Wednesday, February 21, 2007

I know that my Redeemer

Hallgrim(ur) Petursson (1614-74), our favorite Icelandic hymn-writer, didn’t write only Passion hymns. Here’s one for Easter, translated by C. V. Pilcher (1879-1960), set to the tune JEG VIL MIG HERREN LOVE (Lutheran Worship No. 476). Don't let the first line's resemblance to a more familiar Easter hymn disturb you. Four or five pretty good Easter hymns that I know of start with pretty similar words. Wikipedia has an article on Petursson here, from which I got the picture at left.

I know that my Redeemer
Lives crowned upon the throne;
Lord over earth and heaven,
He saves, and He alone;
He conquered death by dying
Upon th’accursed tree,
And from His death sprang glorious
Eternal life for me.

Christ conquered death by dying—
O Jesus, Thy dread pain
O’erthrew the king of terrors
And broke the captive’s chain.
What though this earthly body
Obey death’s dread behest?
The soul soars free rejoicing
To mansions of the blest.

I think upon my Savior,
I trust His power to keep,
His mighty arm enfolds me
Awaking and in sleep.
Christ is my Rock, my Courage;
Christ is my soul’s true Life;
And Christ—my heart still knows it—
Will bear me through the strife.

Thus in Christ’s name I’m living,
Thus in Christ’s name I’ll die;
I’ll fear not, though life’s vigor
From death’s cold shadow fly.
O grave, where is thy triumph?
O death, where is thy sting?
“Come when thou wilt, and welcome!”
Secure in Christ I sing.

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