Crown Him with Many Crowns

By: Matthew Bridges (1800 – 1894) and Godfrey Thring

For a YouTube recording:  http://youtu.be/D7WdUonorUA

 

Crown Him with many crowns, the Lamb upon His throne.
Hark! How the heavenly anthem drowns all music but its own.
Awake, my soul, and sing of Him who died for thee,
And hail Him as thy matchless King through all eternity.

Crown Him the virgin’s Son, the God incarnate born,
Whose arm those crimson trophies won which now His brow adorn;
Fruit of the mystic rose, as of that rose the stem;
The root whence mercy ever flows, the Babe of Bethlehem.

Crown Him the Son of God, before the worlds began,
And ye who tread where He hath trod, crown Him the Son of Man;
Who every grief hath known that wrings the human breast,
And takes and bears them for His own, that all in Him may rest.

Crown Him the Lord of life, who triumphed over the grave,
And rose victorious in the strife for those He came to save.
His glories now we sing, who died, and rose on high,
Who died eternal life to bring, and lives that death may die.

Crown Him the Lord of peace, whose power a scepter sways
From pole to pole, that wars may cease, and all be prayer and praise.
His reign shall know no end, and round His piercèd feet
Fair flowers of paradise extend their fragrance ever sweet.

Crown Him the Lord of love, behold His hands and side,
Those wounds, yet visible above, in beauty glorified.
No angel in the sky can fully bear that sight,
But downward bends his burning eye at mysteries so bright.

Crown Him the Lord of Heaven, enthroned in worlds above,
Crown Him the King to Whom is given the wondrous name of Love.
Crown Him with many crowns, as thrones before Him fall;
Crown Him, ye kings, with many crowns, for He is King of all.

Crown Him the Lord of lords, who over all doth reign,
Who once on earth, the incarnate Word, for ransomed sinners slain,
Now lives in realms of light, where saints with angels sing
Their songs before Him day and night, their God, Redeemer, King.

Crown Him the Lord of years, the Potentate of time,
Creator of the rolling spheres, ineffably sublime.
All hail, Redeemer, hail! For Thou has died for me;
Thy praise and glory shall not fail throughout eternity.

Note – Matthew Bridges wrote verses 1, 4-6, & 9 in 1852. Godfrey Thring wrote verses 2-3 and 7-8 in 1874.

Matthew Bridges (1800-1894) was born and raised in the Anglican tradition and converted to Catholicism in his late forties. He had been an ardent anti-catholic in his youth, even writing a major polemic against Catholic practices. There is no extant writing of Bridges which explains the reasons for his conversion. He wrote between four and six verses of this hymn a few years after his conversion during when he was 51 years old.  While there are some references which are uniquely Roman, such as the “Fruit of the mystic rose, as of that rose the stem;” from the second stanza, most of the text is universally accepted. However, years later, in an attempt to purge all Roman references, Godfrey Thring, (1823-1903) also 51 at the time, wrote what is believed an additional 6 verses. Since then hymnals will usually utilize a combination of Bridges and Thring stanzas.

“Crown Him with many crowns” is based upon Revelations 19:12,

12 His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had[a] a name written that no one knew except Himself.

Also Rev  5:11-14

11 And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands;

12 Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing.

13 And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.

14 And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.

And also possibly Revelations 19:12

12 His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had[a] a name written that no one knew except Himself.

 

The various stanzas touch upon the key doctrines and images of the Christian faith. Starting with the identification of The Lamb of God who died and is the matchless King for all of eternity. The second stanza declares the virgin birth. This is followed by a description of the Sonship of Christ both of God and Man. The fourth stanza explains the resurrection and Christ’s victory over the grave. The final 5 stanzas all deal with the rule of Christ and the results of salvation; his rule of peace throughout the world, his heavenly glorification, and his ransom and redemption of sinners.

Praise Ye the Lord, The Almighty  by Joachim Neander 1650-1680

Translated by Cathrine Winkworth 1827-1878

Tune: Lobe den herren (composer unknown)

For a YouTube recording:  http://youtu.be/AqdGw7qTSlU

1 Praise ye the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation!
O my soul, praise him, for He is thy health and salvation!
All ye who hear; Now to his temple draw near,
Join me in glad adoration.

2 Praise ye the Lord, who o’er all things so wondrously reignth;
Sheltering thee under His wings, yea, so gently sustainth!
Hast thou not seen How they desires e’er have been
Granted in what He ordaineth?

3 Praise ye the Lord, who will with marvelous wisdom hath made thee,
Decked thee with health, and with loving hand guided and stayed thee;
How oft in grief hath not He brought thee relief,
Spreading His wings for to shade thee!

4 Praise ye the Lord! O let all that is in me adore Him!
All that hath life and breath, come now with praises before him.
Let the Amen Sound from his people again;
Gladly for aye we adore him.

This hymn is a free paraphrasing of Psalm 103: 1-6

1 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!

2 Bless the Lord, o my soul, and forget not all his benefits,

3 who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases,

4 who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,

5 who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

6 The Lord works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed.

A stronger call to praise the Lord would be hard to find in all of Christendom! The author, Joachim Neander lived but a short 30 years, dying from tuberculous, but within that period he became the most important hymn writer for the German Reformed Church.  He wrote many hymns which are used in Lutheran and Reformed churches today. Neander had a difficult time during his short life and often sought refuge from his difficulties in the country side. He frequently wandered in the area around the Dussel River. This area became known as the Neanderthal (thal means “valley” in German) and in this area the proto humanoid skeletons of the Neanderthal were found.

In many of Neander’s poems we find a strong identification with creation as a starting point. In the very first phrase we are called to praise the King of the creation. The mention of “health” in the second phrase is an example of some of the liberties the translator took to make the text more “relevant” to what was currently of interest to the culture and is not mentioned in the original text.

The second stanza reiterates the declaration of the Lord’s sovereignty over all things. We are sheltered under his wing and sustains us in all of our needs and desires.

Again, in the third stanza it is the wisdom of the Lord which made us, given us health, and with his loving hand guided and protected us. Out of our grief he brings us relief and with his wing he shades us.

In the final stanza, everything within myself, my breath and life must declare his praises. And all of his people must also declare their adoration for Him, the creator and sustainer of us all!

Christ, Whose Glory Fills the Skies

By Charles Wesley 1740

Here is a link to a recording of this hymn: http://youtu.be/bjgPTZn4nSY

  1. Christ, whose glory fills the skies,

Christ, the true, the only light,

Sun of Righteousness, arise,

Triumph o’er the shades of night;

Dayspring from on high, be near;

Daystar, in my heart appear.

 

  1. Dark and cheerless is the morn

Unaccompanied by thee;

Joyless is the day’s return,

Till thy mercy’s beams I see;

Till they inward light impart,

Cheer my eyes and warm my heart.

 

  1. Visit then this soul of mine;

Pierce the gloom of sin and grief;

Fill me, Radiancy divine,

Scatter all my unbelief;

More and more thyself display,

Shining to the perfect day.

 

Charles Wesley wrote nearly 9000 poems in his life time, with over 6000 of them suitable for use as a hymn. This particular hymn is a great example of his writing, illustrating the theological depth and understanding present in his other works. Within these three short stanzas, there are over 20 direct scripture references.

From the first line, Wesley begins to paint an image of the salvific work of Christ. While it would not be unusual to say that: God’s glory fills the sky, it is a new and bold statement to say that Christ’s glory fills the sky. This Christ, this Jesus, is the true and only light. Carrying on with the theme of light, he makes another unexpected point; instead of using the usual “Son of Righteousness” he uses “Sun of Righteousness”. This comes from Malachi 4:2:  (2But for you who revere my name the sun of righteousness shall rise, with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall.) “Day-spring” and “Day-star” also come from scriptural references ranging from Revelations 22:16, Luke 1:78 and Isiah 14:12.

The second stanza describes the life without Christ’s light. Without the Morning Light, the day is joyless. Not until the inward light of Christ is present is our heart warmed. Without the presences of the Christ, life is dark and meaningless.

The gloom of sin and grief is only cast away with the presence of the light of Christ. This light scatters our unbelief and fills us with joy for that perfect day. As Martin Luther King Jr. said: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”

May the Light of Christ which drives out the darkness of sin and despair fill you with the peace which is beyond understanding.

 

 

Of the Father’s Love Begotten

Aurelius Clemens Prudentius, (c 348 – 413)   translated by John Mason Neale

Here is a link to a recording:    http://youtu.be/DHhlpan7V-I

  1. Of the Father’s love begotten Ere the worlds began to be, He is Alpha and Omega, He the Source, the Ending He, Of the things that are, that have been, And that future years shall see Evermore and evermore.
  2. Oh, that birth forever blessed When the Virgin, full of grace, By the Holy Ghost conceiving, Bare the Savior of our race, And the Babe, the world’s Redeemer, First revealed His sacred face Evermore and evermore.
  3. O ye heights of heaven, adore Him; Angel hosts, His praises sing; Powers, dominions, bow before Him And extol our God and King. Let no tongue on earth be silent, Every voice in concert ring Evermore and evermore.
  4. This is He whom Heaven-taught singers Sang of old with one accord; Whom the Scriptures of the prophets Promised in their faithful word. Now He shines, the Long-expected; Let creation praise its Lord Evermore and evermore.
  5. Christ, to Thee, with God the Father, And, O Holy Ghost, to Thee Hymn and chant and high thanksgiving And unending praises be, Honor, glory, and dominion, And eternal victory Evermore and evermore.

 

This is the oldest hymn found in most hymn books. Prudentius started his life as a lawyer and was quite successful, rising to the rank of judge before leaving it all behind at the age of 57 to become and aesthetic and spend his remaining days writing religious poetry.

The Church had recently received official sanction from Emperor Constantine in 313. The first couple of centuries after this occurred were marked by significant theological struggles which would lay out the shape and form of our faith two millennium later. These verses are extracted from a much larger work in which Prudentius, with the precision of a legal mind, addresses one of the early heresies which threatened the early church (and which still is present to this day.)

Arius (c250 – 336) propagated one of the most contentious ideas which Prudentius addresses within the context of this poem. Arius believed that God the Father and the Son did not co-exist throughout eternity. Arius said that Jesus, the Son, did not exist before his birth. Jesus was nothing more than another created being. Though he may be divine, he was not equal to God the Father. Arianism, as this position came to be called, was also known as nontrinitarianism and forms of it can be found in Armstrongism (though less so more recently), Mormonism, and Unitarianism.

Within the very first line Prudentius proclaims the eternal aspect of the Son’s existence from before the world’s existence. He is the beginning and the end, the source of that have been and will be. The second stanza speaks of the virgin birth and the coming salvific role the Son will play out. Every voice on Earth and Heaven will declare His praises. The promised one from ages past has come, let all of God’s creation proclaim it. The Son, the Father, and the Holy Ghost are due unending and eternal praise, honor, and glory; evermore and evermore. Amen.

Exodus 3:1 – 6

3 Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.”

When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!”

And Moses said, “Here I am.”

“Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Then he said, “I am the God of your father,[a] the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.

As we come together to this holy place, to this Holy Communion we need to be ever mindful of the gravity of what we are about to do. The Bible is full of very detail instruction on how God wanted to be worshiped. These instructions included everything from what to wear to the type and number of furnishings to be present within the temple. Jesus, even took to violence on one or two occasions to clear the temple of activities which were not part of God’s instructions for worship.

While we are two thousand years removed from Jewish temple worship and Christian worship has certainly gone through many forms and transformations during these two millennium in its form and content, the call for a humble and contrite heart has not.

From Micah 6:5-8

With what shall I come before the Lord     and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,     with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,     with ten thousand rivers of olive oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression,     the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.     And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy     and to walk humbly[a] with your God.

 

The Prelude is an opportunity to prepare one’s heart for our worship together. It provides a few moments to contemplate the Scripture readings and liturgy for the day. You are invited to sit in quiet contemplation and prayer to prepare your hearts for joyful worship. Please respect your neighbor during this time. The prelude usually starts about 10 minutes before the service and will now be proceeded with a scripture reading and commentary relevant to either the music being played or today’s lectionary.

 

What happens to your piano after the deep cycling of temperature and humidity we have been experiencing? This winter (as if I have to remind you) was exceptional in the unremitting cold which lasted 30 – 45 days longer than normal. Time will tell if this summer will match the winter in its extremity. But with one leg of the deep cycle completed, I think it is important to take a moment and consider what this winter did to our pianos.

The wood and felt in our pianos has lost much of its moisture; here is how some of the wood and felt components have reacted to these dryer conditions.

Keys

While wood may shrink as it dries, counter intuitively, the many holes found in the keys may also shrink causing key bushings and key pins to bind. Also the keys may deform and begin to rub on their neighbors. As the wood dries, the bond between your key tops and key sticks may break. It is not unusual for key tops to begin to lift, making clicking noises when played, or even just come right off. As your keys change dimensions, your piano’s action regulation can become very erratic; your keys may no longer be level and your hammer line (properly known as the blow) can become quite uneven.

Felt and Glue in Hammers & Center pin bushings

As your hammers dry out, you may find the tone quality becoming more “tinny” and thin sounding. The hammers will lose some of their resiliency. A less resilient hammer will bounce off the strings instead of “pushing” off, thereby leaving the upper partials more active, giving a tinny sound. It is also not unusual for the glue joint between the hammer and the shank to fail as the wood in both the hammer and the shank shrinks.

The felt in your center pin bushings will wear much faster as it dries. The result can be the center pins becoming too loose and even beginning to walk out so you can see them on the sides of the hammer shanks. If the pins walk far enough they can completely disengage with one side of the hammer shank, and then your hammers will really wobble around, enough to actually hit neighboring strings.

Soundboard

The most obvious effect from the drying of your piano occurs in the soundboard. As it dries out, its crown will begin to collapse. With less upward pressure on the strings, the piano will not only go “out of tune” but the pitch will begin to drop precipitously. The first to go is the low tenor, in the area just above the bass/tenor break. If you play an octave such as A1 and A2 (the second and third A’s from the bottom) on a larger piano (or any other octave which crosses the break) and it sounds out of tune, the odds are very strong that it is the upper note which has moved, not the lower.

By the time the pitch drop extends a little past A4, (the A about middle-C) the entire treble will begin to go out of tune, sometimes in a very chaotic manner.

As the soundboard continues to dry, cracks, which were invisible in the summer, will begin to open up. The glue joints between the ribs and panel may also fail. In the most extreme cases the soundboard may actually come unglued from the rim.

Pinblock

The most damaging change occurs in the pinblock which is located under the harp. All summer the pinblock was been full of moisture and swollen; crushing the wood fibers against the steel tuning pins. Now, after the deep drying cycle, the pinblock has given up much of its moisture content and the tuning pins and the screws can become quite loose. If an actual crack develops in the pinblock, the piano will become un-tunable and will need a new pinblock.

This is just a short summary of what our pianos experienced after the extreme cycles we have recently gone through. Feel free to give me a call or drop me a note to discuss any unusual things going on with your piano.

It is Well with My Soul

Horatio Spafford

Music by Philip Bliss

Tune: Ville du Havre

YouTube recording:  http://youtu.be/tPR-vSCRNlE

1)When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,

When sorrows like sea billows roll;

Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,

It is well, it is well with my soul.

(Refrain:) It is well (it is well), with my soul (with my soul),

It is well, it is well with my soul.

2) Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,

Let this blest assurance control,

That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,

And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

(Refrain)

3) My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought!

My sin, not in part but the whole,

Is nailed to His cross, and I bear it no more,

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

(Refrain)

4) For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:

If Jordan above me shall roll,

No pain shall be mine,

for in death as in life Thou wilt whisper

Thy peace to my soul.

(Refrain)

5) And Lord haste the day, when the faith shall be sight,

The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;

The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,

Even so, it is well with my soul.

(Refrain)

After the great fire of 1871, in my beloved home of Chicago, which destroyed nearly everything I owned, I spent my days helping those whose loses were even greater. I worked with my dear friend D.L. Moody to do whatever we could to help our neighbors. Out of this, I began to feel His calling to know Him ever more and to pursue a different path for my life.

A couple of years after the Great Fire, my beloved wife, Anna and our four young daughters set sail to Europe for an extended vacation and to visit Mr. Moody as he preached throughout England. At the last minute I was detained on business and would have to follow them later. While in New York, booking them on their passage, I felt a need to change their cabins from mid-ship to the bow. I am not sure why I did this, I just felt it had to be done.

Oh what tragedy! My heart is broken into pieces! Why, oh God, did you take my children from me?

Just days after leaving my arms, my precious children passed into His arms as the Ville du Havre sank to the ocean’s bottom, rammed mid-ships by another vessel. Only my beloved Anna survived.

After receiving Anna’s telegram which read: “Saved alone. What shall I do?” I set out immediately to bring my beloved and heartbroken Anna home. One day, during the crossing, the captain calls me to the bridge. He shows me on his chart where we are and tells me it is here that Annie, Margret Lee, Elizabeth, and my infant Tanetta went home to be with Jesus.

Upon returning to my cabin I pour out my anguish and my continued dependence upon my Savior. Despite my utterly broken heart, I know that peace, which flows through my life, comes from the blood of Christ which was shed for me. No matter the hardships or trials which Satan may throw my way, I can rest in the comfort of my Savior.

Andrew Remillard from the perspective of Horatio Spafford

(A few years later Horatio, Anna, and their two young daughter born after the tragedy, Bertha, and Grace move to Jerusalem. They established the American Colony and dedicated the remainder of their lives to the care of the poor and needy without regard to faith or status. Horatio died of malaria in 1888 and was buried at the Mount Zion Cemetery in Jerusalem. Anna continued their labors in Jerusalem until her death in 1923. Their daughter Bertha also lived her entire life in Jerusalem.)