Our opening Processional Hymn on Sunday was “Now Quit your Care and Anxious Worry” by Percy Dearmer (1867-1936).
The music is a French carol, “Quittez, Pasteures,” which we know as “O Leave your Sheep, you Shepherds on the Hillside.” Using that tune with this Lenten text reinforces the message that Lent is not just somber repentance, but also joyful resolve to pursue justice.
There are many references to the Ash Wednesday lesson from Isaiah 58 and to a section from the Sermon on the Mount.
Now quit your care and anxious fear and worry:
For schemes are vain and fretting brings no gain.
To bow the head in sackcloth and in ashes,
Or rend the soul, such grief is not Lent’s goal;
For is not this the fast that I have chosen?
…To shatter every yoke,
Of wickedness the grievous bands to loosen,
…righteousness and peace shall show their faces
To those who feed the hungry in their need,
…love shall be the prize.
Arise…and make a paradise!
Percival “Percy” Dearmer was the editor of The English Hymnal (1906). He was an early advocate of the public ministry of women and was concerned with other social justice issues. He served a term as a Red Cross chaplain in Serbia. In the last chapter of his life, he was Canon of Westminster Abbey, where he also ran a canteen for the unemployed. Percy Dearmer is buried in Westminster Abbey.
Dearmer worked with Ralph Vaughan Williams and Martin Shaw to produce Songs of Praise (1925) and the Oxford Book of Carols (1928). These hymnals reintroduced many elements of traditional and medieval English music into the Church of England.
Dearner’s name is attached to eight hymns in our Hymnbook 1982, often as the translator or editor of ancient texts. We have two hymns that are his own compositions: this one and “Book of Books, our People’s Strength” on the place of Holy Scriptures in our lives and worship.
Here is a King’s College Choir performance of the French Christmas Carol accompanied with photographs to suggest our Pathways through Lent.
Links to the appointed readings and prayer for today: