A Hymn Prayer to Christ from the 6th Century

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Jesu, the Father’s only Son,
whose death for all redemption won,
before the worlds, of God most high,
begotten all ineffably.

The Father’s Light and Splendor Thou
their endless Hope to Thee that bow:
accept the prayers and praise today
that through the world Thy servants pay.

Salvation’s author, call to mind
how, taking the form of humankind,
born of a Virgin undefiled,
Thou in man’s flesh becamest a Child.

Thus testifies the present day
Through every year in long array,
that Thou, salvation’s source alone
proceedest from the Father’s Throne.

Whence sky, and stars, and sea’s abyss,
and earth, and all that therein is,
shall still, with laud and carol meet,
the Author of thine Advent greet.

And we who, by Thy precious Blood
from sin redeemed, are marked for God,
on this, the day that saw Thy Birth,
sing the new song of ransomed earth.

All honor, laud, and glory be,
O Jesu, Virgin-born, to Thee;
whom with the Father we adore,
and Holy Ghost forevermore. Amen.

6th century hymn translated by John Mason Neale.

Hymn in Contemplation of Sudden Death by Dorothy Sayers

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God, if this day my journey end,
I thank You first for many a friend,
The sturdy and unquestioned piers
That run beneath my bridge of years.

Next, for the power You’ve given me
To view the whole world mirthfully,
For laughter, paraclete of pain,
Like April suns across the rain.

Also that, being not too wise
To do things foolish in folks’ eyes,
I gained experience by this,
And saw life somewhat as it is.

Next for the joy of labor done
And burdens shouldered in the sun;
Not less, for shame of labor lost,
And meekness born of a barren boast.

For every fair and useless thing
That bids us pause from laboring
To look and find the larkspur blue
And marigolds of a different hue;

For eyes to see and ears to hear,
For tongue to speak and news to bear,
For hands to handle, feet to go,
For life, I give You thanks also.

For all things merry, quaint and strange,
For sound and silence, strength, and change,
At last, for death, which only gives
Value to everything that lives;

For these, good God, who still makes me,
I praise Your name; since, verily,
I of my joy have had no dearth,
Though this day were my last on earth.

By Dorothy Sayers, 20th century Anglican author and lay theologian.