Wednesday, December 26, 2007

God's Choice

The text of the Vaughan Williams Hodie alternates between narration--straight from the Authorized Version of the Bible and sung by unison treble voices--and poetic commentary, drawn from a variety of sources. Today's snippet is from Miles Coverdale, a sixteenth century Church of England bishop who is best known as a translator of the scriptures. His version was the standard English text until the commission appointed by King James I completed its work in 1611. Coverdale's translation of the Psalms found its way into the Book of Common Prayer, and is what you will hear at Evensong in English cathedrals to this day.

This poem presents us with mystery compounding mystery. The Incarnation is astonishing enough just in itself. But to assay the notion that is was an elective procedure taxes the nimblest imagination.

The blessed son of God only
In a crib full poor did lie;
With our poor flesh and our poor blood
Was clothed that everlasting good.

The Lord Christ Jesu, God's son dear,
Was a guest and a stranger here;
Us for to bring from misery,
That we might live eternally.

All this did he for us freely,
For to declare his great mercy;
All Christendom be merry therefore,
And give him thanks for evermore.

1 comment:

liturgy said...

“In Mary God has grown small to make us great.”
St. Ephrem (d. 373)

Christmas blessings from one Anglican blog to another
Bosco Peters