Tuesday, October 6, 2015

137. Septuagesima Hymn

The historic Lutheran mass for the third-last Sunday before Ash Wednesday centers on the Epistle from 1 Corinthians 9:24 to 10:5 and the Gospel from the parable of the laborers in the vineyard, Matthew 20:1-16. Here is my attempt to combine the two lessons into a single argument, set to a 19th century adaptation of the 10th century plainchant tune REX CHRISTE, FACTOR OMNIUM.
Dear Christians, be not unaware:
Both Jews and Gentiles have a share
In Jesus’ saving work and vow
From Moses’ exodus till now.

For even then the pilgrim Jew
Received the selfsame Christ as you:
In cloud and sea baptized and led,
They ate the living, heav’nly Bread.

Be careful, brethren, what you think!
The Rock that gave refreshing drink
And followed Moses’ smiting rod
Was also Christ, the Lamb of God.

Despite man’s evil, envious eye,
For all men’s good He dared to die.
Each whom He calls receives as one
The wages due God’s holy Son.

Beloved, run your race with eyes
Fixed on this everlasting prize!
Let none who share this hope, through pride
At last be lost, disqualified!

Learn what God’s Law demands of you;
Yet know Christ’s promises are true!
Then, clinging to His word of grace,
You too will see His beaming face.

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