To wile away the latest in a string of restless nights, I dreamed up this hymn for older children (or maybe adults) who want to learn about the church year. It might go down in history as the first Lutheran hymn to employ the word "slumming," if that term doesn't date it beyond usefulness. The tune I initially chose for it is a four-line number called DEBENHAM by Richard Redhead (1820-1901). A reader's comment persuaded me to merge the original ten four-line stanzas into five eight-line stanzas and suggested several tunes in that meter, from which I chose GALILEAN by Joseph Barnby, 1883 (see below). Fear not, I'm saving DEBENHAM for something else.
Making up Your church's year.
Help us think about the reasons
For the lessons that we hear.
Earth has autumn, springtime's swelling,
Summer's fullness, winter's rest;
So Your church has seasons telling
Time as serves Your teaching best.
Christ, Your Advent, or your coming,
Teaches us to watch and wait,
Neither slumbering nor slumming,
Till we see You, soon or late.
Christmas is our time for marking
God with us, Immanuel's birth,
With the joyful shepherds harking
To the angels' "Peace on earth!"
Christ's Epiphany, revealing
Light to Gentile nations, glows
With His pow'r for feeding, healing,
Which God's love so richly shows.
Lent prepares us for the Passion -
Jesus' suffering and death -
So in meek, repentant fashion
We take in His dying breath.
Easter, from Christ's resurrection
Till He soared above all things,
Gives a glorious, glad direction
To the fate our future brings.
After Pentecost, the Spirit
Guides the church's daily walk
As the bride of Christ; His merit
Is her gown, and He her Rock.
None may judge our feast or fasting,
Since our Savior set us free.
God, whose grace is everlasting,
Leaves to us when each will be.
Freely, then, we use this order
For the lessons that we hear,
Trusting God, our faith's rewarder,
Every season of the year.