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18

Biblical References to Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh: Gold is a highly valued commodity – not just for its beauty and use in jewellery and decorations, but also for its status. The Bible describes the wealth of King Solomon and how the Queen of Sheba gave Solomon 120 talents of gold (about 4 tons). Solomon also received 666 talents of gold every year – that’...


15

Why do Christians stand to sing ? I think the reasons are fundamental to the act, so I do not see biblical instructions or precedents to be relevant. One may ask, how one should eat a meal : should one sit, or recline ? One may ask, how should one read the bible : should one be seated or kneeling ? These are matters of preference and matters of practicality,...


13

From studying, I found that Ebenezer means "Stone of help"; I've discovered many verses that remind us that God is our help and strength (Psalm 46) and we can be channels of his help to others--from Eve, the helpmeet for Adam, to Dorcas, helping the poor (Acts:9.36)--and all of us can have the gift of "helping others" (1 Cor:12.28). The writer of the hymn ...


10

The text, "Let All Mortal Flesh keep Silence", may be a close contender to the Phos Hilaron. It is in common use in some English speaking churches in the West, and the text is thought by some authorities to date back to the third century, perhaps 275 AD, or about the time of the Phos. But this begs the question of exactly what you are looking for by way of ...


10

The bee represents Mary, the mother of Jesus. (In fact, it's a fairly safe bet that just about anything represents Jesus or Mary or both.) Other versions of the Exultet text make this explicit; the "Franco-Roman version" has a long we-love-bees section, as recorded by Thomas Forrest Kelley in his The Exultet in Southern Italy (OUP, 1996), p38, ...


9

Dies Irae is a Latin hymn or sequence prescribed for the Roman Catholic Requiem Mass (Mass for the Dead or Funeral Mass) as well as on the Feast of All Souls (November 2) until the liturgical reforms which followed the Second Vatican Council. It could be noted that there are more translations in English than in any other modern language of this hymn. By 1913,...


8

I think Philippians chapter 2 shares some good light on this: 5 ...Christ Jesus, 6 Who, existing in the form of God, did not consider being equal with God a treasure to be grasped, 7 But emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave, becoming in the likeness of men; 8 And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, becoming obedient even unto ...


8

The mercy seat is an incredibly dense and intertextual image, with a long history in Christian culture. Below is an illustration by Michiel van der Borch from a 1332 copy of the "Rhyme Bible" (which despite the name, does not rhyme and is not a Bible), showing many facets of the concept. 1 Here, God the Father sits on a throne that might look a ...


8

The complete text of the carol can be found here. It seems that of the five verses, only verse one and three are included in the (english) Hymnbook (linked by OP). This specific verse seems of rather trinitarian thought, that may be a reason. Seeing that two other verses have also been omitted: Come, Desire of nations, come, Fix in us Thy humble home; ...


8

He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God - John 1:10-12 The hymn writers are employing literary devices intended, not to exaggerate Christ's ...


7

The estimated date of Luther composing this hymn is between 1527-1528. In the summer of 1528 the city Luther lived in fell to the bubonic plague. Instead of evacuating Luther chose to risk disease and stay ministering. Some scholars have argued that during these weeks of the plague, in which also the tenth “anniversary” of the posting of The Ninety-...


7

According to this site, the first draft of the song actually had the words In the whiteness of the lilies he was born across the sea And then the final version of the song, which was first published in 1862 had the words In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea That same site references a book by Edmund Wilson entitled Patriotic ...


6

The answer I think may be found by comparing it to that other song from the same general time period that says "He's the Lily of the Valley, the Bright and Morning Star; He's the fairest of ten thousand to my soul." (i.e. The Lilly of the Valley). Its reference to Song of Solomon 2:1, "I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys."


6

Paul's Greek was ψαλμοις, υμνοις and ωδαις πνευματικαις. Thayer's Greek Lexicon (via Blue Letter Bible) has ύμνος, -ου, ο, in Greek writing from Homer down, a song in praise of gods, heroes, conquerors, [cf. Trench as below, p297], but in the Scriptures of God; a sacred song, hymn. Thayer quotes Richard Chevinix Trench's Synonyms of the New Testament: ...


6

Byzantine Modes What does each individual mode convey? What are the goals of expression? First, I have to explain one small part of the music. Modes 1-4 in Byzantine music, are each a unique scale, while modes 5-8 are a derivation of such, being called Plagal modes. Most often the modes are called 1st-4th mode, and then Plagal First mode, Plagal Second ...


6

First, just to be clear, this line is about Christ's birth, not about his being carried somewhere. As explained at Grammarist.com here: "Borne is the past tense and past participle of bear in all senses not related to birth," while "Born is also a past tense and past participle of bear, but it’s reserved mainly for use as the passive verb in contexts ...


6

Songwriting is Word Sculpture It is hard to nail down what goes on in a poet's or a song writer's head as they sculpt words and phrases to craft a verse. (As a dabbler in poetry I reach far and wide for rhythm and rhyme. It's not as easy as it looks). Any estimate is at best partly right without an explicit statement from the artist. But there are ...


6

Fourteenth to fifteenth centuries England was Catholic. The most common hymn sung by the faithful could possibly be the Latin hymn: "In paradisum". This hymn is still quite popular and I have sung it on many occasions as the body of a defunct has been lowered into the earth at a cemetery. Traditional religious still sing this at the graveside of their ...


6

The singing of hymns as we understand them today wasn't necessarily a major part of medieval Christianity. As Ken Graham's answer says, the best known texts would have been those from the Requiem Mass, of which In Paradisum is probably the best known (along with Pie Iesu, the last part of the Dies Irae). Another common text would be the Libera Me, sung both ...


5

Redman started leading worship at St Andrews, Chorleywood, moving to help start up Soul Survivor alongside Mike Pilavachi and was the worship leader for the Soul Survivor Church in Watford. According to founder Mike Pilavachi, the Soul Survivor festivals (which began in 1993) grew out of worship sessions with him and the then 15-year-old Redman. Redman led ...


5

The Hymnal Worship II, published in 1975 by GIA, and widely used in the Archdiocese of Chicago, includes an English translation of Luther's German paraphrase of Psalm 46 (Vulgate No. 45) in two versions at number 2 and number 3 in the hymnal. That is the earliest attributed publication in a "Catholic" hymnal of which I am aware. I did once see a small hymnal ...


5

It is common for Christians to stand while singing in church because it is common to sing while standing regardless of context. Standing allows the singer to make better usage of their diaphragm and lungs. Additionally, it may also result in a better timbre. The University of Kansas has published a web page which briefly discusses posture for singers. It ...


5

I think there is more to the gifts than the symbolism of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Particularly within the Bible. Recently I was preaching on Isaiah 60, and verse 6 struck me: Herds of camels will cover your land, young camels of Midian and Ephah. And all from Sheba will come, bearing gold and incense and proclaiming the praise of the Lord. This ...


4

Just noticed this during Mass today (Feast of the Epiphany). After the gospel is read, the proclamation of dates for the movable feasts can be read http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/liturgical-resources/christmas/announcement-of-easter-and-the-moveable-feasts.cfm So, We Three Kings, although often thought of as a Christmas hymn is really the only ...


4

As the Wikipedia article on Zion says, Zion is a synonym for Jerusalem. Revelation 21 depicts the New Jerusalem, the dwelling-place of God with men: 21:2And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband; 3 and I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling of God is ...


4

Although parts of this song likely refer to Philippians 2, in my mind the clearest Biblical source for "Lord I lift your name on high" is Psalm 34:3: Oh, magnify the LORD with me,       and let us exalt his name together! Here the Hebrew translated "exalt" is literally "cause to be high"; "magnify" is literally "...


4

With reference to the story of Jesus' visit to England with Joseph of Arimathea, OP asks: So how and when did the story get started? There is, so far as I know, one scholarly article on just this question which has recently had some scrutiny. The article is: A. W. Smith, "'And Did Those Feet...?': The 'Legend' of Christ's Visit to Britain", Folklore 100....


4

Luther was not intending the song to be about his Catholic opponents. As Mike pointed out, Luther did not have that sort of hostile view of the Church. The song makes reference to scripture throughout. It is based primarily on Psalm 46 (below), and the particularly "militant" parts ("the body they may kill") are simply references to Job. ...


4

According to Zenit and the Catholic Encyclopedia, the solemn rite originated no later than the late fourth century, with the current text of the Exultet likely dating back to the fifth century. The earliest extant manuscript is found in the Bobbio Missal, dating from the seventh century. Its author is unknown.


4

The Encyclopedia of Ancient Christianity says: The Exultet’s origin is uncertain, but it is clear that it was inspired by Ambrose. Textual analysis shows, if not Ambrose’s hand, at least his mind. [...] The part of the Exultet that speaks of bees was inspired by Virgil. [...] In his letter to Praesidius, Jerome derides this praise of the bees as entirely ...


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