Tuesday, August 7, 2012

"Hymn of the Day," 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle B

As I've mentioned here previously, when I began toying with the idea of writing hymns based on the Sunday Lectionary readings, I used the Psalm of the day as the framework. After all, the Psalm is a song. It lends itself to hymns, as we see in the Genevan Psalter, and in the work of Isaac Watts. 

For next Sunday's hymn, I simply took my first two lines from the Psalm, and the rest unfolded quite naturally in other directions. I had a hymn tune in mind, St. Thomas (Williams), which to my ears sounds joyful, even effervescent, yet solemn enough for the subject matter, with its staid initial rising 4th. The text that I wrote to this tune is frankly confessional. It can be used with or without verses 2 and 3, which alone make it recognizable as lectionary-derived.

The text is below, and here and here are Colin Brumby's thoughtful variations on a single setting.

O taste and you will see
the goodness of the Lord:
humanity, divinity,
the Body and the Blood.

God fed His wand'ring fold
with manna from the sky.
Much better This than bread of old:
we eat and never die.

Elijah once was fed
when he could walk no more.
An angel brought to him that bread--
the angels This adore.

To those who would be filled,
this food is life indeed.
To give it Life Himself was killed,
and we from death are freed.

O worthy is the Lamb,
our slain and risen Lord,
the Son of Mary, God and man:
our Eucharist adored.