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Sunday, January 04, 2009

Sunday Afternoon Video: Songs of Thankfulness and Praise

I love this hymn, although I'm accustomed to hearing it played rather faster than this.

I am sorry I can't get the video to embed...but you can get to it here.

The tune is wonderful; it has a fantastic descant, but the words are the best part.

The last line of each stanza in the original reads: "God in man made manifest." I grew up with that, and I like the alliteration and the intent of the word "MAN" in "manifest; but let's try hearing it a different and more inclusive way today:

Songs of thankfulness and praise,
Jesus, Lord, to thee we raise,
manifested by the star
to the sages from afar;
branch of royal David's stem
in thy birth at Bethlehem;
anthems be to thee addressed,
God in us made manifest.

Manifest at Jordan's stream,
Prophet, Priest and King supreme;
and at Cana, wedding guest,
in thy Godhead manifest;
manifest in power divine,
changing water into wine;
anthems be to thee addressed,
God in us made manifest.

Manifest in making whole
palsied limbs and fainting soul;
manifest in valiant fight,
quelling all the devil's might;
manifest in gracious will,
ever bringing good from ill;
anthems be to thee addressed,
God in us made manifest.

Sun and moon shall darkened be,
stars shall fall, the heavens shall flee;
Christ will then like lightning shine,
all will see his glorious sign;
all will then the trumpet hear,
all will see the Judge appear;
thou by all wilt be confessed,
God in us made manifest.

Grant us grace to see thee, Lord,
mirrored in thy holy Word;
may we imitate thee now,
and be pure, as pure art thou;
that we like to thee may be
at thy great Epiphany;
and may praise thee, ever blest,
God in us made manifest.

Words: Christopher Wordsworth (1807-1885), 1862
The Hymnal 1982, number 135

What did you sing in worship today? What are your favorite musical parts of Epiphany? Please share in the comments!


  1. We Thee Kings, of course. We have these great papier mache kings that we process with a star. It's great fun.

  2. We had Lord's Supper as one of our first acts of worship in the New Year, concluded by a singing of Lift Up Your Hearts Unto the Lord, which absolutely rocked my socks!

  3. Oh, I love this hymn too, Mary Beth--we sang it at my goddaughter's baptism. I like it partly for the words and partly for the tune...."Salzburg" is beautiful and also the tune to "At the Lamb's High Feast We Sing," an Easter hymn we used at EldestDaughter's funeral. I like this inclusivization--I am used to "God in flesh made manifest."

    We sang First Nowell at the end of church, all six verses like good Episcopalians, and probably We Three Kings at the beginning--but I'm not sure cause I was doing it on guitar with the 7 to 10 year olds. Only three kids, all boys, and they enthusiastically sang all five verses and asked to do it again. One of them also said, when asked about how incense in church makes them feel, "Like my heart is growing."

  4. We definitely sang We Three Kings and What Star Is This With Beams So Bright. In the middle we sang a John Bell hymn to the tune of "If thou but trust in God to Guide Thee"--it was called Wise Men They Came. It's in the new Scottish Hymnal (CH4, purple). It was perfect, and the overtones of the tune helped too.

    We also had the choir at one service, singing True Light, which starts with This Little Light of Mine, and has rockin' gospel solos. SOOOO perfect for the day!! And, of course, at 2 services the band played the Barenaked Ladies/Sarah McLachlan version of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/We Three Kings. So cool! A good morning all around--good music, good liturgy, great poems "by" each of the "3" kings, fun communion, and out in an hour. (interim was gone today so I made sure to move the service along...)


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