A Saint-filled couple weeks have begun

In the back of my mind, there are three times of year that stand out as being particularly saturated with significant Saints’ Days: Christmas, mid-November, and late July.  I haven’t studied the sanctoral calendar closely to see how accurate these impressions are, but I think it’s worth pointing it out now that we’re in one of those periods of time.

Consider this.  Three major feast days are just ahead:

  1. St. Mary Magdalene (22 July)
  2. St. James (25 July)
  3. The Transfiguration (6 August)

Among the Optional Commemorations there are four coming up that this Customary particularly highlights as feasts to be kept:

  1. St. Gregory of Nyssa (19 July)
  2. The Parents of the Virgin Mary (26 July)
  3. Sts. Lazarus, Mary, and Martha of Bethany (29 July)
  4. St. Joseph of Arimathea (1 August)

There are also some classical Saints’ days worth considering:

  1. St. Macrina (18 July)
  2. St. Margaret of Antioch (20 July)
  3. St. Thomas a Kempis (24 July)

And a few more recent folks remembered in our calendar:

  1. William White (17 July)
  2. William Reed Huntington (27 July)
  3. William Wilberforce (30 July)

Huh, maybe I should’ve named this post “Williamtide”, haha.

Let us also consider jotting down a new name into our calendars, remembering another faithful servant who ran his course well:

  • 17 July: J. I. Packer, Priest and Teacher of the Faith, 2020

May their memories ever be a blessing to us all.

Make the Daily Office Unrecognizable

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One of the big concerns among traditionalists when it comes to modern Prayer Book revision and the proliferation of options and substitutions is that our liturgical heritage will get so muddled in “local preferences” that all semblance of Anglican heritage, or even any sense of common prayer, will be lost.  Personally, I think that overlooks the vast array of tweaks and changes that many priests and parishes have gotten away with even under the classically-minded 1928 Prayer Book in recent decades – in some cases drastically re-writing the Communion service so it looks more and more like the pre-Vatican-II Roman Mass and no longer actually an Anglican Prayer Book service.  But let’s not fight.  It’s Weird Rubric Wednesday!  So let’s humor those who complain about the 2019 Prayer Book and see just how far we can destroy the Daily Office without actually breaking the rubrics.

Ahead is Wednesday evening, and the parish is getting together for a special ‘Evening Prayer’ worship service.  But this is what happens:

  • The Officiant reads something short from the Bible.
  • The Invitatory dialogue (BCP 43) is exchanged.
  • The congregation sings a song like Nate Hale’s Psalm 13.
  • Another, slightly longer, reading from the Bible follows.
  • Someone comes up front and gives a brief testimony of faith, referring to his or her favorite Bible quote which is found in that previous reading.
  • A couple more songs are sung.
  • Now it’s prayer time (starting on BCP 47) – the Kyrie, the Lord’s Prayer, one of the sets of suffrages, a Collect commemorating someone in the calendar that day, and one of the Prayers for Mission (BCP 51).
  • The congregation then launches into a time of prayer and song lasting as long as the Spirit leads (so, about fifteen minutes).
  • The Officiant reads Ephesians 3:20-21 (BCP 53) to conclude the service.

If you know the Office pretty well, you can probably discern here what was done.  It’s actually not quite as mangled as I expected it to turn out; the “myriads of options” in the 2019 Prayer Book aren’t all-encompassing.  So here’s what happened:

  • The Opening Sentences can be anything “appropriate”.
  • The Confession may be omitted, once per day.
  • The Phos Hilaron is optional, and therefore skipped.
  • The Psalm(s) Appointed can be shortened “according to local circumstance” (BCP 734), so a sung version took its place.
  • Only one Scripture lesson is permitted (BCP 44).  Rubrics don’t seem to allow deviation from the lectionaries, though if you take the option of drawing the Communion readings into the Office then quite a few choices are possible.
  • A “sermon may be preached after the lessons” (BCP 56).
  • The Canticles can be replaced by other songs (BCP 45).
  • The Creed may be omitted, once per day.
  • The beginning of The Prayers are not optional, and the Collect of the Day is the only explicitly required Collect, but you can choose a black-letter-day commemoration to fulfill that role.  The Prayer for Mission is also required.
  • After that, there is technically free reign to pray and sing (BCP 51) although the rubric does technically indicate only one hymn or anthem.
  • The final prayers are optional, but the list of three closing sentences is not (BCP 52-53).

Yes, this is satire, I do not recommend this for healthy, proper, regular Anglican worship.

However, there are extraordinary circumstances in which such freedom may actually be advantageous.  Say you’re planning an ecumenical prayer service with another church… as the Anglican host you are bound to the authority of the Prayer Book as our rule of worship, but to be a gracious host you want to find room to incorporate elements of worship from your “guest church” also.  Perhaps you’re commemorating one of the ecumenical figures in the calendar together, or perhaps it’s Thanksgiving Day or some other holiday – in such cases you can draw Scripture lessons from the Communion Propers instead of the Daily Office Lectionary.  Perhaps they have their own prayers or canticles, or just particular translations thereof, that you can substitute in the place of our own.  The confession with full introductory exhortation may be a good idea to retain, as it puts forth a fantastic theology of worship, but perhaps circumstances would benefit from side-stepping that instead.  The flexibility of when the sermon is placed (BCP 56) also can be helpful in “shaping” the worship service in a manner appropriate to the occasion.

The good news, for those concerned about the integrity of Anglican tradition, is that the simplest by-the-book service of Evening Prayer with the least amount of page-flipping is going to be solidly traditional.  It takes more effort to deviate from the standard norm, and that alone is enough to steer most folks in the right direction.

On Psalmody in the Daily Office

The first and foremost distinction of the role of the Psalms, not only in the Daily Office, nor even in the Prayer Book generally, but in the entire history of Christian worship, is that the Psalms are to be sung or prayed.  They are distinct from the rest of the Bible in this regard; they are not provided for in the lectionaries; the Psalms are prayers, not lessons.  Indeed, just like the rest of the Scriptures the Psalms are useful for edification and instruction, but the manner in which they do so is not through proclamatory reading but through prayer.  As Dietrich Bonhoeffer famously put it, the Psalms are the Prayer Book of the Bible.  They are, therefore, naturally, the heart of the Prayer Book.  Those who are new to the liturgical tradition often find this one of the most fundamental shifts in their understanding both of the Psalms and of worship.

The Prayer Book pattern of praying the Psalms set out by Archbishop Cranmer since 1549 is a methodical advance, cover to cover, through all 150 Psalms in thirty days.  They are divided about as evenly as possible into Morning and Evening groupings for each of those thirty days, though every Psalm except the inordinately long 119th is kept intact.  Thus the monthly sequential praying of the Psalms mirrors the annual sequential reading of the Bible, in the course of the Lessons that follow.

Just as different readings of Scripture teach the hearer different things at different times, so too do the various Psalms lead the worshiper through different tones and moods and subjects – and all this regardless of the individual’s condition or circumstance.  This is one of the greatest roles of liturgy, calling individuals out of themselves and into a common worship and a common prayer.  And if only one portion of the Daily Office could be considered absolutely essential, it would be the praying of the Psalms.  From these 150, and the Lord’s Prayer, all Christian worship is extrapolated.

Our Prayer Book offers a sixty-day Psalter as an alternative to the Cranmerian pattern.  This is not new; the 1979 Prayer Book’s daily lectionary provides a roughly-seven-week pattern of Psalmody (though omitting a few), and the 1928 Prayer Book’s daily lectionary throughout the year offers highlights of the Psalter ranging from four to seven weeks in length.  These alternatives are best offered for the young and the beginner to praying the Psalms.

The Evolution of a Collect

Yesterday was “Proper 10” – the Sunday between July 10th and 16th.  The Collect of the Day (which continues in the Daily Office throughout this week) is drawn from the traditional Prayer Book’s Collect for the 10th Sunday after Trinity.  This is the prayer as found in the 1662 Prayer Book:

Let thy merciful ears, O Lord, be open to the prayers of thy humble servants;
and that they may obtain their petitions make them to ask such things as shall please thee;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

When the modern calendar was adopted for the American 1979 Prayer Book, this collect was one of several that simply disappeared.  But in 2016’s Texts for Common Prayer, where the new ACNA Prayer Book was in development, this collect returned, along with almost all of the classical Trinitytide collects, under a simple transition from “Trinity 10” to “Proper 10”.  Its wording, however, was significantly changed.  Here is the 2016 version:

Hear us, O Lord, when we cry out to you;
and that we might receive what we ask, enable us by your Holy Spirit to ask only what accords with your will;
through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the same Spirit lives and reigns for ever and ever.  Amen.

The same three-part structure remains, but the force of each phrase is almost entirely flipped.  Instead of “let thy merciful ears be open,” we found “hear us when we cry out to you“, replacing God’s disposition of openness with God’s condescension of hearing, and replacing our humility with our cry.  The old prayer sought for us to pray for things that would please God, and the new version sought for us to pray for what accords with [his] will.  So it’s kind of the same prayer over all, but it is framed with subtle-but-significant differences.

Apparently this revision didn’t stick.  The 2019 Prayer Book instead has this for yesterday’s collect:

Let your merciful ears, O Lord, be open to the prayers of your humble servants;
and, that we may receive what we ask, teach us by your Holy Spirit to ask only those things that are pleasing to you;
through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the same Spirit lives and reigns for ever and ever.  Amen.

The key differences between the first two versions have largely been rolled back to the 1662’s wording: let God’s ears be open to his humble servants, let our prayers be pleasing to God.

But three aspects of the 2016 revision have been retained in the 2019 final form.

  1. This collect prays that we may receive what we ask instead of “that they may obtain their petitions.  This shift from 3rd person to 1st person is part of the overall preference for congregational involvement in the liturgy.  Not that the congregation is invited to pray the Collect of the Day during the Communion service, but the language of prayer on the whole favors “we” over “they”.  Our clergymen don’t pray for the people from a separated distance, but pray as a part of God’s people.  Plus there is the hope that more lay people will pray the Daily Office, and the language of “we” probably supports that mentality.
  2. The modern versions of this prayer cite the Holy Spirit as the one who enables or teaches us to pray rightly.  The classical version simply said make them pray, so this is a theological clarification.
  3. The long ending of the collect has been largely standardized in modern Prayer Books, where many of the classical forms of the collects have shorter endings.

The Collects are an important part of a Prayer Book, and I didn’t watch them very closely, myself, during the formation of Texts for Common Prayer and the 2019 Prayer Book, so little things like that are fun to discover.  I hope this “evolution of a collect” is insightful for you, too.

Introducing the Four (!?) Books of Kings

The Daily Office Lectionary in the 2019 Prayer Book starts us in on 1 Samuel this morning.  This is the beginning of a long journey through four books with a continuous historical coverage.  In fact, the two books of Samuel and the two books of Kings are so closely related that they are known in the Greek Old Testament as the four books of the Kings (or alternatively, 1-4 Kingdoms).  This is not commonly known among English-speaking Christians today apart from the Eastern Orthodox, though it was given a shout-out in the 1611 Bible authorized under King James.

1 Samuel, or 1 Kings

Anglican Prayer Book lectionaries historically have walked through these four books in the summertime; the way ours is set up it takes us from July into November (since we’re reading from them in Morning Prayer only, and not Morning & Evening Prayer in parallel like the older daily lectionaries).  As time goes on, our lectionary does something that a couple other 20th-century lectionaries have done, and include elements from 1 & 2 Chronicles interspersed with the material from 1 & 2 Kings.  This has the downside of interrupting the continual “voice” of the four books of Samuel/Kings, but is arguably balanced with the gain of the several stories unique to the Chronicles.

A large swathe of history is covered in these four books, but, like the earlier book of Joshua, it is subject to a gradual fast-forwarding effect.

  1. 1 Samuel deals with the life of the Prophet Samuel (he is born in chapter 1 and dies in chapter 25), and the life and reign of King Saul.  In all that’s approximately 80 years of history.
  2. 2 Samuel deals with the reign of King David, approximately 40 years.
  3. 1 Kings begins with the death of David, and takes us just over 100 years, through the reigns of Solomon and 8 Judean kings and 8 Israelite kings.
  4. 2 Kings zips through close to 300 years of history, covering the demise of both the Israelite and Judean kingdoms.

In addition to that accelerating-time-coverage effect, there is also a shift of emphasis in the latter two books away from stories about the kings themselves and toward the lives of certain prophets, especially Elijah and Elisha.  Indeed the amount of material dedicated to the succession from Elijah to Elisha, in the beginning of the fourth book (2 Kings 2), is reminiscent of the attention given to the birth of Samuel (1 Sam. 1-2) and the establishment of the reigns of Kings Saul (1 Sam. 8-10), David (2 Sam. 2-5), and Solomon (1 Kings 1-2).

Besides these connections within these four books, there are also major connections to other parts of the Bible.  The Song (or prayer) of Hannah, Samuel’s mother (1 Sam. 2) is a prototype for the Song of Mary (or Magnificat) in Luke 1, and the divine provision of Samuel’s birth prefigures the hand of God in the conception also of John the Baptist and of Jesus.  King David would go on to become one of the foremost Messianic figures in the Old Testament, forever after cited as an ancestor of the Christ.  King Solomon would go on to become a subtle antichrist figure, starting off as a wise and powerful ruler and ending up an apostate tyrant whose annual income would be re-used in the book of Revelation as “the number of the beast” (1 Kings 10:14 & Rev. 13:18).  The Prophets, especially Elijah and Elisha, performed many signs and miracles that Jesus would later copy and teach about.  The fall of Jerusalem and eventual leniency toward the last king (2 Kings 25:27-30) would set the stage for the later Prophets and the Second Temple Era, a dramatically different phase of Hebrew history that led straight to the events of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

So although there is much history in these books, one can see that the most fruitful readings of this material is not to be purely historical, but typological or Christological: how do these events and characters point ahead to Christ?  How is the Gospel foreshadowed?  What do we learn here about the People of God, the Church?  We will see the centrality of listening to (and obeying) God’s Word, the hopeless imperfection of man, the deadly dangers of idolatry and faithlessness, and the loving-kindness (or covenant-faithfulness, or heseð) of God.

Customary Update: Morning Prayer

The Saint Aelfric Customary for the Daily Office of Morning Prayer has been completed.  You can read it all here: https://saint-aelfric-customary.org/customary-morning-prayer/

The idea behind this is provide guidance regarding when and how to use the various options in the Prayer Book in order to make reasonable use of the scope of resources in the 2019 Prayer Book while yet retaining a stable tether to the great well of Anglican tradition before all these modern forms came to the fore.

The Gloria may be omitted

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On pages 107 & 125 of the Book of Common Prayer, 2019, the following rubric is found:

The Gloria or some other song of praise may be sung or said, all standing.  It is appropriate to omit the song of praise during penitential seasons and days appointed for fasting.

This in itself is not a particularly strange rubric.  The 1979 Prayer Book renders the Gloria optional, and it is already a widespread custom (rooted in Western liturgical tradition) that the Gloria should be omitted during Lent, Advent, and on other occasions of similar tone.

You can read more about the use (and even placement) of the Gloria in this article from last year’s series on the Communion liturgy.  You will also find there some notes about evaluating songs to replace it which are worth re-stating here:

  • If it is Advent or Lent, this is an excellent point at which to sing a hymn specially appointed for that season.  Or just let the Decalogue stand on its own strength!
  • At other times of the year, be sure it truly is a “song of praise”, as the rubric twice describes it.  A song of praise does NOT talk about me/us, but sings only of God – his character and his works.  The Gloria barely glances at “us”; let that set the standard for whatever replaces it.

What’s so weird about this, though?

I submit this under the banner of Weird Rubric Wednesday not because the rubric itself is weird, or even the reasons behind it are weird, but because some common executions of this rubric are pretty weird.  And it’s on a sliding scale from “okay” to “weird” to just plain “bad”.

Okay?

One approach to replacing the Gloria is to not simply put in one “song of praise,” but a whole set (say, three on average) of contemporary worship songs.  Singing multiple songs here stretches the language of this rubric – “song” is in the singular, after all – but it’s not necessarily an outright violation.  Besides, a lot of contemporary worship songs are shorter than hymns (in terms of word-count through the lyrics) so it’s not necessarily a bad idea to stack up two or three contemporary songs to form a substantial substitute for the Gloria or other single hymn of praise.

Weird?

Sometimes that “okay” idea gets taken a step further: it’s a contemporary “worship set” of three-ish songs in a row, but they’re not brief. Instead they repeat their refrains multiple times and include interludes within or between the songs for people to sing or pray extemporaneously.  This is popular evangelical worship practice, and has made its way into the practice of many Anglican churches.  If you’re going to import other traditions into the Prayer Book tradition, this is probably the least disruptive point in the Communion liturgy in which to do it, though it is worth observing that many Anglicans find contemporary pop-evangelical worship theology incompatible with historic Protestant (as well as Catholic) theologies of worship.  So music ministers and clergy alike should give careful thought to the use of music in the liturgy before stretching the rubrics this far.

Bad?

It is not normally the purpose of this blog to call out bad liturgy; there’s enough grumpy negativity on the internet already.  But occasionally problems in worship (just like problems in doctrine) do need to be confronted.  Moving from “okay” to “weird” to “bad”, the next step in this descent would be to add the excesses of Pentecostalism: speaking in tongues, inviting “words of knowledge” to be shared, and other extemporaneous expressions of charismata according to 20th-century Pentecostal theology.  Much of this runs in the face of St. Paul’s teachings in 1 Corinthians 14, let alone an historic liturgical theology, but this has been known to happen in some Anglican churches today.

So what do you suggest?

When in doubt, keep it simple and consistent.  Say or sing the Gloria for every Communion celebration on Sundays and Holy Days.  For a short mid-week service, perhaps skip it entirely.  During Lent, replace it with a Lent Hymn; during Advent, replace it with an Advent Hymn.  Or just don’t sing anything at all after the Decalogue during those seasons – there’s a lot to be said for stark simplicity in worship, especially in our culture that is over-drenched with activity and sound.

Some history on the Invitatory

The Invitatory

The invitatory dialogue contains four couplets: two verses of Scripture (Psalm 51:15 and Psalm 70:1) the Gloria Patri (glory be to the Father), and third verse (Psalm 135:1a). In the American Prayer Book tradition, the second couplet was omitted, until 1979 when the second couplet returned in place of the first in Evening Prayer. The final couplet was omitted only in the 1979 Book. Our Prayer Book restores the full English dialogue.

The Antiphons

In the American Prayer Book of 1928, nine antiphons were added for use with the Venite on particular occasions. In 1979 that collection was expanded to thirteen antiphons. Our Prayer Book preserves those thirteen antiphons but moves the ten appointed for specific seasons or holy days to an appendix after the Morning Prayer liturgy to keep the primary text less cluttered. Only the three for general use appear here on BCP 14. Furthermore, these antiphons remain optional.

Historically, in Anglican practice, antiphons have not been a feature. They are extremely common in historic Western liturgy, however – the Roman Rite at its height of complexity having multiple antiphons for every Psalm and Canticle according to season and occasion. At their best, they provide unique “book-ends” that color the worshiper’s experience of the Psalm or Canticle according to the occasion, and enrich the Church’s life of worship. The obvious challenge, of course, is the burdensome complexity that ensues which the Preface to the 1549 Prayer Book explicitly endeavors to remedy.

By providing some antiphons on page 14 and collecting the other 10 on pages 29-30, our Prayer Book endeavors to strike a healthier balance between historical Western complexity and Anglican simplicity.

 

The Venite

The use of Psalm 95 as the “invitatory”, the invitation or call to worship, dates back at least to the Rule of Saint Benedict: it was to be prayed every morning at Matins. This was preserved in Archbishop Cranmer’s Prayer Book of 1549 and thereafter: it was called to be said or sung at Morning Prayer daily except for the 19th day of the month when it would be read as part of the Psalms Appointed, and on Easter Day when the Easter Anthem, Pascha Nostrum, was appointed instead. Furthermore, in the English Prayer Books the Venite included the “Glory be” at the end.

The American Prayer Book tradition diverged from this pattern. The Venite was now Psalm 95:1-7 followed by Psalm 96 verses 9 and 13. Furthermore, the Gloria Patri was rendered optional here. Again, it wasn’t until 1979 that the entirety of Psalm 95 was authorized for the invitatory psalm, and until 2019 that the entirety of Psalm 95 was printed in this place in the liturgy, albeit with verses 8-11 still labelled as optional outside of the season of Lent.

 

The Jubilate

In the classical Prayer Book tradition, the Jubilate Deo, or Psalm 100, was a canticle offered in place of the Benedictus, until the 1979 Prayer Book when instead it was included as an alternative to the Venite as the invitatory psalm. It was offered without rubrical directions, though one already accustomed to the Prayer Book tradition might most naturally consider the Jubilate to be a substitute for the Venite on the 19th day of the month when the Venite was formerly appointed to be omitted from the invitatory. Our Prayer Book also provides no rubrical guidance on the matter, so the same historically-minded intention may still be assumed.

 

Pascha Nostrum

The Pascha Nostrum, as indicated in its Scripture reference text, is an amalgamation of three New Testament texts strung together. Although this is an example from early Church history, Anglican liturgical practice has yielded several examples of collating multiple biblical texts into an eclectic but coherent whole for the purpose of worship.

This Easter Anthem has always been a part of the Prayer Book tradition, but its location has changed in modern practice. Traditionally, it was placed among the Propers (the Collects and Lessons), for Easter Day; since the 1979 Book it has been placed here within the Morning Prayer liturgy.

Originally this anthem was appointed only for Easter Day. The American 1892 Prayer Book uniquely added the Gloria Patri to it. The 1928 Prayer Book authorized the option of using this anthem throughout the Easter Octave (that is, from Easter Day through the First Sunday after Easter). The 1979 Book expanded this further still, appointing it for every day in Easter Week and making it optional every day until the Day of Pentecost. This has not changed in the 2019 Prayer Book, though the wording of the rubric has been altered.

There is also a custom in some places of using the Pascha Nostrum in place of the Gloria in excelsis Deo near the beginning of the Communion service, under the modern rubrics that allow other hymns of praise to take its place. Especially in church cultures where the Daily Office is not publicly offered, this can be an effective way of introducing elements of the Office liturgies to the congregation. Such points of contact and familiarity will prove helpful when teaching people to pray the Office.

Jesus Loves Me / Solid Rock

It’s one of the classic “little kid” Christian songs that cradle Christians in many traditions learn…

Jesus loves me, this I know
for the Bible tells me so.

Little ones to him belong;
they are weak but he is strong.
Yes, Jesus loves me!  Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me, the Bible tells me so.

Complete with a cute little melody, it’s the perfect song for young kids to learn, enjoy, and promptly grow out of and cast aside in favor more exciting music.

Obvious repetition aside, this Hymn for Children is worth a fresh look.  First of all, it has more verses that a lot of us never heard as children.  In the new hymnal Magnify the Lord, or Common Praise 2017, it is #431, and has four verses.  Here are verses 2-4.

Jesus loves me – this I know – As he loved so long ago,
Taking children on his knee, Saying “Let them come to me.”

Yes, Jesus loves me… etc.

Jesus loves me – loves me still, Even when I’m weak and ill;
From his shining throne on high, Comes to watch me where I lie.
Yes, Jesus loves me… etc.

Jesus loves me!  He who died Heaven’s gate to open wide;
He will wash away my sin, Let his little child come in.

Yes, Jesus loves me… etc.

What this hymn is doing, quite simply, is setting out a theological truth in verse 1 and then exploring the biblical evidence in the next three which verse 1 claims.  So verse 2 looks back to the ministry of Jesus, during which he directly welcomed children; verse 3 brings that biblical love back into the present and highlights his continual care and watching-over; and verse 4 points us into the future, towards our death in the following of Christ’s death.

Hopefully this gives you a newfound respect for ye olde Jesus Loves Me.  But if you still think it’s silly, consider the song printed right before it (#430) in the same hymnal:

My hope is built on nothing less Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame, But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

On Christ the solid Rock I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.

This classic hymn, only 25 years older than Jesus Loves Me, is remarkably similar.  It, too, has a repetitive refrain with a message that is only one small step away: from “Jesus loves me” to “On Christ… I stand.”  This first verse is conceptually just as simple as Jesus Loves Me, and its melody is equally basic.  If all you ever heard of this hymn was its first verse, it probably wouldn’t be quite so beloved among adults as it is today.

Even more interesting, when you look at how the lyrics unfold, Solid Rock follows the same structure as Jesus Loves Me:

  1. Basic theological premise
  2. Looking back to Jesus’ example to back up or explain the premise
  3. Applying Jesus’ example to the present
  4. Pointing to the future – death and resurrection

With that in mind, now read verses 2-4.

When darkness veils his lovely face, I rest on his unchanging grace;
In ev’ry high and stormy gale, My anchor holds within the veil.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand… etc.

His oath, his covenant, his blood, Support me  in the ‘whelming flood;
When all around my soul gives way, He then is all my hope and stay.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand… etc.

When he shall come with trumpet sound, O may I then in him be found,
Dressed in his righteousness alone, Faultless to stand before the throne.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand… etc.

The same pattern is found in both hymns.  Yes, the first was written especially for (and about) children, and the second is clearly more “grown-up” in its word choice, language, and range of biblical allusion and reference, but both hymns are solid expositions of the Christian faith.