Office Hymns for the Transfiguration

The Office hymns in the English Hymnal are not great for this feast; the traditional Vespers hymn is good, although I’m not sure whose translation this is:

All ye who seek for Jesus, raise
your eyes above, and upward gaze:
there may ye see the wondrous sign
of never-ending glory shine.

Behold him in celestial rays
who never knoweth end of days;
exalted, infinite, sublime;
older than heav’n or hell or time.

This is the Gentiles’ King and Lord;
the Prince by Judah’s race adored,
promised to Abraham of yore
and to his seed for evermore.

To him the prophets testify;
and that same witness from on high,
the Father seals by his decree:
‘Hear and believe my Son’, saith he.

All glory, Lord, to thee we pay,
transfigured on the mount today;
all glory as is ever meet,
to Father and to Paraclete

I think the Lauds hymn is especially lovely:

O love of Jesus, sweet and dear,
When to the heart thou dost appear,
away its clouds and darkness roll,
And sweetness overflows the soul.
How happy he who feels thy light,
Thou sharer of the Father’s might,
True radiance of our native land,
Surpassing all we understand.
Thou brightness of the Father’s throne,
Goodness that never can be known,
The fullness of thy love impart
By thy true Presence in the heart.
All glory, Lord, to thee we pay,
Transfigured on the mount to-day;
All glory, as is ever meet,
To Father and to Paraclete.
Both of these are as they appear in Canon Winfred Douglas’s Monastic Diurnal.
There is also the following text from The Monastic Diurnal Revised (1989):

O wondrous type! O vision fair
of glory that the Church may share,
which Christ upon the mountain shows,
where brighter than the sun he glows!
The law and prophets there have place,
the chosen witnesses of grace;
the Father’s voice from our the cloud
proclaims his only Son aloud.
With shining face and bright array,
Christ deigns to manifest today
what glory shall be theirs above
who joy in God with perfect love.
And faithful hearts are raised on high
by this great vision’s mystery;
for which in joyful strains we raise
the voice of prayer, the hymns of praise.
O Father, with the eternal Son,
and Holy Spirit, ever One,
vouchsafe to bring us by thy grace
to see thy glory face to face.

Hymns for Prayer and Praise has two very good hymns one from Stanbrook and the other from Mount Saint Bernard.  The Church of Scotland has an interesting text at number 353 of its Church Hymnary fourth edition which makes the connection with the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima on this day in 1945, the hymn is by Carl P. Daw Jr, and the second verse begins:

Bright the cloud but dark the glory
wrought by human enterprise,
opening wide with awful terror
stark new worlds before our eyes.
Brother Aelred Seton Shanley Obl. OSB Cam. makes a similar connection in one of his hymns for today:
The glory that is ours this day
is shed by neither moon nor sun:
the dazzling splendour we behold
shines forth from Christ, God’s cherished one.
Each planet, galaxy and star
within the spectrum of this light
finds her its origin and end,
this day revealed on Tabor’s height.
And we, so vulnerable and small
are shown what we cannot conceive:
that we mere vessels made of clay
and glorious beyond belief!
Yet millions massacred this day
reduce to ash all human ride:
the burning sun we dropped demands
we ponder why it is Christ died.
Hiroshima’s bright blinding cloud
must ever haunt us with its glare:
we chose that day to be as gods;
we shadowed all the earth with fear.
Earth now is clouded by a light,
unknown to Peter, James and John:
could Tabor pointing to the Cross
conceive the suff’ring of that bomb?
O Christ, have pity on our race
which parodies your healing light:
Come, Abba, Breath and Word enfleshed
transfigure and restre our sight.
He also provides two texts on more traditional themes:
Upon Mount Tabor, all alone,
Christ draws these three apostles near.
His face blinds like the summer sun;
his clothes, like winter’s snow, appear.
Then suddenly the cloud is gone:
He’s there, the Jesus that they know:
familiar friend, close at their side,
he tells all he must undergo.
Both love and fear have here embraced;
both point ahead to Easter morn.
the vision that they here have shared
will be transparent wit that dawn.
O Christ, come fashion us anew
to find outfaces in your face;
With wonder may our hearts expand,
till filled with Tabor’s dazzling grace.
O sole begotten Word of God
addressed to us within our flesh:
your glory freely laid aside
this day your Abba manifests.
Transfigured on Mount Tabor’s height
a new creation was unveiled:
yet you alone could show us all
this path to glory would entail.
Wrapped wond’rously in radiant light
you gave your chosen ones foretaste
of all you would accomplish when
your cross-flung arm the world embraced.
Your brilliance Lord emblazons earth
and so betrays our shadowed hearts:
yet inextinguishable within
there burns the Image God imparts!
O Lord how good that we are here
together gathered in this place!
Your promised presence dwells in us
and touches all who seek your face.
O loving Abba of the world;
O Christ resplendent and blaze;
O spirit now transfig’ring us:
may we ourselves be now your praise.

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