Friday, October 23, 2015

149. Visitation Hymn

The Feast of the Visitation is July 2 in the historic Lutheran lectionary. The Epistle, for want of a better term, is Isaiah 11:1-5. The Gospel, really the text of this hymn, is Luke 1:39-56, in which the Virgin Mary (while pregnant with Jesus) visit her kinswoman Elizabeth (who is pregnant with John the Baptist). It's a text I have used before as the basis of a hymn, but to a different purpose. The tune is HOLY DAY, which I previously wrote for my "Third Commandment Hymn" - though the musical joke I worked into it doesn't have any relevance to this text.
Blessed shall all kindreds call her
In all ages yet to come,
Though sharp anguish would befall her
And the issue of her womb:
Mary, mother of our Lord,
Who believed the angel’s word,
Nor let maiden shame appall her
As she neared her cousin’s home!

How is it that flesh was able
To enclose our Lord and God?
Sooner may our supper table
Bear the flesh of Him we laud!
Can a womb become the shrine
Of the infinite divine?
Can a narrow manger cradle
Him who spans the heavens broad?

As the angel spoke, believing
Mary knew it would be so.
So Elizabeth, receiving
Her with joy, had felt the throe
Of the unborn prophet’s leap.
Can our hearts remain asleep,
Nor with her rejoice, perceiving
God incarnate here below?

May such faith as theirs be granted
In our time to such as us!
May Christ’s presence be implanted
By the Spirit even thus!
When as kinsmen of God’s Son
To His dwelling-place we run,
May our joyful hail be chanted
To His name in praise profuse!

No comments: