Friday, May 23, 2014

Surrexit Christus, et illuxit nobis ("Christ is risen, and has illumined us") and Exivi a Patre ("I came from the Father"): The First Alleluia(s) for the Sixth Easter Sunday

Beautifully chanted by an unknown singer.    There are two chants on this video:  the first is Surrexit Christus, and the second Exivi a Patre.  Surrexit is prescribed as the First Alleluia for Year A; Exivi for Year B; either can be used as the First Alleluia for Year C.

Although the chants are set one right after the other on the video, I'm separating the words and scores below, to emphasize that these are two completely separate chants:
Surrexit Christus, et illuxit nobis
Alleluia, alleluia. V. Surrexit Christus, et illuxit nobis, quos redemit sanguine suo. Alleluia.  
Alleluia, alleluia. Vs. Christ has risen and he has shone upon us whom he has ransomed with his own blood. says this text comes from John 14:18, but I don't see any evidence of this; to me it seems to be a composite of various ideas from various Scriptural sources, including Isaiah and perhaps the Gospels of Mark and John - although it's quite possible it's a direct quote from some extra-Biblical source.  Will continue to investigate.

Here's the chant score:

Exivi a Patre
Alleluia, alleluia. 
V. Exivi a Patre, et veni in mundum: iterum relinquo mundum, et vado ad Patrem, alleluia.

Alleluia, alleluia.   V.  I came from the Father and have come into the world, and now I am leaving the world and going to the Father.

This text comes directly from John 16:28.   Here's the full chant score:

In the Extraordinary Form, Surrexit Christus and Exivi a Patre are the First and Second Alleluias for this Easter Sunday (i.e., they were in this configuration in the Tridentine Rite)Today, though, there are three other chants used for the Second Alleluias - which I will discuss, no doubt, during future Easter season posts!

All of today's chants, though, for all three years - with the exception of the Introit and the Offertory (and also today's Surrexit Christus, as noted above) - come from  the Gospel of John.   Ascension is this Thursday, so citations from Christs' "Farewell Discourse" in John are very apropos.

In our current three-year Lectionary, we read from the Book of Acts, rather than from the Old Testament, on each Sunday after Easter.  I'm second to nobody in my love of and appreciation for the Old Testament - but I do like this development.  (In any case, there was no assigned Old Testament reading in the historic lectionay, so the addition of an OT reading is itself a happy development as far as I'm concerned.)

This week's reading from Acts is one of my all-time favorites:
Acts 17:22-31

Paul stood in front of the Areopagus and said, "Athenians, I see how extremely religious you are in every way. For as I went through the city and looked carefully at the objects of your worship, I found among them an altar with the inscription, `To an unknown god.' What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it, he who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by human hands, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mortals life and breath and all things. From one ancestor he made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live, so that they would search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him-- though indeed he is not far from each one of us. For `In him we live and move and have our being'; as even some of your own poets have said,

`For we too are his offspring.'

Since we are God's offspring, we ought not to think that the deity is like gold, or silver, or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of mortals. While God has overlooked the times of human ignorance, now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will have the world judged in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead."

And the Gospel reading is this short, beautiful passage:
John 14:15-21

Jesus said to his disciples, "If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.

"I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them."

The "historic lectionary" prescribed a reading from John 16 for today - a passage that that includes the text of the chant Exvivi at Patre:
JESUS said unto his disciples, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.  Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.  These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall shew you plainly of the Father.  At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you; for the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.  I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.  His disciples said unto him, Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb.  Now are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou camest forth from God.  Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe?  Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.  These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace.  In the world ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.

  Also prescribed was this passage from James:
BE ye doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.  For if any be a hearer of the Word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass.  For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.  But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.  If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain.  Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

The historic lectionary marks this as Rogation Sunday as well (called Rogate here); the Rogation Days are the three weekdays prior to the Feast of the Ascension.  Here's an introductory bit from a citation at that link:
The Rogation Days, the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday before Ascension Day, originated in Vienne, France (not Vienna, Austria), in 470 after a series of natural disasters had caused much suffering among the people. Archbishop Mamertus proclaimed a fast and ordered that special litanies and prayers be said as the population processed around their fields, asking God's protection and blessing on the crops that were just beginning to sprout. The Latin word rogare means "to ask", thus these were "rogation" processions. In an agricultural society, closely connected with the soil and highly vulnerable to the uncertainties of nature, this was an idea that took root quickly, and the custom spread around Europe and over to Britain. The Sunday before the Rogation Days came to be considered a part of Rogationtide (or "Rogantide") and was known as Rogation Sunday. The Gospel formerly appointed for that day was from John 16, where Jesus tells his disciples to ask, and ye shall receive.

Here's another Chantblog post, including video, of A Rogation Days processional hymn: Ardua spes mundi

The collect for today in the "historic lectionary" seems to have at least partly inspired the one for the current lectionary; see below for much more about the latter, though.

Here's the old Collect for today, followed by today's current one:
O LORD, from whom all good things do come: Grant to us thy humble servants, that by thy holy inspiration we may think those things that be good, and by thy merciful guiding may perform the same; through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen.

O God, you have prepared for those who love you such good things as surpass our understanding: Pour into our hearts such love towards you, that we, loving you in all things and above all things, may obtain your promises, which exceed all that we can desire; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The website of Trinity Episcopal Church (Concord, MA) has this about this new collect:
In the past weeks we have been the beneficiaries of a series of prayers that have emphasized the incredible gifts that God has given us in the glorious resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Since Easter Day, our Collects have lovingly reminded us that, “…we have been reborn into the fellowship of Christ,”, “…that we may behold him in all his redeeming work,” that we, “…may follow where he leads, and, “…to know your Son Jesus Christ to be the way, the truth, and the life.”  Now, we hear the crowning affirmation that, “…we may obtain God’s promises which exceed all that we can desire!”  Truly, as we approach the celebration of Ascension Day, we have been endowed with the gifts to go forth into the world in Christ’s name.  Our Collect is clearly inspired by the words from First Corinthians 2:9:  “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived, what God has prepared for those who have loved him,” which in turn could be viewed as a free translation of Isaiah 64:4.  The Collect has its roots in the Gallican missal.  It was originally positioned in the Sarum Rite for the Sixth Sunday after Trinity where it stayed through our 1928 BCP.  With further revisions, the Collect was relocated to its Easter position.  Marion Hatchett points out that in the Latin, there is a distinction between the two uses of the word “love.”  In the phrases, “…those who love,” and, “…that we, loving,” love is related to the verb “diligere” whose root is “to choose.”  The other use in, “…pour into our hearts such love,” stems from the familiar Latin “amor.”  The Result Clause holds out to us the extraordinary assurance that, “…we loving you in all things and above all things may obtain your promises which exceed all that we can desire.”  Perhaps in the coming days, we can all reflect and meditate on just what this passage means to us.  Clearly our basic desires are not materialistic; rather our goal is to belong to, and to be in a closer fellowship with God so that we may follow where he leads.

Here's the entire list of chants for the Sixth Sunday of Easter, from
Hebdomada sexta paschæ Dominica

Introitus: Cf. Is. 48, 20; Ps. 65 Vocem iucunditatis (3m57.1s - 3708 kb) score

Alleluia I.:
                    (anno A) Io. 14, 18 Surrexit Christus et illuxit (2m40.8s - 2514 kb) score
                    (anno B) Io. 16, 28 Exivi a Patre (3m35.4s - 3368 kb) score
                    (anno C) Surrexit vel Exivi

Alleluia II.:
                    (anno A) Io. 14, 18 Non vos relinquam (3m32.2s - 3316 kb) score
                    (anno B) Io. 15, 16 Ego vos elegi (3m32.7 - 3326 kb) score
                    (anno C) Io. 14, 26 Spiritus Sanctus docebit vos (1m32.7s - 1450 kb) score

Offertorium: Ps. 65, 8.9.20 Benedicite, gentes (2m31.1s - 2364 kb) score

                    (anno A) Io. 14, 18 Non vos relinquam orphanos (1m16.8s - 1202 kb) score
                    (anno B) Io. 15, 16 Ego vos elegi (58.6s - 918 kb) score
                    (anno C) Io. 14, 26 Spiritus Sanctus docebit vos (42.1s - 660 kb) score

And here are posts on Chant blog for some of these; it will take me a long time to get to all of them!

 Here's Duccio's Christ Taking Leave of the Apostles, c. 1310:

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