Trinity Sunday – I saw the Lord (Stainer)

…I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and His train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings, and with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another: Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Hosts: the whole earth is full of His glory. And the posts of the door moved with the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. (Isaiah 6:1b-4)

O Trinity! O Unity!
Be present as we worship Thee,
And with the songs that angels sing
Unite the hymns of praise we bring.

Book Review (Kind Of): In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick

So, a piece of info about your blogmistress that probably won’t surprise anyone: I don’t normally buy books without reading reviews of them first, because I don’t want to end up paying money for something that looked good but turned out to be deficient or substandard in some way. I made an exception for In the Heart of the Sea when I found it at the front of Books-a-Million last month, for a few reasons. One, it was a mass-market paperback so it didn’t cost too much; two, Nathaniel Philbrick is a well-known historian with a good reputation; and three, flipping through it, I realized it would give me an opportunity to expand upon a topic I’d already discussed here at Scarlet Letters. And on that note, if you’ve seen the In the Heart of the Sea movie that was recently made, you’re probably wondering what a book about whaling and survival at sea has to do with the usual fare here (Christian gender issues and patriocentricity). Continue reading

Easter – When Mary thro’ the garden went (Stanford)

When Mary thro’ the garden went,
There was no sound of any bird,
And yet, because the night was spent,
The little grasses lightly stirred,
The flowers awoke, the lilies heard.

When Mary thro’ the garden went,
The dew lay still on flower and grass,
The waving palms above her sent
Their fragrance out as she did pass.
No light upon their branches was.

When Mary thro’ the garden went,
Her eyes were dim.
The grass beneath her footsteps bent,
The solemn lilies, white and slim,
These also stood and wept for Him.

When Mary thro’ the garden went,
She sought within the garden ground
One for whom her heart was rent,
One who for her sake was bound,
One who sought, and she was found.

(Mary Elizabeth Coleridge, 1861-1907)

Good Friday – Popule meus (Victoria)

Popule meus, quid feci tibi?
Aut in quo contristavi te?
Responde mihi.

Quia eduxi te de terra Aegypti:
Parasti crucem Salvatori tuo.

Hagios o Theos. Sanctus Deus.
Hagios ischyros. Sanctus fortis.

My people, what have I done to you?
Or how have I offended you?
Answer Me.

I led you out of the land of the Egyptians;
You have prepared a cross for your Savior.

O holy God! Holy strong One!

Quia eduxi te per desertum quadraginta annis,
Et manna cibavi te:
Et introduxi in terra satis optimam:
Parasti crucem Salvatori tuo.

Hagios ischyros. Sanctus fortis.

I led you through the desert for forty years,
And fed you with manna,
And brought you into a land exceeding good;
You have prepared a cross for your Savior.

O holy strong One!

Ego quidem plantavi te vineam meam speciossissam,
Et tu facta es mihi nimis amara:
Aceto namque sitim meam potasti,
Et lancea perforasti latus Salvatori tuo.

Hagios athanatos, eleison ymas.
Sanctus immortalis, miserere nobis.

I planted you, My most beautiful vineyard,
And you have become exceeding bitter to Me;
For in my thirst you gave Me vinegar to drink,
And with a spear you pierced the side of your Savior.

O holy and immortal One, have mercy upon us.

Maundy Thursday – Hoc corpus (Robledo)

Hoc corpus quod pro vobis tradetur:
Hic calix novi testamenti est in meo sanguine, dicit Dominus:
Hoc facite quotiescumque sumitis, in meam commemorationem.

This is My body which is given for you;
This cup is the new testament in My blood, saith the Lord;
Do this as often as you meet together in remembrance of Me.

Scarlet Letters Christmas “Concert” 2015

Hello again readers. In case you were wondering, no, Scarlet Letters is not dead or closed! Though, for various reasons, I have not had much time or energy for posting and research these past few months. Rest assured, my Botkin series is still important to me (and, I think, important for current and potential readers) and I will continue it as I am able. But in the mean time, I wouldn’t want to skip wishing my readers a merry Christmas with the annual “concert” I’ve posted every year since this blog began, so let’s get started.

First is In the Bleak Midwinter…though not the familiar setting by Gustav Holst that you may know. (If you don’t, you can hear it here.) For full disclosure, I suppose I ought to admit that I am a big Holst partisan, and have been since I was about 5 years old (thank you, squeaky old cassette of The Planets!) I was, however, introduced to this other setting by Harold Darke this year, and it has grown on me a bit the more I’ve listened to it. So in the end, I suppose I enjoy both versions for different reasons. And yes, I know the weather in this particular carol may ring a bit hollow for any readers who may be listening in from Australia. 🙂

In the bleak midwinter
Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter,
Long ago.

Our God, heav’n cannot hold Him,
Nor earth sustain;
Heav’n and earth shall flee away
When He comes to reign;
In the bleak midwinter
A stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty,
Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, whom cherubim
Worship night and day,
A breast full of milk
And a manger full of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels
Fall down before,
The ox and ass and camel
Which adore.

What can I give Him,
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd,
I would bring a lamb;
If I were a wise man,
I would do my part;
But what can I give Him –
Give my heart.

Next up is a little setting of In dulci jubilo (or Good Christian Men, Rejoice) by renowned French organist Marcel Dupre. I’ve often used this piece for service music around Christmastime. It’s an especially nice example of the voix celeste, a deliberately (slightly) out-of-tune stop meant to simulate the sound of strings.

On a darker note, here is a performance of Coventry Carol by the Raleigh Ringers (arrangement by Sandra Eithun). Coventry Carol, originally from a medieval English mystery play, is a lullaby for the children slaughtered by Herod, from their mothers’ perspective. Technically this is a bit early, as Holy Innocents’ Day isn’t until the 28th, but I like this arrangement (and Raleigh Ringers) so much that I simply had to include it.

Finally, I know I included The Holly and the Ivy last year, but 1) holly and ivy symbolism is one of my favorite Christmas carol themes, and 2) this recording by the 1970s British folk rock band Steeleye Span came to my attention this past year and I love it. It’s also a tune I’d never heard before; I still don’t know if it was composed by the band, or if it’s a traditional tune that I missed.

Enjoy, and merry Christmas all! 🙂