One of the glories of the Anglican tradition is its liturgy, its form of common worship. At St. Barnabas, we follow the traditional Anglican liturgy. Every part of it repays study. Here is one example. At the conclusion of the Offertory, we sing a doxology (a short hymn praising God) in the following words:
Praise God from whom all blessings flow,
Praise Him, all creature here below,
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host,
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
The words picture all things on earth (all creatures here below) joining with the angels (the heavenly host) in praising God for his many blessings. This is what heaven will be like: all sin, evil, and death will be destroyed and we will live forever with God in grateful love and harmony. The words were written by Thomas Ken (1637 – 1711), an English bishop who, as part of his work at Winchester College (a boarding school in Winchester that still exists), wrote prayers and hymns for the use of the students. Two of the hymns were intended for use at morning and evening devotions, and both ended with the words written above.
There is much more of interest about Thomas Ken, who lived in a tumultuous time under kings Charles II, James II, and William III, but was considered an honest and faithful gentleman throughout.
Watch this space for information about the tune used with this doxology.