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25 May 2015
  + The Venerable Bede +
25 May AD 735

Bede Today marks the heavenly birthday of Bede (pronounced BĒD). Since his commemoration often falls near the end of Eastertide, it's quite likely that many Christians have close familiarity with one of Bede's best known (and one of this Aardvark's favorite) hymns, the Ascension anthem "A Hymn of Glory Let Us Sing."

Bede (673-735) was the last of the early church fathers and the first person to compile a history of the English church. Born in Northumbria, Bede was given by his parents to a monastery in Northern England at the age of seven. He was ordained when he was thirty.

Probably the most learned man of his time, he was a prolific writer of history and his careful use of sources provided a model for historians in the Middle Ages. His skill in both history and theology gave him the ability to complete a synthesis between the older Celtic monasticism and the later Rule of Saint Benedict.

Known best for his book Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History of the English People), he was also a profound interpreter of Scripture; his edition of the Vulgate was the standard in Catholicism until 1979 and his commentaries still provide fresh insights for today's readers.

Bede also popularized the use of Anno Domini Nostri Iesu Christi ("in the Year of Our Lord Jesus Christ") in speaking of the time since our Savior's birth. This is usually shortened to Anno Domini or AD.

Bede Translating John His most famous disciple, Cuthbert, reported that Bede was working on a translation of John's Gospel into English when death came. He also said that Bede died with the words of the Gloria Patri on his lips.

Attested hymns include Hymn­um can­en­tes mar­tyr­um ("The Hymn for Con­quer­ing Mar­tyrs Raise"), Hymnum ca­na­mus Do­mi­no (translated variously as "A Hymn of Glo­ry Let Us Sing," "The Hymn of Glory Sing We," and "Sing We Tri­umph­ant Hymns of Praise"), and Praecursor al­tus lu­mi­nis ("The Great Fore­run­ner of the Morn"). He also wrote vernacular poetry.

Bede received the title "Venerable" within two generations of his death and is buried in Durham Cathedral as one of England's greatest saints.

Lection — ESV Except as Noted

Psalm 78:1-4 or 19:7-14
Wisdom 7:15-22 (NRSV)
Matthew 13:47-52

Collect

Heavenly Father, who called your servant Bede, while still a child, to devote his life to Your service in the disciplines of religion and scholarship, grant that as he labored in the Spirit to bring the riches of Your truth to his generation, so we, in our various vocations, may strive to make You known in all the world; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

A Hymn of Glory Let Us Sing

A hymn of glory let us sing New songs throughout the world shall ring
Alleluia, Alleluia.
Christ, by a road before untrod Ascendeth to the throne of God.
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.

The holy apostolic band Upon the Mount of Olives stand
Alleluia, Alleluia.
And with His followers they see Jesus' resplendent majesty
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.

To Whom the angels drawing nigh, "Why stand and gaze upon the sky?"
Alleluia, Alleluia.
"This is the Savior," thus they say. "This is His noble triumph day."
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.

"Again ye shall behold Him so, As ye have today seen Him go."
Alleluia, Alleluia.
"In glorious pomp ascending high Up to the portals of the sky."
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.

O grant us thitherward to tend And with unwearied hearts ascend,
Alleluia, Alleluia.
Unto Thy kingdom's throne, where Thou As is our faith, art seated now,
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.

Be Thou our Joy and strong Defense, Who art our future Recompense,
Alleluia, Alleluia.
So shall the light that springs from Thee Be ours through all eternity,
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.

O risen Christ, ascended Lord, All praise to Thee let earth accord,
Alleluia, Alleluia.
Who art, while endless ages run, With Father and with Spirit One,
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.

More on Bede's hymns and related information from NetHymnal.

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