Music Notes | Seventh Sunday of Easter

Eric Mellenbruch
Associate Director of Music and Organist

On the Seventh Sunday of Easter, and until the Day of Pentecost, the Church continues the celebration of the Ascension of Our Lord. 
‘Hail, thou once despised Jesus!’, though not explicitly an Ascension hymn, is often associated with this season since it not only acclaims Christ as King, Savior, and Sacrifice, but in its climactic third stanza acknowledges his promises recorded in John 14: ‘enthroned in glory…seated at thy Father’s side, there for sinners thou art pleading: there thou dost our place prepare; ever for us interceding, till in glory we appear.’ Like ‘See the Conqueror mounts in triumph’, which we sang on Ascension Day, it is paired in the Hymnal with ‘In Babilone’, originally a Dutch folk song or dance tune.
‘All hail the power of Jesus’ Name’ is one of the earliest and best known hymns to have come from the United States, appearing in its full original form in 1780. The tune to which we sing it, ‘Coronation’, was first printed in 1793 with this text (the hymn originally appeared with ‘Miles Lane’, printed with it at Hymn 451). Like ‘Hail, thou once despised Jesus’, it has been included in the Hymnal of the Episcopal Church since 1865.
During these days of Ascensiontide – the original novena – we wait with those first followers of Christ for the Spirit to come upon us anew. ‘I will not leave you orphaned,’ Jesus promises in the same 14th chapter of John; and thus we pray in the Collect of the Day, ‘do not leave us comfortless, but send us your Holy Spirit’. And what will this Spirit do? Among other things, ‘…strengthen us, and exalt us to that place where our Savior Christ has gone before’.

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