Music For The Sprinkling Rite: You Springs

The third option for a Sprinkling Rite antiphon in the Roman Rite’s Easter Season comes from the long litany in the third chapter of Daniel. You remember the story: three young Jews who refuse to worship their king’s golden statue are hurled into a blast furnace and instead of shrivelling up and dying, they start singing and remain miraculously unharmed. If only singing in church could prevent any lesser harm from coming to us Christians.

Probably derived from these verses, the words are these:

You springs and all that moves in the waters,
sing a hymn to God, alleluia.

This text, with or without the litany (cf. Daniel 3:52-90) has been set to music countless times. Check the psalm for Holy Trinity Sunday, cycle A for the Lectionary version, which you may sing this weekend in church.

As for the Easter Season usage in the Rite of Sprinkling, the litany form gives the best flexibility for timing. I don’t think a music leader or cantor needs to worry about an exclusive citing of water and watery creatures in select verses (3:60, 68, 77-79). A literal interpretation might even lose the whole point, which is the remembrance of baptism. Dolphins and tuna and dew and all may indeed praise God as a reflection of creation. But the call is for the baptized Christian to give thanks for the grace offered in Baptism.

Some notable settings on YouTube include Lynn Trapp’s for organ, choir, and assembly–not an exact rendering of the antiphon. He has also adapted antiphons one and two for verses as well as Jesus’ citation of living waters from John 7:37ff.

One parish adapted the acclamation, the tune O Filii et Filiae, and Marty Haugen’s Easter Gospel Acclamation for a triple mash-up here. I find this less successful.

My own preference would be to use the text from Daniel 3. Secondarily, I might explore the baptismal canticle Saint Paul cited to the Ephesians if I wanted to emphasize a focus on Christ. My only caution would be to consider the use of the entirety of verses 3 through 14 to underscore the Trinitarian background of the passage. But maybe I’m being a bit fussy on that point. Another thought would be to use select verses from Revelation 7:9ff to keep the Christological focus and perhaps emphasize the testimony of the elder in verse 14:

These are the ones
who have survived the time of great distress;
they have washed their robes
and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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