Friday, February 11, 2011

Ubi caritas et amor

"Where charity and love prevail" is among the most well-known of the Latin chants, generally considered to come from the 9th century.  It's a hymn of forgiveness and joy, peace and reconciliation, and therefore perfect for singing during communion, as we will this week.  We'll be singing the text to the more popular chorale tune, but during the interlude between the communion hymns, I'll play a few lines of the chant.  Listen and see if you recognize that snippet of chant melody from centuries ago.

Singing the hymn also foreshadows Maundy Thursday, an occasion where the text is often used.  But Maundy Thursday is many days in the future still.  The time before Lent stretches on this year, and we get to enjoy music of praise and celebration during these cold winter days.  That's why we get to end the service with "Joyful Joyful" and enjoy a postlude with the title "Alleluia!"  And the choir will be sharing an upbeat anthem of praise: "O Praise the Name of the Lord."  I hope that all of the music lifts your spirits this weekend!


  1. When I was a Lutheran church choir director I made a medley anthem with an "Ubi caritas et amor" theme. The introduction was the refrain of the chant (Evangelical Lutheran Worship 653)transposed to the key of F. Each verse of "Where Charity and Love Prevail" (ELW 359) was followed by "Ubi caritas et amor" (ELW 642) which served as a refrain. We sang English throughout the anthem. It was very effective.

  2. If only charity and love could prevail! We seem to see so much blame and anger that the words of this hymn seem almost out of touch. It's probably good that we are reminded that another reality is possible, but do we have to wait until we are dead?