Tuesday, November 17, 2015

161. Hymn for the 21st Sunday after Trinity

The Epistle for this mass is Ephesians 6:10-17, on which I have already written a hymn (more or less); the Gospel is the healing of the official's son in John 4:46-54, beginning at the words "And there was a certain royal official." The tune I have in mind is ICH FREU MICH IN DEM HERREN by Bartholomäus Helder, 1648.
O faithless generation!
Will you not yet believe
Without the attestation
Of signs that may deceive?
Adepts of every nation
Great wonders may achieve;
But sinners from damnation
Can Christ alone retrieve.

Christ healed without compunction
Whomever He could find;
His spittle served as unction
To cure the mute and blind.
When faith stood in conjunction,
Its pow’r He called to mind;
But from the first His function
Was to redeem mankind.

A courtier came pleading
His sick son to be spared.
Christ sent Him homeward speeding;
“Your son lives,” He declared.
When he, his servants meeting,
Learned how the child had fared,
Christ’s purpose, death defeating,
Was wonderfully bared.

What word is this! Once spoken
It carries out its ends;
Its truth cannot be broken,
Though reason it transcends.
To chosen means and tokens
Effective pow’r it lends;
By it the dead are woken;
On it all life depends.

Be then not unbelieving
But trust that saving word,
All perfect gifts receiving
Through that which you have heard!
All vice and vileness leaving,
Christ’s armor on you gird
Till you, to His death cleaving,
Be into life transferred!

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