31 Oct 2022

The Canterbury Trail: worship and reformation

Robert Webber
Modern Reformation recently published an article by Gillis Harp with a very long title: Evangelicals on the Canterbury Trail: Reflections on the Pilgrimage to Anglicanism Nearly 40 Years After Webber’s Classic. Although I am not an Anglican, I read Robert Webber's book, Evangelicals on the Canterbury Trail: Why Evangelicals Are Attracted to the Liturgical Church, and I found myself deeply sympathetic to his concerns. In fact, I have worshipped in Anglican and Episcopal churches at various times throughout my life, most recently between 2003 and 2008 when our family attended regularly the Church of St. John the Evangelist here in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

I did not know Webber very well personally, although I grew up in Wheaton, Illinois, home of Wheaton College, where he taught for many years. But he was a colleague of my wife, who was a faculty member in the same department for six years, and he was a guest at our wedding. I also contributed at least two articles to his Complete Library of Christian Worship. What drew many Christians to his project to recover the ancient glories of Christian worship was a recognition of the superficiality of their own traditions. As Harp observes,

27 Oct 2022

How to read the cursing Psalms

William Eby has posted something in First Things today that has relevance to my own interests in this blog: How to read the cursing Psalms. An excerpt:

For Christians, the Cursing Psalms raise a further difficulty: Within the Christian mind, the words of the psalms and the voice of Christ often converge. The Gospel writers frequently interpose the words of the psalms into the mouth of their Savior, who most famously quotes Psalm 22 at the hour of his death: “My God my God, why have you forsaken me?” Like the Psalmist in Psalm 69, Christ is given vinegar and gall to drink while on the cross (Matt. 27:33). However, he then expresses the opposite sentiment of the psalm: He petitions his Father to have mercy on his executioners.

How are we, then, to understand these words coming out the mouth of a righteous disciple of the Law of Moses, and how are we to understand them as coming out of the mouth of the most Holy Son?

Read here for the author's answer. My own approach to these Psalms can be found here: God as judge: praying the imprecatory Psalms.

26 Oct 2022

Psalm/Psalmul 130

Another gem from the Dorz/Moldoveanu Psalter, recently republished in a new edition: Psalmul 130 la Conferința "Cântați lui Dumnezeu Psalmi". This was sung at the Psalm conference in Oradea, Romania, a few weeks ago.

19 Oct 2022

Daily Prayer: current pattern

Since I was a young man, I have followed the ancient western pattern of daily prayer associated with the Benedictines, known as the daily office. I first encountered this pattern in Herbert Lindemann's The Daily Office, published in 1965 by Concordia, the publishing arm of the Lutheran ChurchMissouri Synod. You can read some of this story here: Daily prayer: a new pattern. Although I have maintained this basic pattern for decades, I have occasionally changed some of its elements, such as putting aside the Daily Office Lectionary for a lectio continua approach to the Scriptures. The Psalms are at the very centre of daily prayer. Accordingly, I follow the 30-day schedule for praying through the Psalms as set forth in the Book of Common Prayer's Psalter. As of today, I am in the book of James at morning prayer and in Joshua at evening prayer. Here is the pattern of morning and evening prayer I am following at present:

The Phos Ilaron, "O Gladsome Light," is an ancient Greek hymn possibly dating back to the 3rd century AD. It is thought to be the oldest Christian hymn still in use today.

11 Oct 2022

Psalm/Psalmu 42

Of all the tunes I've heard from the Dorz/Moldoveanu Romanian metrical psalter, I find the tune for Psalm 42 the most haunting. See what you think.

Psalm/Psalmul 134

10 Oct 2022

El canto de los salmos en el siglo XVI

Un video sobre el Salterio de Ginebra en español:

Contrariamente a la narración, el Salterio se completó en 1562, no en 1564. La música es del Salmo 2.

A video on the Genevan Psalter in Spanish. The music is from Psalm 2. Contrary to the narration, the Psalter was completed in 1562, not 1564. An excerpt from the script: "The Calvinists would sing the Psalms freely not only in their churches but also in the homes and workplaces, in the streets and in the field."

6 Oct 2022

Psalm/Psalmul 19 in Romanian

Our Romanian brothers and sisters are still busily posting performances of the Moldoveanu/Dorz metrical Psalms on the Psalmii Cântați YouTube channel. The most recent is Psalm 19:

4 Oct 2022

Links to Genevan and Sternhold & Hopkins Psalters

I have placed in the right sidebar links to Les Pseaumes mis en rime francoise, par Clement Marot, & Theodore de Beze, that is, a scanned copy of the first complete edition of the 1562 Genevan Psalter, and to The Whole Book of Psalms collected into English metre, better known as the Sternhold & Hopkins Psalter, also completed in 1562. These are, of course, the two major metrical psalters that would come to influence continental Europe and the English-speaking world respectively. In fact, some scholars believe that Thomas Sternhold (1500-1549) virtually invented ballad metre, or what our hymnals call common metre (CM), consisting of alternating iambic lines of eight and six syllables. Ballad metre became the standard for successive metrical psalters, including Tate & Brady's "New Version" Psalter of 1696 and the Scottish Psalter of 1650.

3 Oct 2022

Psalm conference: Oradea, Romania

This past weekend, the long anticipated Psalm conference took place in Oradea, Romania, coinciding with the republication of Cântările Psalmilor, containing the versified texts of Traian Dorz and the music of Nicolae Moldoveanu. If you understand any of the western romance languages, you may be able to pick out bits of these lectures and discussions, but do listen to the music, which is an international language.

Book of Common Prayer: Miles Coverdale's Psalter

Two months ago I acquired a copy of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer: International Edition, which was recently published by InterVarsity Press. Although there were earlier editions of the BCP published in 1549, 1552, 1559, and 1604, the 1662 became the standard Prayer Book enduring throughout subsequent centuries in the Church of England and in the other Anglican provinces around the globe. This edition was adopted two years after the restoration of the Stuarts to the thrones of the three kingdoms under King Charles II, and it represents the definitive version of the BCP, coming at the end of a period of intense civil strife and religious turmoil.

The heart of the BCP is, of course, the 150 Psalms. Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, who was responsible for the first BCP during the reign of the boy king, Edward VI, combined the monastic prayer offices used throughout the day into the two offices of Morning and Evening Prayer, which are found at the beginning of the volume. He organized the Psalms to be prayed through in their canonical order every thirty days at these two prayer offices. Last month I followed this schedule and used the Psalms in this volume, as translated by Miles Coverdale. Unlike the King James Version, which was translated from the Hebrew, Coverdale translated the Psalms from the Latin Vulgate and from Luther's German Bible.