Monday, October 10, 2022

377. Proper 28 (Series A)

The lessons for this Sunday between Nov. 13 and 19 are Zephaniah 1:7-16 (including the verses that inspired the Dies irae), 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 (concluding that five-week lectio continua), and Matthew 25:-14-30 (the parable of the talents). The tune is RESURGENTI NAZARENO, a Bohemian tune of 1505. I don't know if "Bohemian" means Czech, ethnically, or Brethren, denominationally; my sources are unclear on this. However, the tune comes to me in TLH, wrapped around a Slovak creed hymn ("In one true God we all believe") dating from 1636. Despite its TLH creds, I'll bet no "Missouri sinner" outside the Slovak District has ever heard this tune, what with Luther's Nicene Creed hymn two pages earlier and a well-known Apostles' Creed hymn in between. Its other liability is an opening phrase that tricks you into thinking it's Old Hundredth. But I think it's worth another chance.

Near is the great Day of the Lord;
It hastens with a bitter noise.
What stewardship God may accord,
See that each his gift employs!

Be not deceived; it is indeed
A Day of trouble and distress.
Yet God gives gifts for every need,
Which may grow and greatly bless.

A devastation is that Day,
With desolation, darkness, gloom.
Yet freedom lies along the way;
Time to work He gives, and room.

A Day of clouds and great alarm
It is indeed, that Day of wrath;
The meanwhile, Jesus will disarm
Ev'ry threat upon our path.

Receive the gifts He richly gives
With open ear and mouth and heart:
Absorb the faith whereby man lives,
Which His means of grace impart.

Receive these gifts, absorb that faith
Continually, that it may grow.
While watching for the Day of wrath,
Meanwhile harvest, till and sow.

And with all things thus opened, freed,
Borne witness by your lip and hand,
Perhaps your faith, like growing seed,
Will produce a dividend.

So may it please our Christ and Lord
That when He comes to close accounts,
The gift entrusted in His word
Will return a rich amount!

Lord, lest that Day of shock and dread
Cause us to close around our pearl,
Fill us with joyful hope instead,
Risking all to win the world.

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