Our opening hymn this coming Sunday (5/8/2021) is hymn #292, “O Jesus, crowned with all renown”, a hymn for Rogation Days by Archbishop of Canterbury Edward White Benson (1829-1896). Archbishop Benson is perhaps best remembered as the creator of Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols in 1880 when he was Bishop of Truro. Hymn 292 was written in 1860 whilst he was headmaster of Wellington College. This hymn first appeared in The Hymnal 1916.
Traditionally, the three days before Ascension Day are observed as Rogation Days. The Sunday before the Ascension, the Sixth Sunday of Easter, is traditionally known as Rogation Sunday. These are days of prayer to ask God’s blessing on crops, for an abundant harvest, and protection from natural disasters. Traditionally the parish vicar, wardens, choir boys, and others would process around boundaries of the parish, carrying long sticks, while occasionally stopping to recite or chant Psalms or the Litany of Saints. This procession around the geographical area of the parish was known as “beating the bounds”. Rogation days were also a time for people of the parish to settle disputes and disagreements to come together as a community. See the following link for more information on the history of Rogation Days: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_eLmFv-ilXA
In The Hymnal 1982, hymn #292 is paired with the tune Kingsfold. Kingsfold was originally an English folksong that Ralph Vaughan Williams arranged for The English Hymnal, 1906 where it was paired with the text “I heard the voice of Jesus say”. Vaughan Williams first heard the tune in the village of Kingsfold in northwest Sussex where the text was about “Dives and Lazarus”. The tune was used by Vaughan Williams in Five Variants of Dives and Lazarus for string orchestra and harp which you can listen to here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQoP9iLwoos
O Jesus, crowned with all renown
1. O Jesus, crowned with all renown,
since thou, the earth hast trod,
thou reignest and by thee come down
henceforth the gifts of God.
Thine is the health and thine the wealth
that in our halls abound,
and thine the beauty and the joy
with which the years are crowned.
2.Lord, in their change, let frost and heat,
and winds and dews be given;
all fostering power, all influence sweet,
breathe from the bounteous heaven.
Attemper fair and gentle air
the sunshine and the rain,
that kindly earth with timely birth
may yield her fruits again:
3.That we may feed the poor aright,
and, gathering round thy throne,
here, in the holy angel’s sight,
repay thee of thine own:
That we may praise thee all our days,
and with the Father’s Name,
and with the Holy Spirit’s gifts,
the Savior’s love proclaim.
Edward White Benson (1829-1896)