Christ the King (Year C, 2010)

Entrance Christus Vincit
Kyrie Mass of the Creator Spirit (Ed Nowak)
Gloria Mass of the Creator Spirit
Psalm I Rejoiced (mcb)
Gospel Acclamation Salisbury Alleluia (Christopher Walker)
Preparation of the Gifts The Servant King (Graham Kendrick)
Sanctus, Acclamation, Amen Mass of Creation (Marty Haugen)
Agnus Dei Mass of the Creator Spirit
Communion Te Saeculorum Principem (chant) and Jesus, Remember Me (Taizé)
Postcommunion Greater love hath no man (John Ireland, 1879-1962)
Recessional Hail redeemer, King divine

John Ireland’s magnificent anthem is sometimes labelled a hymn to the fallen in wars, but to my mind this is not at all what the piece is about. The copious and varied scriptural references point squarely, instead, to the Paschal mystery. The particular connection with today’s feast was in the line from 1 Peter 2:9 -

Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation [...] that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.

which chimed exactly with today’s reading from Colossians:

We give thanks to the Father who has made it possible for you to join the saints and with them to inherit the light. Because that is what he has done: he has taken us out of the power of darkness and created a place for us in the kingdom of the Son that he loves, and in him, we gain our freedom, the forgiveness of our sins.

I like Graham Kendrick’s The Servant King, for all the ungainly word stresses in the refrain, and the crunching gear change in the harmonies on the words as a daily offering of worship to… The words hands that flung stars into space, to cruel nails surrendered are superb poetry, unsurpassed in any other contemporary worship song I know of.


  1. Re crunching gear change, that D chord ought to be an F# diminished chord with a D in the melody on top — thus: F# bass, right hand E flat, (F#), A natural, D-D-C

    followed by an E flat chord *second* inversion (B flat in the bass), Fm/B flat with a G in the melody, B flat 7th with G-F in melody, E flat.

    Crude and sentimental, but OK.

    But Kendrick is self-taught and doesn't know about these things, alas.

  2. My mistake. That F#dim chord ought to have an A natural in the bass, not an F#, rising naturally to the B flat in the next chord.

  3. Can anybody translate for we mere mortals?

  4. Translation for mortals: if you change some of the notes in the keyboard part, it sounds better!

    We use the arrangement for SATB and organ by (I think) Jeremy Thurlow, published in the RSCM collection Sing With All My Soul. This has grammatically correct harmonies throughout! Plus a nice a cappella harmonisation (with the lower parts vocalising - that's 'singing ah' to you, anonymous :-) ) in the third verse. It sounds good.