Did you know that The Saint Aelfric Customary offers a sing-the-hymnal-in-a-year plan, for the Book of Common Praise (2017) put out by the Reformed Episcopal Church – a subjurisdiction of the Anglican Church in North America? It’s true, and you can read about it here. Like the Bible, thanks to the daily office lectionary with its expansion, and like the options in the Prayer Book itself, the principle of completionism is at work here. The idea of completionism is that if (or as) these books are fully authorized and endorsed by ecclesiastical authority, it is right and good for the Christian to (at least have a means to) read or make use of every page in its appropriate time.
Even if you’re not using this daily hymnody plan, at least skip to the last paragraph for a calendar insight.
With the hymnal, as we draw near the end of the liturgical year, the pace of the hymnody has changed. From Trinity Sunday until this past Sunday (Proper 24) it has brought us two hymns almost every day of the week, working through the bulk of the General Hymns half of the book. The “Christian Warfare” section has been running its course for the past week or so, some of it lining up neatly with the war stories of 1 & 2 Maccabees. But now we’re down to one hymn a day, allowing more room for the Morning & Evening Hymns, and generally decreasing the time it takes to say the Office. But there’s another practical reason also…
As the month of November approaches, the number of holy days increases. The second half of October is unusually rich with major feast days but November starts off with All Saints’ Day, which is one of the seven principle feasts of the year, and includes Thanksgiving Day. Both of these holidays have a substantial number of hymns associated with them, and therefore the regular progress through the hymnal is slowed at this to make room for the numerous special hymns of the season. More than half of the days in November have at least one holiday hymn appointed for them. So if you’re not normally a user of the hymnal in the rounds of daily worship, this time of year is a good one to consider picking one up and giving it a try on occasion. Here are some of the hymns coming up, for your consideration:
- 23 Oct. (St. James) – #195 Rise again, ye lion-hearted
- 28 Oct. (Sts. Simon & Jude)- #169v20 From all the saints in warfare
- 31 Oct. – #617 Day of wrath! O day of mourning!
- 1 Nov. (All Saints’) – #186 For all the saints, #193 Lord, who shall come to thee
- 2 Nov. (Commemoration of the faithful departed)
– #187 Behold a host, arrayed in white, #319 O Lord, my God, I cry to thee
- 3 Nov. (now filling out the All Saints/Souls Octave)
– #191 Who are these like stars appearing
- 4 Nov. – #192 I sing a song of the saints of God
- 5 Nov. – #194 The saints of God! their conflict past
- 6 Nov. – #318 Tempted and tried
- 7 Nov. – #320 I fall asleep in Jesus’ wounds
- 8 Nov. (now leading to Veteran’s/Remembrance Day)
– #215 Thou by heav’nly hosts adored
- 9 Nov. – #216 Rejoice, O land
- 10 Nov. – #217 God bless our native land
- 11 Nov. – #218 God of our fathers, whose almighty hand