Daylight & Dark
Normally, my presentations are about hymns. However, as I prepared for this one I noticed a trend toward separating day and night in our hymns and prayers and lessons.
So, we see in our hymnal that there is a section for MORNING starting with hymn No. 1, “Father we praise thee now that night is over”
Then we come to No. 7 by Charles Wesley. This is considered one of the greatest Anglican hymns ever written by many authorities. Listen to it, as we read (not sing) the first verse together.
Next is No. 8, which I first heard a long time ago on the car radio. I never knew it was a hymn! Actually, the words are a wonderful celebration of the morning. So, let’s read it together and listen to the words, as we do.
There are 11 hymns in the MORNING section.
The next section is NOONDAY and quite simply hymns 16 and 17 both have the same words but different music. The purpose of both hymns, as is the purpose of the NOONDAY section, is to call the workers from their work to the Angelus, which is probably the first break the field workers had each day. Let’s read the first verse of No. 23 together remembering it was first written in Latin.
EVENING is the next section in the hymnal and these are not too familiar to us because we generally use Compline as an evening service. It is from the COMPLINE section that we get the beautifully written “Now the day is over” Hymn No.42 by Sabine Baring-Gould. Let’s read the first verse as well as the sixth, which is a tribute to a restful and cleansing sleep.
You may find it of interest to know that “Now the day is over” was written by the same man who gave us the more strident: “Onward Christian Soldiers” The music for that was written by Arthur Seymour Sullivan of Gilbert and Sullivan fame. You might also find it of interest to know that at one time, Baring-Gould was responsible for writing more books in the British Museum than any other author. He used the income to rebuild his parish church and home.
Also in the COMPLINE section is hymn No. 43, “All praise to thee” which also emphasizes our day/night theme. It is often part of our Compline Service. So, let’s read the first verse of that one too. You might also note that the last verse of No. 43 is “The Doxology”.
Then after COMPLINE, we move on to the SUNDAY hymns in the hymnal. Our day is done! We have had MORNING, NOONDAY, and the evening or COMPLINE. After SUNDAY hymns, the hymnal goes on to hymns of the several church seasons such as Advent, Easter, and Christmas, etc.
In closing and in keeping with our evening service, Fr. Paul used the New Zealand Prayer Book to come up with our “Second Sunday at Six Program” from which we have a few lines that have become “words to live by” for any of us who live our lives in a hurry:
“It is the night after a long day what has been done, has been done
What has not been done, has not been done, LET IT BE!”