Sunday, 10 May 2015

'All Creatures of our God and King'

The paraphrase of St Francis of Assisi's 'Canticle of the Sun' by William Draper, set to music by Ralph Vaughan Williams and based on a seventeenth century German Easter hymn tune. Sung here by the Choir of Liverpool Cathedral

Saturday, 9 May 2015

For 'Rogation Sunday'

from Enid Chadwick: 'My Book of the Church's Year'

Almighty and everlasting God, 
who art always more ready to hear than we to pray, 
and art wont to give more than either we desire or deserve: 
pour down upon us the abundance of thy mercy; 
forgiving us those things whereof our conscience is afraid, 
and giving us those good things which we are not worthy to ask,
 but through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, thy Son, our Lord. Amen.

Humili prece - Litany for the Processions on Rogation Days: Schola Hungarica, Szendrei Janka, Dobszay László

Friday, 8 May 2015

Victory in Europe Day 2015

The day after the General Election, part of the Cenotaph ceremony to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the war in Europe.

Morten Lauridsen's Lux Æterna, performed by the Los Angeles Master Chorale and Sinfonia Orchestra, directed by Paul Salamunovich

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Light to end the day ....

T.S. Eliot reading 'O Light Invisible' from his own Choruses from 'The Rock'

And a setting of the chant 'Joyful Light' from the Rachmaninov Vespers 

As we cast our votes ...

"Without God man neither knows which way to go, nor even understands who he is. In the face of the enormous problems surrounding the development of peoples, which almost make us yield to discouragement, we find solace in the sayings of our Lord Jesus Christ, who teaches us: “Apart from me you can do nothing” (Jn 15:5) and then encourages us: “I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Mt 28:20). As we contemplate the vast amount of work to be done, we are sustained by our faith that God is present alongside those who come together in his name to work for justice. Paul VI recalled in Populorum Progressio that man cannot bring about his own progress unaided, because by himself he cannot establish an authentic humanism. Only if we are aware of our calling, as individuals and as a community, to be part of God's family as his sons and daughters, will we be able to generate a new vision and muster new energy in the service of a truly integral humanism. The greatest service to development, then, is a Christian humanism[157] that enkindles charity and takes its lead from truth, accepting both as a lasting gift from God. Openness to God makes us open towards our brothers and sisters and towards an understanding of life as a joyful task to be accomplished in a spirit of solidarity. On the other hand, ideological rejection of God and an atheism of indifference, oblivious to the Creator and at risk of becoming equally oblivious to human values, constitute some of the chief obstacles to development today. A humanism which excludes God is an inhuman humanism. Only a humanism open to the Absolute can guide us in the promotion and building of forms of social and civic life — structures, institutions, culture and ethos — without exposing us to the risk of becoming ensnared by the fashions of the moment. Awareness of God's undying love sustains us in our laborious and stimulating work for justice and the development of peoples, amid successes and failures, in the ceaseless pursuit of a just ordering of human affairs. God's love calls us to move beyond the limited and the ephemeral, it gives us the courage to continue seeking and working for the benefit of all, even if this cannot be achieved immediately and if what we are able to achieve, alongside political authorities and those working in the field of economics, is always less than we might wish[158]. God gives us the strength to fight and to suffer for love of the common good, because he is our All, our greatest hope."
Benedict XVI: Encyclical Letter, Caritas in Veritate (2009) 6. 78 

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Prayers for General Election Day

Lord, we give thanks for the privileges and responsibilities 
of living in a democratic society.
Give us wisdom to play our part at election time, 
that, through the exercise of each vote, your Kingdom may come closer.
Protect us from the sins of despair and cynicism, 
guard us against the idols of false utopias 
and strengthen us to make politics a noble calling 
that serves the common good of all.
We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.

[The Church of England, 6th May 2015]

Almighty God, the source of all wisdom: 
direct, we pray thee, the minds of those now called to elect fit persons 
to serve as our representatives in the House of Commons, 
that they may have clear discernment and an earnest desire for the common good; 
this we ask in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

[The Church in Wales Book of Common Prayer 1984]

'Islamophobia' - yet again

Cranmer has a disturbing post today (by Canon Gavin Ashenden) about the possibility, given a Labour or Labour-led victory in the British General Election tomorrow, of the enactment of a specific law against 'islamophobia.' [here]
One might very well argue that the current law (in fact, a series of statutes, the Public Order Act of 1986, the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act of 1994 and the Crime and Disorder Act of 1998) is more than sufficient to counter any problems Britain's various minority communities may have in terms of  those who seek to incite hatred or violence against them. 

However, to elevate one specific religion (indeed, in the contemporary world, a faith whose more vocal and extreme adherents are noted for encouraging and inflicting violence against others rather than for their vulnerable peaceability) as deserving a special protection over and above other faiths would be a singularly retrograde step, and would, without any doubt, be used by some more 'radical' followers of Mohammed, and their fellow-travellers, to attempt to restrict free speech and even disinterested (in its correct sense) historical scholarship and research in a country which, largely due to its Christian heritage, has until now rightly prided itself on the rule of law and the protection of the liberty of speech, thought, and association of its citizens.

Of course, politicians are notorious for making promises whilst standing for election which they have no intention of honouring when in office; however, the very fact that such a commitment seems to have been made, is a disturbing sign that many of our political leaders are so captive to a now largely discredited ideology of multiculturalism that they fail to understand the very nature of law and liberty. Far from being an enrichment of our society's well-deserved reputation for hospitality and tolerance, the passing of an anti-islamophobia law would constitute a considerable impoverishment of our political, religious and intellectual culture.