A musical interlude…

…with one of my favourite anthems ever: John Ireland’s Greater Love Hath No Man, as sung by St Paul’s Cathedral choir.

I love its selection of texts: a seamless succession of texts starting with the Song of Songs and working its way through various New Testament letters. A great anthem for Passiontide:

Many waters cannot quench love,
neither can the floods drown it. Love is strong as death.
Greater love hath no man than this,
that a man lay down his life for his friends.
Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree,
That we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness.
Ye are washed, ye are sanctified,
ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation;
That ye should show forth the praises of him
who hath call’d you out of darkness into his marvellous light.
I beseech you brethren, by the mercies of God,
that you present your bodies, a living sacrifice, holy,
acceptable unto to God, which is your reasonable service.

One bit of personal trivia: John Ireland went to my school. I remember seeing the name on the panels lining the corridors which set out the names of boys who had received scholarships in decades long past – it was that sort of school 😉 – and wondering if it was the same John Ireland. It wasn’t until the advent of Wikipedia that I was able to confirm that it was…


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