Canticle 13 – A Song of Praise

It takes a lot to get me jazzed about the Service Music in our current hymnal (1982) or any of its supplements (LEVAS II, WLP, and Voice Found).  You would think, with the 1979 Book of Common Prayer’s move to the Eucharist as the “principal act of worship on a Sunday morning,” there would be some impetus to create decent setting for the Gloria and Sanctus.  After six years of searching, it seems clear that very few have taken up the call to write good Eucharistic service music for the liturgy of The Episcopal Church, which is a real shame.  My sadness is made more profound by the loss of some of the great musical setting of our Church, the Canticles, which rarely get airtime outside of seminary and monastic communities because nobody does the Daily Office with music anymore.

It takes a lot to get me jazzed about the Service Music in our current hymnal (1982), but this note does it for me.

This Sunday, the First Sunday after Pentecost is a chance for the Church to contemplate the depths of our Trinitarian faith.  While Scripture is fairly weak on a systematic theology of the Trinity, and the lessons appointed for Trinity Sunday, Year C don’t help much, we are given the chance to sing or read Canticle 13, “A Song of Praise” instead of a Psalm this week, and I encourage every person reading this blog to take that option.  I’ll even be so bold as to say that you should sing John Rutter’s high and lofty setting, S-236, if only to hear your organ belt out that high G pictured above.  The Trinity can’t be explained in a three leaf clover or as fire, flame and heat, but the love of God, poured out in perfect relationship between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, can surely be experienced in the hearts of those who raise their voices to the high vault of heaven and sing, “Glory to you!”

4 thoughts on “Canticle 13 – A Song of Praise

  1. We sang this every Sunday during the Easter season, and I got to sing this beautiful descant. It just doesn’t get much better than this!

  2. Steve and Friends to this article – I love this canticle…it doesn’t get much better than this! We will use this tomorrow in worship at the Liberty UMC – Liberty, Missouri USA as our Prelude/Introit. This is our last Sunday for the Chancel Choir to sing before they take a two month hiatus for the summer. I love the Trinitarian part of this but also the fact that it is based on the Song of the Three Men. Mr. Rutter has always been able to create magic in his writing whether it is unison or in parts. This particular descant and organ accompaniment is so perfect! Keep singing it and yes, it will preach! Thanks for the article!

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