tendency to read a text simply because it is printed in the rite or service (see Early in the Morning Our Songs Shall Rise to Thee: The Music and Conduct of Morning Prayer, Part 4)

After the Service. A hymn may be sung and then the minister may go out at the conclusion of the hymn. Or the minister may go to a place in front of the altar at the conclusion of the hymn, and standing there, to say “let us pray” and a Prayer for Missions or some other suitable collect. After having in this way given the people time to kneel down quietly and pray, the minister turns and says the Benedicamus. He then goes out. If there is a second minister, he stands to one side while the second minister bows and goes out and then follows him to the sacristy.

The following version of the Benedicamus comes from the 1928 Proposed English Prayer Book:

The Lord be with you.
And with thy spirit.
Let us bless the Lord;
Thanks be to God

Alternately the minister may say these parting words:

The Lord bless us and keep us:
The Lord make his face to shine upon us
and be gracious unto us:
The Lord lift up his countenance upon us
and give us peace. Amen.

At the end of Morning Prayer is an appropriate place to sing a hymn about the Church’s mission, a hymn of invitation, hymn of consecration, commitment, or dedication, a hymn of faith, a hymn of supplication, a hymn about Jesus’ salvific work or his lordship, and even a hymn of jubilant praise. This final hymn should send the people out in no uncertain way. It is also a part of the congregation’s take-home package. Ideally the people would be humming the hymn tune or even singing snatches of the hymn lyrics as they go on their way.

The following is a list of suitable hymns with tunes in the Master Index of the Gulbransen Digital Hymnal DH-100 CP and the Gulbransen Digital Hymnal DH 200.

All Who Would Valiant Be ST. DUNSTAN'S, MONK’S GATE


This hymn was originally published in William Hurn’s Psalms & Hymns (1813).

1 Arise, O God, and shine
In all Thy saving might,
And prosper each design
To spread Thy glorious light;
Let healing streams of mercy flow
That all the earth Thy truth may know.

2 Bring distant nations near
To sing Thy glorious praise;
Let every people hear
And learn Thy holy ways.
Reign, mighty God, assert Thy cause
And govern by Thy righteous laws.

3 Put forth Thy glorious power
That Gentiles all may see
And earth present her store
In converts born to Thee.
God, our own God, His Church will bless
And fill the world with righteousness.

4 To God, the only Wise,
The one immortal King,
Let hallelujahs rise
From every living thing;
Let all that breathe, on every coast
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

If the hymn is sung to RHOSYMEDRE, the last line of each verse is repeated.

Be Thou My Vision SLANE

Christ Be My Leader SLANE

Christ beside Me BUNESSAN


Church of God, Elect and Glorious ABBOT’S LEIGH, NETTLETON, LUX EOI

Crown Him with Many Crowns DIADEMATA

If a shorter version of this hymn is desired, stanzas 1 and 5 may be sung without mutilating the sense of the hymn.

Forth in the Peace of Christ LLEDROD, DUKE STREET

God Is Working His Purpose Out PURPOSE

PURPOSE may be sung as a round or a canon, normally at a distance of one or two measures and a space of one octave.

God of Mercy, God of Grace LUCERNA LAUDONIAE, IMPACT

God, Our Author and Creator NALL AVENUE, PLEADING SAVIOR

Go Forth and Tell! O Church of God NATIONAL HYMN

Good News of God Above DIADEMATA

Go, Tell It on the Mountain GO TELL IT

This hymn is an adaptation of a North American traditional spiritual, published in the Church of Ireland’s Church Hymnal – Fifth Edition (2000). The new text transforms a song that is related to Christ’s birth and which is sung during the Christmas Season into a song related to the Church’s witness and mission and which may be sung throughout the year.

Go, tell it on the mountain,
Over the hills and everywhere
Go, tell it on the mountain,
That Jesus Christ is Lord.

1 O when I was a seeker
I sought both night and day,
I asked the Lord to guide me,
And he showed me the way.

2  He made me a watchman
Upon a city wall,
To tell of his salvation,
That Jesus died for all.

3  Go tell it to your neighbor
In darkness here below;
Go with the words of Jesus,
That all the world may know.


SINE NOMINE may be sung as a round or a canon, normally at a distance of one or two measures and a space of one octave.

He Who Would Valiant Be ST. DUNSTAN'S, MONK’S GATE


While this hymn is a trifle long—five stanzas, it works surprisingly well as a final hymn due to the liveliness and rhythmicalness of its tune, which move the hymn forward at a brisk tempo. It is published in a number of hymnals, including Church Hymnal, Fifth Edition, Complete Anglican Hymns Old & New, Hymns Ancient & Modern New Standard, Hymns Old and New: New Anglican, Together in Song: Australian Hymn Book II, and Worship and Rejoice.

I Have Decided to Follow Jesus ASSAM

Jesus, Good Above All Other QUEM PASTORES

Jesu, Jesu, Fill Us with Your Love CHERAPONI

Jesus Our Mighty Lord MONKS GATE, ST. DUNSTAN

Jesus Shall Reign DUKE STREET

Lead On, O King Eternal LANCASHIRE

Leaning on the Everlasting Arms SHOWALTER

Lift High the Cross CRUCIFER

Lord, Make Us Servants of Your Peace DICKINSON COLLEGE [O WALY WALY]

Lord of the Church, We Pray for Our Renewing LONDONERRY AIR #109

Lord, You Give the Great Commission ABBOT'S LEIGH

Now Thank We All Our God NUN DANKET

O Breathe on Me O Breath of God ST. COLUMBA

O God of Love, Enable Me ST. PETER


O Zion haste, thy mission high fulfilling TIDINGS


Savior, like a Shepherd Lead Us SICILIAN MARINER

Send Forth Your Word, O God PROCLAMATION

Shine, Jesus, Shine SHINE


Tell All the World of Jesus FAR OFF LANDS

This hymn may be sung ELLACOMBE, LANCASHIRE, and other suitable 76.76.D. tunes.

Tell It Out with Gladness HYMN TO JOY

The Spirit Sends Us forth to Serve LAND OF REST, CHESTERFIELD/RICHMOND (Haweis)

LAND OF REST may be sung as a round or a canon, normally at a distance of one or two measures and a space of one octave.

We All Are One in Mission KUOTANE/NYLAND

We Turn to Christ Anew LEONI

What Wondrous Love Is This WONDROUS LOVE

Ye Servants of God, Your Master Proclaim HANOVER, LYONS, PADERBORN

Ye That Know the Lord Is Gracious HYFRYDOL

A postlude reflecting or summing up the rite may be played after the Benedicamus. Instrumental music based on the text which best sums up the rite or introducing an unfamiliar tune is particularly appropriate. The candles may be extinguished during the postlude.

It deserves mention that the candles on the altar are lit only for celebrations of Holy Communion. The lights used at Morning and Evening Prayer are normally pavement lights—candles on stands flanking the altar. During Advent the candles on the Advent wreath may be lit and during Easter the Pascal candle. Some churches have stands for the torches that the servers carry during the ceremonial entrance of the ministers at the beginning of the service of Holy Communion and use the torches as pavement lights at Morning and Evening Prayer.

Conclusion. Taking full advantage of the flexibility in length and content of the 1928 service of Morning Prayer and its adaptability to congregations and occasions, the digital hymnal player’s Master Index of hymns and hymn tunes and the digital hymnal player’s various settings (piano, violin, organ, etc), a typical service of Morning Prayer in ordinary time might look like the following:

Prelude: DOVE OF PEACE (Instrumental)
Sentence of Scripture
Opening Preces
Canticle: O Come and Sing to God the Lord DOVE OF PEACE
Hymn: When morning gilds the skies LAUDES DOMINI
Psalm 63 (read by a single voice)
Gloria Patri: To Father, Son, and Holy Ghost MARTYRDOM
Old Testament Lesson
Canticle: All you works of God bless the Lord LINSTEAD
New Testament Lesson
Bidding Prayer
Canticle: Now bless the God of Israel FOREST GREEN
Apostles’ Creed
Lord’s Prayer
Collect of the Day
Collects for Peace and Grace
Hymn: O Zion haste, thy mission high fulfilling TIDINGS
Prayer for Missions
Postlude: NETTLETON (Instrumental)

The music of the service would not be too demanding on a small congregation with no choir. The music to be used in the service and new tunes to be learned would be played as pre-service and post-service music. The metrical canticles and the Gloria Patri would be initially repeated throughout a season or for several consecutive Sundays during a long season. Once the congregation had mastered them, they may be varied from Sunday to Sunday. The hymn after the Venite and the hymn at the end of the service should be varied from week to week.

A congregation should learn several metrical settings of the canticles and a number of settings of the Gloria Patri. Otherwise, the singing of the canticles and Gloria Patri will become perfunctory and tiresome and will lose its power to stir the heart so that the praise of the lips becomes the praise of the heart. When praise comes from the heart as well as the lips, it gives vitality to the service, which not only will make Sunday worship more inspiring and uplifting for the members of the congregation but also has a positive effect upon visitors. God may use the congregation’s praise to touch the heart of a visitor and draw that person closer to Himself. When a congregation has several metrical settings of the canticles and a number of settings of the Gloria Patri in its repertoire, it also gives worship planners greater flexibility to capture the mood of the season or occasion with their choice of songs.

On major feast days a metrical version of the Gloria in excelsis might be substituted for the Gloria Patri and an anthem sung after the Third Collect. While the 1928 Prayer Book makes no provision for an anthem after the Third Collect at Morning Prayer, there is a long tradition of singing an anthem at this point in the service. A small vocal ensemble could be put together to sing a simple hymn anthem.

At festal Matins the principal leader of the service, whether ordained or lay, wears a cope over his surplice. A small church needs only one cope of best materials for such occasions. It does not need a different cope for each season of the Church Year. In accordance with the traditions of the pre-Reformation English Church the best materials for festivals, “Lenten white,” or unbleached linen, for Lent, and other materials for other days is a perfectly acceptable liturgical color scheme for a small Anglican church.

On Christmas Eve solemn Evensong with a procession at the end of the service or a Service of Lessons and Carols would be appropriate. Our worship has become so centered on the Eucharist due to the influence of the twentieth century Liturgical and Parish Communion movements that we have forgotten how to celebrate the festivals of the Church Year without Communion.

In English parish churches solemn Evensong was at one time not unheard of on Christmas Eve. I have memories of crossing the snow-covered Great Common in the darkness on Christmas Eve as a small boy, opening the heavy wooden door, and entering the brightly-lit interior of the parish church of Iccleshall St. Andrew. The vicar served more than one church and traveled between the churches on a motorcycle.

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