Saturday, June 04, 2016

Let Us Break Bread Together: The Music and Celebration of the Lord’s Supper, Part 7

By Robin G. Jordan

The Scripture Readings. The 1928 Prayer Book makes provision for two readings at a celebration of Holy Communion—one from the Epistles and the other from the Gospels. In this regard it follows the late medieval practice. During an early period in Church history the Eucharist had included an Old Testament Lesson and a Gradual Psalm. More recent Anglican service books have restored the Old Testament Lesson and the Gradual Psalm or permit their use.

Research shows that the King James Bible, while it is the most popular Bible translation is not the most read Bible translation. Its popularity is not tied to its use. Younger people—and older people—find the language of the King James Bible difficult to understand, old-fashioned, and quaint. The King James Bible also contains a number of translation errors. When the Scripture readings are taken from the King James Bible, the task of the preacher becomes not only to break open the meaning of the text for the congregation and show how the text applies to them but also to render the text into plain, everyday English.

I know college graduates for whom English is their native language and whose vocabulary does not include once common English words that, when I was small boy, people used in their everyday conversations. These college graduates struggle with the archaic words and phrases of the King James Bible and William Shakespeare’s plays and poetry. I gather from my conversations with Chinese, Japanese, and Korean foreign exchange students attending the Murray State University that they also struggle with these archaic words and phrases.

The number of people like myself for whom the Jacobean English of The Book of Common Prayer is a second language that they learned from infancy is very small.

In some Continuing Anglican jurisdictions the canons permit the reading of the Epistle and the Gospel from one of several modern translations in place of the King James Bible. The bishop also may authorize the use of additional modern translations. In those jurisdictions where that is the case I strongly recommend that small churches take advantage of the canons and use one or more of these translations. The lections in the Church of England’s Alternative Service Book 1980 are taken from the New English Bible and the older edition of the New International Version and are both readable and understandable. A small church might want to obtain the bishop’s permission to use the English Standard Version, for which Anglican scholar and theologian J. I. Packer served as general editor. It also would be a good choice for the Scripture readings. All three versions may be found on the Internet.

The Jacobean English of the 1928 Prayer Book presents less of a linguistic barrier as it contains fewer such words and phrases and these words and phrases can be explained in a short course on the Book of Common Prayer.

Roger Beckwith has written a booklet, Praying with Understanding: Explanations of passages and words in the Book of Common Prayer, in which he takes the reader through the 1662 Prayer Book, explaining the meanings of words and phrases to help the reader to understand them more fully. This booklet is also useful in explaining the meaning of same words and phrases in the 1928 Prayer Book. It can be downloaded free in PDF format from the Latimer Trust website. The URL is

It is also available on Kindle for a small charge.

Between the Epistle and Gospel. During festal seasons (Christmastide and Eastertide), at major feasts (Christmas, Easter, and Whitsunday) and during ordinary time (Epiphanytide and Trinitytide) a gospel acclamation—an Alleluia—is the most appropriate choice for this particular place in the service of Holy Communion. To greet the proclamation of the Good News with the singing of an Alleluia is a very ancient custom. The practice has been traced as far back as the third century and may be even older. A small congregation can easily learn a repertoire of simple Alleluias for use on these occasions. The simplest form of an Alleluia should used, one without a verse. At St. Michael’s I taught the congregation a number of these Alleluias.

Whether the Gospel is read from the pulpit, the midst of the congregation, or the chancel steps, the Alleluia is sung as the deacon or priest proceeds to the station where the Gospel will be read. The deacon or priest announces the Gospel after the singing of the Alleluia has concluded. The singing should not be cut off simply because the deacon or the priest has arrived at the station where the Gospel will be read. After the reading of the Gospel the deacon or priest may return to his place in silence or to the accompaniment of instrumental music.

The following are seven simple, easy-to-sing Alleluias that may be sung without accompaniment.

Aleluya, aleluya, aleluya, aleluya HONDURAS ALLELUIA

HONDURAS ALLELUIA is a traditional Honduran tune.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia CELTIC ALLELUIA

This lilting Alleluia comes from Christopher Walker’s Celtic Mass.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia HAPPY LAND

The hymn, “There is a happy land, Far, far away” is sung to the tune HAPPY LAND. The hymn and the tune have been published in 532 hymnals, including the shape-note hymnal Southern Harmony. Shaped note hymn enthusiasts gather from around the United States in Benton, Kentucky for the annual Big Sing, which features hymns and gospel songs from Southern Harmony. The source of HAPPY LAND is a Hindustani melody.

“There is a happy land, Far, far away” and its tune is also widely known in Appalachia. For this reason HAPPY LAND was used along with a number of other tunes familiar to the people of Appalachia to create a Mass setting for use in small Catholic churches in Appalachia. HAPPY LAND and HOLY MANNA were used as settings for the Gospel Acclamation.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia O FILII ET FILIAE

The triple Alleluia of the refrain from “O sons and daughters, let us sing!” may be sung as an Alleluia before the Gospel. When sung as a Gospel Acclamation, it should be sung at a faster tempo than as a plainsong hymn refrain. This emphasizes the lilt in the melody, gives it a more dance-like quality, and suggests that the tune’s origin may be from the French folk tradition, in much the same way as many French noel tunes are believed to have developed. The triple Alleluia is sung by one voice and repeated by the congregation.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia TAIZE ALLELUIA

This Alleuia comes from the Taize Community in Taize, France. The tune was composed by Jacques Berthier. 

Halle, halle, hallelujah HALLE HALLE

 “Halle, halle, hallelujah” enjoys wide popularity and is published in 15 hymnals, including hymnals in Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom as well as the United States. HALLE, HALLE is a traditional Caribbean tune.

Hallelujah, hallelujah, halle, hallelujah HELELUYAN

HELELUYAN is a Muscogee (Creek) Indian chant. This Alleluia may be sung in canon.

During Lent and on other occasions a sequence hymn may be sung in place of the gospel acclamation. The sequence hymn “should sum up, highlight or respond to the Epistle or anticipate the Gospel.” Both a Sequence Hymn and a Gospel Acclamation may be sung on occasion. The Sequence Hymn should be a short one. Otherwise, it will throw the natural sequence from Epistle to Gospel out of balance. A hymn at this particular juncture in the service acts a musical bridge. A short metrical version of a psalm or canticle may also be used.

The practice of singing the children’s hymn, “Thy gospel Jesus we believe” between the Epistle and the Gospel at every celebration of Holy Communion should be assiduously avoided. This particular misuse of that hymn was the reason it was omitted from The Hymnal 1982. The hymn was originally used in children’s services in the Roman Catholic Church in the nineteenth century as a part of the children’s preparation for First Communion. It is NOT listed for suggested use as a sequence hymn in the two Liturgical Indices in The Hymnal, 1940. It is, however, listed for suggested use before or during the Communion at the conclusion of the Holy Communion section of that hymnal. If it is sung at that particular juncture in the service, it is best sung three times—with devotion and not perfunctorily. The addition of an instrumental accompaniment—keyboard, violins, chimes—and the insertion of an instrumental interlude is desirable. View Missio’s performance of the hymn on YouTube at This video points to its use on occasions when children are first admitted to Communion.

The Subject Index to the Supplements to Hymns Ancient & Modern New Standard (1983) suggests the use of the following hymns before the Gospel. Their tunes and a number of the hymns themselves are in the Gulbransen Digital Hymnal DH-100 CP’s Master Index.

Come, Holy Ghost, our hearts inspire NUN DANKET ALL

God is Love; let heav’n adore him ABBOT’S LEIGH

Help us, O Lord, to learn ST. BRIDE, ST. THOMAS (Williams)

Lord Jesus, once you spoke WINCHESTER NEW

Not far beyond the sea, nor high CORNWALL

Praise we now the Word of grace SAVANNAH (Thommen), INNOCENTS, ST. BEES


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

Tell out, my soul, the greatness of the Lord! BIRMINGHAM, WOODLANDS

Thanks to God whose Word was spoken (Stanzas 3 and 4) WYLDE GREEN

The prophets spoke in days of old DETROIT (Bradshaw)/FORGIVE OUR SINS AS WE FORGIVE, ST. STEPHEN

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

The two Liturgical Indices in The Hymnal, 1940 identify a number of hymns that are suitable for use as a sequence between the Epistle and the Gospel. Some are seasonal; others are general. I have listed those whose tune is in the Gulbransen Digital Hymnal DH-100 CP’s Master Index or which may be sung to tunes in the Master Index of the same meter and rhythm. I selected standard hymns that one might reasonably expect to find in the congregational repertoire of a traditional Anglican church and which one might also reasonably expect to be familiar to visitors who have a traditional church background but in another denomination. With the exception of the festal and seasonal hymns I selected hymns that could be used on a number of Sundays in the Church Year. I have placed an asterisk (*) next to the tune that I believe best conveys the mood of the hymn. A number of these hymns may be shortened.

A mighty fortress is our God EIN’ FESTE BURG

Stanzas1 and 2 are suggested for use as a sequence hymn.

All praise to thee, for thou, O King divine ENGELBERG, SINE NOMINE

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.

And have the bright immensities HALIFAX, KINGSFOLD

Awake, awake to love and work MORNING SONG (Dare)

MORNING SONG is a folk tune that has some resemblance to the traditional English tune for "Old King Cole." Only the shorter Common Meter version of this hymn tune is in the digital hymnal player’s Master Index.

Among the hymns that may be sung to this shorter version are “O Holy City seen of John,” “The King shall come when morning dawns,” and “My soul gives glory to my God,” “My Master, see the time has come,” “Immortal Love, forever full,” “Our Father, God, who art in heaven,” and “Forgive our sins as we forgive.”
Isaac Watt’s “Let every nation praise the Lord,” originally “O all ye nations, praise the Lord,” sung to the Common Meter version of MORNING SONG, would be a useful addition to a small church congregation’s repertoire and could be used as a sequence between the Epistle and the Gospel.

Let every nation praise you, Lord,
each with its different tongue;
in every language learn your word,
and let your name be sung.

Let our unceasing songs now show
the mercies of our Lord;
and make succeeding ages know
how faithful is your word.

Your mercy reigns through every land;
your grace is spread abroad;
forever firm, your truth shall stand.
We’ll praise our faithful God!

The 86.86.86 version of the hymn tune to which “Awake, awake to love and work” is set may be downloaded as MP3 file from the SmallChurch website:

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

Blessed feast of blessed martyrs IN BABILONE*, HOLY MANNA, ALTA TRINITA BEATA

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

Blest are the pure in heart FRANCONIA

Book of books, our people’s strength LIEBSTER JESU

LIEBSTER JESU is also the tune of “Blessed Jesus at your word,” 280 in The Psalter Hymnal and 596 in The United Methodist Hymnal, which also can be sung as a Sequence between the Epistle and the Gospel:

1 Blessed Jesus, at your word
we are gathered all to hear you.
Let our hearts and souls be stirred
now to seek and love and fear you.
By your gospel pure and holy,
teach us, Lord, to love you solely.

2 All our knowledge, sense, and sight
lie in deepest darkness shrouded,
till your Spirit breaks our night
with your beams of truth unclouded.
You alone to God can win us;
you must work all good within us.

3 Glorious Lord, yourself impart;
Light of Light, from God proceeding,
open lips and ears and heart;
help us by your Spirit's leading.
Hear the cry your church now raises;
Lord, accept our prayers and praises.

“Dearest Jesus, we are here,” a baptismal hymn, 483 in Glory to God: The Presbyterian Hymnal, is also set to LIEBSTER JESU.

Christ for the world we sing MOSCOW

Christ, the fair glory of the holy angels CHRISTE SANCTORUM, ISTE CONFESSOR

Come away to the skies MIDDLEBURY

Come down, O Love divine DOWN AMPNEY

Earth has many a noble city STUTTGART

Father we thank thee RENDEZ A DIEU

RENDEZ A DIEU is the alternative tune of “Bread of the world, in mercy broken,” 196 in The Hymnal, 1940. It is also the tune of Erik Routley’s metrical version of Psalm 98, “New songs of celebration render.”

Fight the good fight with all thy might DUKE STREET*

DUKE STREET, the alternative tune, conveys the mood of this hymn far better than PENTECOST, the second tune. Both tunes are in the Gulbransen Digital Hymnal DH-100 CP’s Master Index.

For thy dear saints, O Lord ST. GEORGE

Forty days and forty nights AUS DER TIEFE RUFE/HEINLEIN

Give praise and glory unto God DU LEBENSBROT, HERR JESU

Peter Sohren who composed DU LEBENSBROT, HERR JESU also composed ELBING, the tune to which this hymn is set in The Hymnal, 1940. While they are not identical, they sound similar enough that someone familiar with ELBING should be able to learn DU LEBENSBROT, HERR JESU. DU LEBENSBROT, HERR JESU may also be used as a prelude.

Hail the day that sees Him rise ASCENSION, LLANFAIR


He is risen, he is risen UNSER HERRSCHER/NEANDER

Holy God, we praise thy name GROSSER GOTT/TE DEUM

This hymn is a metrical version of the Te Deum laudamus. The Psalter Hymnal contains a third stanza missing from The Hymnal, 1940 version of the hymn.

Lo, the apostolic train
joins your sacred name to hallow;
prophets swell the glad refrain,
 and the white-robed martyrs follow;
 and from morn to set of sun,
 through the church the song goes on.

The Church of Ireland’s Church Hymnal (2000) adds a fourth verse to the The Hymnal, 1940 version:

Spare thy people, Lord, we pray,
by a thousand snares surrounded;
keep us free from sin today,
never let us be confounded:
all my trust I place in thee ,
never, Lord, abandon me.

The Hymnal 1982 version also contains the missing third stanza and adds three more stanzas:

Christ, thou art our glorious King,
Son of God enthroned in splendor;
but deliverance to bring
thou all honors didst surrender,
and wast of a virgin born
humbly on that blessed morn.

Thou didst take the sting from death,
Son of God, as Savior given;
on the cross thy dying breath
opened wide the realm of heaven.
In the glory of that land
thou art set at God’s right hand.

As our judge thou wilt appear.
Savor, who hast died to win us.
Help thy servants, drawing near.
Lord, renew our hearts within us.
Grant that with thy saints we may
Dwell in everlasting day.

The result is a metrical Te Deum suitable for use where a longer hymn is needed such as during a formal procession before the service on a major feast day or at the ingathering of the Alms and Oblations on a major feast day or an ordinary Sunday. This longer version of “Holy God we praise thy name” would be an appropriate choice for Trinity Sunday. It would make a fitting response to the Lessons and the Sermon at Morning Prayer on major feast days and ordinary Sundays, perhaps accented with hand bells.

Hosanna to the living Lord! HOSANNA (Dyke)

At least one hymnal omits the second stanza and alters the words of the third stanza. At least one hymnal omits the fifth stanza. “Hosanna to the living Lord!” may also be sung to Long Meter tunes if the refrain is omitted.

How brightly appears the Morning Star WIE SCHON LEUCHTET/FRANKFURT

How firm a foundation FOUNDATION*, LYONS, ST. DENIO

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

How wondrous and great Thy works God of praise LYONS, OLD 104TH , HANOVER (Croft)

I bind unto myself today (Stanzas 1 and 2) ST. PATRICK'S BREASTPLATE

I love your kingdom, Lord ST. THOMAS (Williams)

I sought the Lord PEACE #1

In heav’nly love abiding NYLAND

ARISE, also known as RESTORATION, is found in the shape-note hymnal, Southern Harmony, which is used at the annual Big Sing in Benton, Kentucky.

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

Lamp of our feet, whereby we trace GRAEFENBERG

Let saints on earth in concert sing DUNDEE/FRENCH

Let us with a gladsome mind MONKLAND

Lo, he comes with clouds descending ST. THOMAS, HELMSLEY

Lord, speak to me, that I may speak (Stanzas 1, 3, 4, and 6) O WALY WALY*

O WALY WALY is a traditional English melody also known as THE WATER IS WIDE. It is well known in the Appalachian region of the United States, which includes eastern Kentucky. It has been used as the setting of Timothy Dudley Smith’s “Though I may speak with bravest fire,” Brian A. Wren’s “When love is found,” Fred Pratt Green’s “An upper room did our Lord prepare,” James Quinn’s “Lord make us servants of your peace,” Isaac Watt’s “When I survey the wondrous cross,” Susan Palo Cherwein’s “O blessed spring, where word and sign,” Charles William Everest’s “Take up thy cross,” Carolyn Winfrey Gillette’s “Go walk with God in all you do,” Fred Pratt Green’s “Of all the Spirit’s gifts to me,” and a number of other hymns. It is a beautiful tune, is quite singable, and makes a wonderful addition to the hymn tune repertoire of a small church congregation.


Love divine all loves excelling (Stanzas 1 and 2) HYFRYDOL*, BEECHER

Master of eager youth (Stanzas 3 and 4) MONKS GATE, ST. DUNSTAN’S

If The Hymnal 1982 version of this hymn is used, the entire hymn may be sung. It omits the first stanza of The Hymnal, 1940 version and alters the first line of the second stanza. “Jesus our mighty Lord” is substituted for “thou art our mighty Lord.” The reason for the changes was to encourage the more frequent and wider use of the hymn. Due to its first stanza churches tended to limit its use to Youth Sunday and similar occasions. The Hymnal 1982 version is suitable for use at a number of places in a celebration of Holy Communion.

My faith looks up to thee OLIVET

O bless the Lord, my soul! ST.THOMAS (Williams), ST. BRIDE

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

O God of Bethel, by whose hand DUNDEE/FRENCH

O Splendor of God’s glory bright SPLENDOR PATERNAE, PUER NOBIS

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

O thou who camest from above HEREFORD, MENDON

O Word of God incarnate MUNICH

A number of hymnals omit the third stanza. This includes several hymnals listed in the digital hymnal’s Manual.

O Word that goest forth from high WINDHAM*

WINDHAM is a good choice for this hymn. It not only conveys the mood of the hymn but also may be sung unaccompanied. Like HAPPY LAND and ARISE/RESTORATION, WINDHAM is found in the shape-note hymnal, Southern Harmony, which is used at the annual Big Sing in Benton, Kentucky.


PUER NOBIS, THE EIGHTH TUNE/TALLIS’ CANON and TRURO may be sung as a round or a canon, normally at a distance of one or two measures and a space of one octave.

On Jordan’s bank the Baptist’s cry WINCHESTER NEW

Praise to the Holiest in the height (st. 1, 4) NEWMAN


Round the Lord in glory seated MOULTRIE, RUSTINGTON

Sing of Mary, pure and lowly PLEADING SAVIOUR

Soldiers of Christ, arise SILVER STREET

Songs of praise the angels sang INNOCENTS,MONKLAND

The King of Love my shepherd is ST. COLUMBA*, DOMINUS REGIT ME

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

Through north and south and east and west OLD HUNDRETH

Through the night of doubt and sorrow EBENEZER/TON-Y-BOTEL

Unto us a boy is born PUER NOBIS NASCITUR

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

When I survey the wondrous cross O WALY WALY*, ROCKINGHAM, HAMBURG


Ye watchers and ye holy ones LASST UNS EFREUEN/VIGILES ET SANCTI

Stanzas 2 and 4 are suggested for use as a sequence hymn on the Feast of the Annunciation

What can be seen from this short list is that The Hymnal, 1940 itself contains ample hymns for use as a sequence between the Epistle and the Gospel. Most of these hymns may also be used at one or more other places in the service—before the beginning of the service, at the ingathering of the Alms and Oblations, before the Communion, after the Post-Communion Prayer, or after the Blessing. A number of them may be used as office hymns and concluding hymns at Morning Prayer. “Holy God, we praise thy name” is a metrical version of the Te Deum laudamus and may be used with or without the additional stanzas after the Lessons and the Sermon.

Three hymns that are listed in the Gulbransen Digital Hymnal DH-100 CP’s Master Index and which would be useful additions to a church’s sequence hymn repertoire are “God's Holy Ways Are Just and True” LASST UNS ERFREUEN , “How Sure the Scriptures Are!” DARWALL/DARWALL’S 148TH, and “Lord of the Church, We Pray for Our Renewing” LONDONERRY AIR #109. All three hymns may be used elsewhere in a celebration of Holy Communion.

A hymn whose tune is unfortunately not listed in the Master Index is “Open your ears, O faithful people.” It is set to a Hasidic melody, TORAH SONG, also known YISRAEL V'ORAITA. The first two stanzas or the entire hymn may be sung as a sequence hymn. The congregation of St. Michael’s loved this hymn and sung it with enthusiasm.  

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