There is a balm in Gilead: a sweet spiritual at the Offertory, done up big here by Mahalia:
Here are the words, from Cyberhymnal:
There is a balm in Gilead
To make the wounded whole;
There is a balm in Gilead
To heal the sin sick soul.
Some times I feel discouraged,
And think my work’s in vain,
But then the Holy Spirit
Revives my soul again.
If you can’t preach like Peter,
If you can’t pray like Paul,
Just tell the love of Jesus,
And say He died for all.
And then this beautiful hymn, Lobe den Herren from the 17th Century, for the final hymn in procession; all the really great hymn tunes are German, it seems. Cyberhymnal says: "Ander Theil des Erneuerten Gesangbuch, second edition (Bremen, Germany: 1665); harmony by William S. Bennett, 1864."
This hymn has some wonderful words. Cyberhymnal says "Words: Joachim Neander, in A und O Glaub- und Liebesübung (Straslund: 1680); translated from German to English by Catherine Winkworth, 1863." (Nice translation job, there, Catherine.)
And there are a lot of words originally, it seems. We only sang four verses today, I think, but here's the full deal, from Cyberhymnal:
Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation!
O my soul, praise Him, for He is thy health and salvation!
All ye who hear, now to His temple draw near;
Praise Him in glad adoration.
Praise to the Lord, who over all things so wondrously reigneth,
Shelters thee under His wings, yea, so gently sustaineth!
Hast thou not seen how thy desires ever have been
Granted in what He ordaineth?
Praise to the Lord, who hath fearfully, wondrously, made thee;
Health hath vouchsafed and, when heedlessly falling, hath stayed thee.
What need or grief ever hath failed of relief?
Wings of His mercy did shade thee.
Praise to the Lord, who doth prosper thy work and defend thee;
Surely His goodness and mercy here daily attend thee.
Ponder anew what the Almighty can do,
If with His love He befriend thee.
Praise to the Lord, who, when tempests their warfare are waging,
Who, when the elements madly around thee are raging,
Biddeth them cease, turneth their fury to peace,
Whirlwinds and waters assuaging.
Praise to the Lord, who, when darkness of sin is abounding,
Who, when the godless do triumph, all virtue confounding,
Sheddeth His light, chaseth the horrors of night,
Saints with His mercy surrounding.
Praise to the Lord, O let all that is in me adore Him!
All that hath life and breath, come now with praises before Him.
Let the Amen sound from His people again,
Gladly for aye we adore Him.
And then this, one of my favorite collects of the year, as the season turns:
Grant us, Lord, not to be anxious about earthly things, but to love things heavenly; and even now, while we are placed among things that are passing away, to hold fast to those that shall endure; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.Hatchett says that this one is really old:
This collect reflects the tumultuous times of the barbarian invasions. It is from the Leonine sacramentary as a collect for use on Ascension Day (no. 173). The translation is from William Bright's Ancient Collects (page 79), and is included in the Prayer Book for the first time. Colossians 3:2 provides the Biblical reference.
Even outside "tumultuous times of barbarian invasion," the collect induces a very powerful mix of ideas and emotions: the bittersweet nature of the passage of time and season and earthly life; the hope for peace and the desire for the holy, in response; the powerful and permanent foundation of faith in Christ.
Unfortunately, though, at the moment the collect is very a propos in its original sense as well, on a day of violence and tumult, when many people have been killed in terror attacks - including at least 75 Anglicans while leaving their church, and many Kenyans, as they were shopping.
Requiem aeternum dona eis Domine.