Sunday, May 17, 2009

O Day of Rest and Gladness, O Day of Joy and Light

An old traditional hymn - the words written by Christopher Wordsworth, a distinguished English Bishop and a man of letters.

Christopher Wordsworth, 1807 - 1885

And a man of good sense.... This morning, because I didn't have to play the organ at church today, I was sorely tempted to stay home and 'worship' in the garden.

But then I thought of what 'worshipping' in the garden entailed. Probably another heavy battle with the coutch grass, which doesn't exactly typify a Day of Rest and Gladness. Or perhaps I would have been tempted to get the potatoes cut and planted, - or I would have been recruited as a go-fer as Charles stuck closely to his favourite maxim - 'never let a day go by without doing something useful'!

I preferred Christopher Wordsworth's advice, and so we went to church and sang some very modern 'inclusive' United Church Hymns. You must go a long way back to the 1938 edition of the Anglican Book of Common Prayer to find 'O Day of Rest and Gladness'.

Today we sang 'It Only Takes a Spark - Pass it On'.

I can't leave this subject without remarking on the inclusiveness of modern hymns. 'Dear Lord and Father of Mankind' has become 'Dear God Who loves all Humankind' - and then we have 'Dear Mother God your wings are warm'.....

My eyebrows shot skyward when instead of 'Halleluia' in an Easter response, the pew bulletin instructed us to say 'Hurrah, Hurrah'. Oh dear, how does one know when one is just too old and needs to 'hermatize'.

I have digressed from the subject of days of rest and gladness. We came home from church, with me still thinking 'days of rest', but with Charles thinking 'good opportunity to add that thing-a-ma-jig to the garden tractor'.

I had a little nap, fussed about the house a bit with a duster, read a few pages of the book I'm going to praise soon, - but Charles went out and fussed about the garage, frustrating himself because he couldn't find what he was looking for, - got down on his knees at least three times (a major endeavor getting up) and now I see him, poor darling, rubbing his paining hands, trying to ease his aching muscles, and all because nobody told him about The Bishop of Lincoln who recommends A Day of Rest and Gladness - in song.

I don't have to play the organ next Sunday, either......

(Photo borrowed from Flickr)


robert said...
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robert said...

Thanks for your reference to Christopher Wordsworth's fine hymn. Rather a rough and stern-looking gent, isn't he? But a great scholar and pastor, nonetheless. (And today is the 202nd anniversary of his birth.)

I did also want to comment on your lament about modern hymnody. There are exceptions, to be sure, but in general our traditional hymns and gospel songs have far more meat on the bones than the contemporary offerings.

And I decry the silly obsession with inclusive language. Attended a service not many years ago in which the congregation was asked to alternate "He's got the whole world in His hands" with stanzas proclaiming "She's got the whole world in her hands."

Not only do such changes ignore the language's legitimate use of "he" and him" generically, they often (as in my example) violate the Scriptures themselves. Editors need to leave well enough alone.

Well, there's my rant for the day! If you enjoy reading about our traditional hymnody, I invite you to check out my daily blog on the subject, Wordwise Hymns.