I discovered a lot about the 1982 Episcopal Hymnal in preparation for last year’s Hymn-a-thon. Our choir spent 12 hours on Sunday, March 3, 2014 singing every hymn in our hymnal as a Music Ministry Fundraiser. Instead of singing straight through the hymnal, I decided we should sing through the hymns in various groupings just to keep things interesting for us.
Did you know that a section of the Episcopal hymnal is arranged by the church year? Check out the Contents pages of the 1982 Hymnal to locate the section titled The Church Year. As you will discover, hymn numbers 47-293 or approximately 1/3 of the hymns in the hymnal comprise this section. For those of you fascinated with the seasons of the church year as I am, you will find this section of the hymnal most enlightening.
For example, since we have now entered the season of Lent, you may find it interesting to note over the next four Sundays of Lent, how many hymns from the Lent section, hymn numbers 140-152, we will sing in our services. These hymns, along with others illuminating the scriptures of each Sunday will form the basis of our music for Lent.
The hymns of The Church Year can also be used to create lovely devotionals. The text by Claudia Frances Hernaman of hymn #142 could serve as a poignant Lenten devotional. Use a different verse each week of Lent as a mediation, or, as a daily devotional, read through these glorious stanzas to be reminded each day during Lent of the “Easter of unending joy” that is our hope and promise.
“Lord, who throughout these forty days for us didst fast and pray, teach us with thee to mourn our sins, and close by thee to stay.
As thou with Satan didst contend and didst the victory win, O give us strength in thee to fight, in thee to conquer sin.
As thou didst hunger bear and thirst, so teach us, gracious Lord, to die to self, and chiefly live by thy most holy word.
An through these days of penitence, and through thy Passiontide, yea, evermore, in life and death, Jesus! with us abide.
Abide with us, that so, this life of suffering overpast, an Easter of undending joy we may attain at last!”
Take time to look for the rich blessings in this magnificent book, our 1982 Hymnal.
Dr. Jeannine Jordan is the Organist and Minister of Music at St. Bede Episcopal Church in Forest Grove, Oregon. She and her husband, David, are also the creators and presenters of two organ and multi-media concert experiences, From Sea to Shining Sea and Bach and Sons.