Lessons and Hymns for Sunday, April 13, 2014

by the Rev. William P. McLemore

SCRIPTURE REFLECTIONS:   If there is any doubt about the Episcopal Church’s emphasis on Holy Scripture, it should be obvious during the Lenten season.  We emphasize the gospel narratives which are long and involve critical moments of the life of Jesus Christ.  Our gospel reading this Sunday includes the entire Passion Narrative from the Gospel according to St. Matthew, chapters 26:14-27:66.  As with every service, there is a reading from the Old Testament (Isaiah 50:4-9a), a Psalm (31-9-16), and one of the Epistles (Philippians 2:5-11).  The general theme from these, this Sunday, is the passion, as evidenced by Paul’s comments to the Church at Philippi: “He [Jesus] humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death-even on a cross.”  As Lent comes to a close, we are at the very core of God’s redemption in His Son and the foundation of the love and forgiveness that underscores everything Christianity has to offer the believer.




PROCESSIONAL HYMN:   No. 154.  “All Glory, Laud, and Honor.”  This ancient hymn is attributed to Theodulph of Orleans who died in 821 AD.  Legend has it that he wrote the hymn while in prison having been convicted on a false accusation.   Its use was in connection with the processions of the palms through the towns in that day.  The tune was composed by Melchior Teschner (1584-1635) and harmonized by William Henry Monk (1823-1889).


THE SEQUENCE HYMN:   No. 156.  “Ride On, Ride On, In Majesty.”  This moving Palm Sunday hymn was written by Henry Hart Milman while he was professor of poetry at Oxford, and first published  as the Palm Sunday hymn in Bishop Heber’s posthumous 1827 Hymnal.  The tune, “The King’s Majesty,” was composed by Graham George for this text in the Hymnal 1940.


PRESENTATION HYMN:   No. 474.  “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.”  This is another hymn written by Isaac Watts who is also the author of our opening hymn.  He wrote this hymn being inspired by Galatians 6:14, “May I never boast of anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”  The tune, “Rockingham,” was adapted from an old English psalmody hymnal by Edward Miller (1731-1807).


COMMUNION HYMN:  No.  321.  “My God Thy Table Now is Spread.”  The words of this hymn have been altered somewhat since it was written by Philip Doddridge in the mid-eighteenth century.   This is his original last verse: “Revive thy dying churches, Lord, And bid our drooping grace live; And more that energy afford, A Saviour’s Blood alone can give.”   The newer words soften the anguish and gore of the earlier.  The tune is “Rockingham,” and is an old English melody adapted and harmonized for the words of this hymn.


RECESSIONAL HYMN:   As is our custom on the Sunday of the Passion, Palm Sunday, we leave the worship in silence and meditation into the depths of Holy Week.