To begin, you will not find the word awesome on any post I’ve written before this. I only use the word to describe that which inspires awe.
The Lord is so kind. The one hymn I’ve wanted for my funeral since I was 19 years old, Vaughan Williams’ For All the Saints, is now regularly sung by my loved ones and fellow worshipers. If I were to die tonight, I have all the confidence that my wishes to have this song sung at my funeral would be fulfilled. I could not say that ten years ago.
After we had sung Only-Begotten, Word of God Eternal during communion today, I notified my husband that he only has to remember two hymns: For All the Saints and Only-Begotten. This Latin hymn from the ninth century is one of the most potent expressions of worship. The music (click on MIDI for a creepy electronic sound [I’m searching for a better version], print out the music free on Adobe) has a majesty and gravitas that is unparalleled. I am never able to sing through every verse. Lumps, great lumps, arise. The Trinitarian benediction is glorious.
Lord of creation, merciful and mighty:
Hear now Thy servants, when their joyful voices
Rise to Thy presence.
This is Thy temple; here Thy presence holy;
Here may Thy servants, at the mystic banquet,
Humbly adoring, take Thy body broken,
Drink of Thy chalice.
Here in our sickness, healing grace aboundeth,
Light in our blindness, in our toil refreshment:
Sin is forgiven, hope o’er fear prevaileth,
Joy over sorrow.
Hallowed this dwelling where the Lord abideth,
This is none other than the gate of heaven;
Strangers and pilgrims, seeking homes eternal,
Pass through its portals.
Lord, we beseech Thee, as we throng Thy temple,
By Thy past blessings, by Thy present bounty,
Favor Thy children, and with tender mercy
Hear our petitions.
God in three Persons, Father everlasting,
Son co-eternal, ever-blessed Spirit,
Thine be the glory, praise, and adoration,
Now and forever.