Saturday, December 31, 2022

469. Easter 4 (Series C)

The lessons for this "Good Shepherd" Sunday are Acts 20:17-35, Revelation 7:9-17 and John 10:22-30. The tune is SEI LOB UND EHR DEM HÖCHSTEN GUT, a metrically reduced version of RENDEZ À DIEU which the SELK hymnal credits to both Guillaume Franc (1543) and Johann Crüger (1653) and pairs with both the text after which it is named and "Wach auf, mein Herz, die Nacht ist hin."

Salvation is of God alone,
The countless saints are singing,
And of the Lamb upon the throne,
All angels round Him winging:
Truth, blessing, glory, wisdom, thanks,
Might, honor, pow'r, their white-robed ranks
To Christ forever bringing.

These are the ones who have withstood
The present tribulations.
Their robes washed in the Lamb's pure blood,
They daily make oblations.
The Lamb who sits upon the throne
Shall shepherd them, and He alone
Protect their habitations.

Among His sheep His voice is known;
They follow Him demurely.
Likewise, He well knows all His own
And life vouchsafes securely.
No one can snatch them from His hand;
From hunger, thirst and heat this band
He will deliver surely.

Amen! Our shepherd is the Lamb,
One with the heav'nly Father.
Amen! You sons of Abraham,
By grace made righteous, gather:
Join in the saints' and angels' praise
As heaven-shaking hymns they raise
To Christ, our Lord and Brother.

Thursday, December 29, 2022

468. Easter 3 (Series C)

The lessons for this Sunday are Acts 9:1-22, Revelation 5:8-14 (optional 1-7) and John 21:1-14 (optional 15-19). The tune is O JESU CHRIST, DEIN KRIPPLEIN IST by Johann Crüger (1656), which ALH, TLH, CWALH, ELHy and CWH paired with Paul Gerhardt's beautiful Christmas hymn "O Jesus Christ, Thy manger is" and that LSB very unnecessarily (and sadly, in my opinion) replaced with IN PARADISUM by Kenneth Kosche. Also, ELHB and TLH paired it with "We Christians may rejoice today," hence its alternate title, WIR CHRISTENLEUT (not to be confused with the tune by that name that I used with this hymn); and finally, it's also known as MANGER.

Most gracious Lord, You thrice restored
Frail Simon, who in fear had thrice denied You:
Our courage bless As we confess,
That we may fear and love no god beside You.

You cleared Saul's debts, His deadly threats,
A sometime foe sent forth, Your witness bearing:
With wondrous light Restore our sight
When lip and life Your gospel are forswearing.

Our faults forgive, That we may live
As Your dear flock, well nourished by Your teaching.
Whate'er it cost To find the lost,
Firm our resolve to go, the nations reaching.

Show us how we Might patiently
Share fellowship with them who for You suffer,
And how Your grace Might find a place
For even Your denier and Your scoffer.

At last, Lord, shine With love divine
On all the faithful in their quiet calling:
Feed them and tend Them to the end,
To see the crowns of earth before You falling.

467. Easter 2 (Series C)

The lessons for this Sunday are Acts 5:12-20 (optional 21-32), Revelation 1:4-18 and John 20:19-31 (as also in Years A and B). The tune is JESU, DER DU MEINE SEELE, a 17th century German chorale that Matthew Carver brought to my attention, in connection with a hymn he translated.

Jesus, crucified and risen,
Grant that we Your witness bear,
That souls bound in error's prison
May truth's liberation share.
Though we dare the world's displeasure,
Spread through us Your gospel treasure.
You who died for all, yet live,
Grant repentance and forgive!

Though Your word be out of season,
Its full sense let us proclaim,
Nor give way to fallen reason,
Fear of death or public shame.
For unless the sinner hear it,
How can they receive the Spirit?
Let men order what they may,
We must rather God obey.

Even if men's shackles bind us,
Christ, Your word has made us free.
Of Your martyrs' blood remind us,
That with them we may agree:
Our brief term of tribulation
Pales beside the sure salvation
That to us Your blood has sealed,
And whereby our woes are healed.

Therefore, we will fear no peril,
For You are the First and Last.
"Amen, come" will be our carol
Till our narrow strait be passed:
Swiftly then our tears forgetting,
No more faltering or fretting,
We before Your feet shall fall,
Prince and Savior over all.

466. Easter Day (Series C)

The lessons for this Sunday are Isaiah 65:17-25, 1 Corinthians 15:19-26 and Luke 24:1-12. The tune is WESTMINSTER ABBEY by Henry Purcell (†1695), which was paired with "In His temple now behold Him" in LW, CWALH and LSB, with "Christ is made the sure Foundation" in CWALH, LSB, ELW and CWH, and with "Light of Light, O Sole-Begotten" in LSB.

Alleluia! Christ is living,
Having suffered in our stead!
Rise, guilt-stricken hearts and grieving:
Praise the Firstborn from the dead!
Hear the glad good news, believing,
And partake of living Bread!

Firstfruits of all them who slumber,
Christ has answered for our debt.
Adam's children in full number
Toil no more 'neath thrall and threat,
For the bond that us encumbers
Jesus' blood has more than met.

Now begins a new creation:
Weeping will give place to joy.
No more, in God's holy nation,
Shall they injure or destroy.
Safe from death and desolation,
Fruitful efforts we'll employ.

Christ is risen, yea, ascended
To the right hand of the Lord,
Whence, all rule and power ended,
Will death's captives be restored,
Gathered to that vision splendid
Where for aye He is adored.

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

465. Passion Sunday (Series C)

The lessons for this Sunday are Deuteronomy 32:36-39, Philippians 2:5-11 (as in Years A and B), and either the whole St. Luke Passion (22:1-23:56) or just Luke 23 or (as in Years A and B) John 12:20-43. The tune is OVER KEDRON JESUS TRÆDER by Ludvig M. Lindeman (†1887), which both LHy and ELHy pair with Thomas Kingo's Passion hymn, "Over Kedron Jesus treadeth," and which I've been planning for a long time to use for exactly this hymn. It's about as Romantic as my taste runs, hymn-tune-wise. And ere anyone ask, the C in the bass line, bar 7 beat 1, is not a misprint. So there.

"Crucify Him, crucify Him!"
Cry the cruel multitude.
Lo, the hour of truth is nigh Him,
Jesus' heart to death subdued,
Every unjust word and blow
Borne on my behalf, I know:
From the Servant's part unshrinking,
Christ my cup of woe is drinking.

Oh, what darkness, signifying
All that on this moment turns:
God's Son hanging, hurting, dying,
So much for my life He yearns!
Me, a wretch, in error lost,
He redeems at such a cost!
Drawn aside from pleasures hollow,
In His cross's track I'd follow!

Oh, what stillness, as men bury
God Himself at close of day!
All complete, His mourners tarry
Little o'er the lifeless clay.
Yet, Lord, shed on me such peace;
From death's terror grant release,
Unto one and all revealing
In Your wounds a fount of healing.

464. Lent 5 (Series C)

Be not afraid. I didn't forget Lent 4. But when I was saw that the Gospel lesson was the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:1-3, 11-32) I realized that I'd already written a hymn on that, one of the first things I wrote for this book. So, that hymn moves into the Lent 4 slot, and on we go. That's the last good news of this sort I expect to receive during this project, for although Hebrews 11 comes up later in this series, it's split between Proper 14 and 15 (two successive Sundays after Pentecost) and I don't feature carving up the hymn I wrote on that chapter into two.

Anyway, the lessons for Lent 5 are Isaiah 43:16-21, Philippians 3:8-14 (optional 4b-7) and Luke 20:9-20. The tune is ARFON, adapted from a Welsh traditional melody in E. Jones's Welsh Bards (1794), which the Australian Lutheran Hymnal used with two hymns: "Chief of sinners though I be" and "What our Father does is well."

Lord, who made the sea a road
And the horse and chariot drowned,
Lead us forth through mighty flood;
Plant our foot on solid ground.
Freed from hateful servitude,
May we in Your praise abound.

Former things are done and past;
Lo, a new thing is begun.
Desert fountains flow at last;
Feral beasts before You run,
And the Stone by men outcast
Is become the Cornerstone.

All things we might idolize,
Let us gladly count as loss,
Rather fixing hearts and eyes
On the treasure of the cross:
Pressing forward to the prize
Of our upward call and course.

463. Lent 3 (Series C)

The lessons for this Sunday are Ezekiel 33:7-20, 1 Corinthians 10:1-13 and Luke 13:1-9. The tune is HINUNTER IST DER SONNEN SCHEIN by Melchior Vulpius (1609), which the Australian Lutheran Hymnal (1973) paired with "The sun is set, its light is gone." The setting is mine, and like many others I've done lately, improvised on a computer keyboard rather than a piano; so, if you spot any voice leading errors, reprove me gently and I will endeavor to turn from them.

Friends, balk not at the Lord's rebuke:
Would you that God the right forsook?
Nay, ready ear to warnings give;
Return to righteousness and live!

Turn, wicked ones! Why should you die?
The Lord no pleasure takes thereby.
Say not that His way is unfair,
Who them that turn to Him will spare.

Nor trust in your own righteousness,
Lest you return to sin and death.
God plays not favorites with men,
But them that turn restores again.

If you would walk in truth, submit
To wisdom taught by holy writ:
By baptism brought, as through the sea,
To eat and drink, right wondrously.

Eat, then, the Bread come from on high;
Drink of the Rock that runs not dry;
Which, if you heed the God-breathed page,
Is Christ, the same from age to age.

Monday, December 26, 2022

462. Lent 2 (Series C)

The lessons for this Sunday are Jeremiah 26:8-15, Philippians 3:17-4:1 and Luke 13:31-35. The tune is O LEBENSBRÜNNLEIN, from Görlitz, 1587. Again, I cribbed it from the SELK hymnal, where it is set to a "faith and justification" hymn whose first line is "O Lebensbr├╝nnlein tief und gross."

Jerusalem, ah! can it be,
A prophet dies outside of thee?
How oft, hadst thou been willing,
Thy Lord had clasped thee to His breast
As hen the hatchlings of her nest,
Her down their tremors stilling!
But thou wouldst not endure their word,
Soon as "Amend thy ways" was heard,
Their blood, all blameless, spilling.

Thou Church, ah! city of the Lord,
Take care to heed the trusty word
Of them Christ sends to warn thee;
For full account will He demand
How they had nourished thee by hand
And in their bosom borne thee.
Think, ere their counsels thou oppose,
How at the present age's close
Their witness will adorn thee!

But now, behold! For all the world
Comes in the name of God the Lord
The Prophet long awaited:
Rejected by His native town,
He bears the nation's pious frown,
By priest and elder hated.
He works, He suffers and He dies,
Upon the third day to arise,
God's justice satiated.

Thou holy city, chosen flock,
As citizens of heaven walk,
Christ eagerly expecting.
He will thy lowliness reshape,
Thy body in His image drape,
Thy blemishes correcting.
Stand fast in Christ, dear joy and crown,
Till yet once more He cometh down,
All things at last perfecting.

461. Lent 1 (Series C)

The lessons for this Sunday are Deuteronomy 26:1-11, Romans 10:8b-13 and Luke 4:1-13. The tune is ES GEHT DAHER DES TAGES SCHEIN, a 15th century melody found in a Bohemian Brethren book of 1519, which I cribbed from the SELK hymnal.

On Jesus in the wilderness
Let heart believe and tongue confess:
Armed with the word He stood the trial
And turned aside the serpent's guile.

"Be You God's Son," the devil said,
"Why hunger? Change these stones to bread!"
Said Jesus, "Not in bread alone,
But in God's word man's life is known."

The devil said, "Bow down to me;
The world I'll give You, fair to see."
Yet from the cross Christ did not swerve,
But said: "God only shall you serve."

Said Satan, "Leap down from on high;
Your angels' sworn protection try."
But thrice prevailing by God's word,
The Son replied, "Tempt not the Lord."

Thus Satan's "Did God truly say?"
And Adam's fall are put away;
The woman's Seed has drawn the fang
From which sin's mortal venom sprang.

By forty days of desert fast
Christ answers Eden's test at last,
Our exodus has walked anew,
The promised land disclosed to view.

At this, no doubt, the angels thrill:
All righteousness will He fulfill.
The foe cannot o'er Him prevail,
Who works salvation without fail.

Friday, December 23, 2022

460. Transfiguration (Series C)

The lessons for this Sunday are Deuteronomy 34:1-12, Hebrews 3:1-6 and Luke 9:28-36. The tune is DU MEINE SEELE SINGE by Johann Georg Ebeling (†1676), which SBH used as its second tune for "O God, the Rock of Ages."

Christ, Your transfigured glory
The faithful three nonplussed,
As saints of ancient story
Your exodus discussed:
Elijah, who was carried
Alive unto Your throne;
And Moses, whom You buried,
His resting place unknown.

Small wonder that we knew them,
Whose faces none had seen,
While yet more strangely through them
News of Your death we glean.
All prophecy, all learning,
All breadth of sacred page,
Must therefore teem concerning
That crux of every age.

As Peter spoke up, knowing
Not wherefore or whereof,
A dreadful cloud came flowing;
The Father spoke with love.
What fear, what glory blinding!
What earth-convulsing tone!—
And after all this, finding
You, Christ, and You alone!

Indeed, Lord, we would hear You;
Your presence we would gain,
In fellowship draw near You,
Come either joy or pain;
Come rare and mighty vision,
Come humble toil and death,
We seek from You provision
For ev'ry thought and breath.

You who held conversation
With holy men of yore,
Now give us that salvation
Encoded in their lore:
Unchained from dusty letters,
Unleashed in bloody act,
Your cross has cut our fetters
And Satan's kingdom sacked.

An alleluia bring we;
One alleluia more
To You, O Father, sing we,
O Son, whom we adore;
The Holy Spirit praising,
One God from age to age,
Let endless allleluias
All faithful tongues engage.

Thursday, December 22, 2022

459. Epiphany 8 (Series C)

The lessons for this Sunday are Jeremiah 7:1-7 (optional 8-15), 1 Corinthians 15:42-52 (optional 53-58) and Luke 6:39-49. The tune is LOBET DEN HERREN, ALLE by Johann Crüger (1653), which the 1973 Australian LH paired with "Let us, O Father, never be confounded" and SBH with "O God be with us, for the night is falling."

Not all who call Christ "Lord" are well instructed,
But those whose lives are by His word conducted:
These, like a house deep on the bedrock founded,
Share strength unsounded.

These, though the flood its currents hurl against them,
Stand sure as when their Architect commenced them;
While those built on the surface are confounded,
To splinters pounded.

Christ, stir our hearts, who hear your prophets speaking:
Bid us amend our ways, Your precepts seeking,
That all we do may be in Your word rooted
And richly fruited.

Then, at Your trumpet's wondrous interruption,
Let all who wait inherit incorruption:
All in a twinkling into life translating
And recreating.

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

458. Epiphany 7 (Series C)

The lessons for this Sunday are Genesis 45:3-15, 1 Corinthians 15:21-26 skipping to 30-42, and Luke 6:27-38. The tune is O JERUSALEM, DU SCHÖNE by Johann Georg Christian Störl (1711), which the Ev. Lutheran Hymn-Book actually dates to 1734 although Störl died in 1719. There are varying arrangements of this melody in CSB, ALH, LHy, SBH, ELHb, TLH ad CWALH, including ones with a dotted rhythm in the first and third phrases and another in which the fifth phrase has been butchered to avoid having to repeat a four-syllable line. Texts I've seen it pair with include "Alleluia! Fairest morning," "Lo, He comes with clouds descending" and "O'er the distant mountains breaking."

O disciples, hear the Savior:
With your enemies be meek,
Letting love steer your behavior,
Off'ring them the other cheek.
From their service never waver,
Nor reward nor vengeance seek.

Bless them even when they curse you;
Pray for those who use you ill.
Seek not that men reimburse you;
What they take, more render still.
On this consolation nurse you:
Mercy is the Savior's will.

Mercy He Himself has shown you,
Bearing patiently your cross.
With compassion has He known you,
Fount whereof can none exhaust.
He hereafter will enthrone you,
Recompensing grief and loss.

Be therefore, sons of the Highest,
Merciful as even He,
Nor to condemnation biased;
Let your measure rather be
Not the scantiest or driest,
But poured out abundantly.

Let not even death amaze you,
Should the foe your life demand.
Though like seed in earth he lays you,
Christ at last will take His stand
And imperishable raise you,
Fitted for the Promised Land.

Sunday, December 18, 2022

457. Epiphany 6 (Series C)

The lessons for this Sunday are Jeremiah 17:5-8, 1 Corinthians 15:12-20 (optional 1-11) and Luke 6:17-26. The tune is ACH, WIE SEHNLICH WART ICH by Wolfgang Briegel (1687), which the Aussies' 1973 hymnal paired with "Alas! and did my Savior bleed," while the old Ev. Lutheran Hymn-Book paired it with "Behold the Savior of mankind."

Woe to the man who trusts in man,
Whose bulwark is the flesh.
His heart estranged from God, what can
His withered soul refresh?

Blest be the man who trusts the Lord:
His hope in Christ is sound.
Fed by the living, healing word,
With fruit he will abound.

Woe to the rich, who have their due;
The full, who have their feed.
Blest be the poor and hungry, who
Will see fulfilled their need.

The kingdom's heirs a while may weep,
But soon they will rejoice;
While they who gloat today will reap
Tomorrow's wailing voice.

To whom the world with favor views
Is due the false seers' fate,
While they whom one and all abuse
For Christ, a prize await.

Two ways, of blessing and of woe,
Before us lie today.
Christ guide us on the way we go,
Let all the faithful pray!

456. Epiphany 5 (Series C)

The lessons for this Sunday are Isaiah 6:1-8 (optional 9-13), 1 Corinthians 14:12b-20 and Luke 5:1-11. The tune is an isometric version of ICH WILL DICH LIEBEN that happens to fit the meter of this hymn. I found it in the American Lutheran Hymnal, where it was set to "All glory be to God alone," although a rhythmic (and metrically incompatible) version also occurs in that book. The tune, from a 1738 songbook out of Frankfurt am Main, is best known, across many Lutheran hymnals, as a vehicle for Johann Scheffler's hymn "Thee will I love, my Strength, my Tower," but this version of it may be a sufficient novelty to escape those strong associations. Other texts I've seen paired with this tune include "Awake, Thou Spirit, who didst fire" and "O who like Thee, so calm, so bright."

O fishermen of Galilee,
What kind of prophet can this be
Who, pressed upon the crowded beach,
Would from your anchored vessel preach!
Cast out, cast out at His command;
The sea itself is in His hand.

Turn eyes, concerned with daily care,
Upon the catch He summons there:
Then, fearing Him whose name you know,
Go where He summons you to go:
"Leave all for Me; the power win
To draw men forth from depths of sin."

As Simon knelt before God's Son,
Isaiah knew himself undone
Before God's angel-haunted throne,
Sin-stained and pow'rless to atone.
But hear again that pard'ning call
To speak the word, forsaking all.

To whate'er gifts you may aspire,
Be still before the Spirit's fire;
The awful majesty of God;
The way of sorrow Jesus trod.
Then, though men find His means absurd,
Go in the power of His word.

Go, pardoned of your load of guilt;
Go, walk the road His blood has built,
Expecting through His word to gain,
Though of yourself you'd toil in vain.
Go, leaving all in Jesus' hand,
And strain to bring your nets to land.

Saturday, December 10, 2022

455. Epiphany 4 (Series C)

The lessons for this Sunday are Jeremiah 1:4-10 (optional 17-19), 1 Corinthians 12:31b-13:13 and Luke 4:31-44. I previously wrote a hymn about 1 Cor. 13 back here. Nevertheless, here I go again. The tune is WAS MEIN GOTT WILL, a French melody (1529) attributed to Claudin de Sermisy and also credited to an Antwerp songbook of 1540. I was just reading a hymn translated by Matthew Carver with the tune DURCH ADAMS FALL above it, but at the bare suggestion that it could also be sung to this tune, I could hear only it in my minds ear. It goes with "Who trusts in God a strong abode" in many hymnals and, in a goodly handful, with "The will of God is always best." The rhythmic setting above borrows the harmony from an isometric setting by J.S. Bach, only with a second-inversion tonic chord inserted at three strategic points. And for what it's worth, this is going to be "Hymn 500" in Bountiful Hymns.

Dear Christians, seek that greater gift
Than tongues and prophesying,
Which not yourself, but others lifts,
Your brother's need supplying.
Had I all knowledge, speech and faith,
No love the while possessing,
It were but striving after breath
And I, estranged from blessing.

Love suffers long, is kind and meek;
Is never proud or greedy;
Gives no offense, nor power seeks,
To vengeance is not speedy;
Plans not, rejoices not in ill,
In truth its gladness mooring;
Bears all, believing, hoping still,
All that may come enduring.

Love never fails, though tongues will cease
And prophets' visions falter;
Yea, even knowledge will decrease
As portents fade and alter.
What now is hoped for and believed,
Seen dimly in a mirror,
Will soon be grasped, in full received,
While Love remains, still dearer.

454. Epiphany 3 (Series C)

The lessons for this Sunday are Nehemiah 8:1-10 (strategically skipping verses 4 and 7), 1 Corinthians 12:12-31a and Luke 4:16-30. The tune is the 16th century Swedish tune I HOPPET SIG MIN FRÄLSTA SJÄL FÖRNÖJER, a.k.a. NORRLAND, a.k.a. SWEDEN, which was paired with "In hope, my soul, redeemed to bliss unending" in the American Lutheran Hymnal and TLH.

O Christ, who in Your own place were rejected,
Stand by them who for Your sake are corrected.
Grant that their teaching,
Sin's fortress breaching,
May be in us, as though by fire, perfected.

As stewards of Your secrets You appoint them,
To preach good tidings to the poor anoint them:
Through them revealing
Your grace and healing,
Lead us in faithful witnessing to join them.

For they, the time of our redemption crying,
A balm for broken spirits are applying.
The captive freeing,
Blind eyes leave seeing,
Downtrodden hearts with courage fortifying.

Give them and us a measure of Your Spirit,
That when they preach of judgment, we may fear it;
And when they mention
Love's condescension,
Tune heart and mind attentively to hear it.

Thus, call our hearts from clifftop perils faring—
Pride's precipice or gulfs of deep despairing—
That Your returning
We meet with yearning,
A glad homecoming with the faithful sharing.

Friday, December 9, 2022

453. Epiphany 2 (Series C)

The lessons for this Sunday are Isaiah 62:1-5, 1 Corinthians 12:1-11 and John 2:1-11. The tune is TWENTY-FOURTH, attributed to Lucius Chapn (†1842), which was paired with "O Son of God, in Galilee" in LW, LSB and CWH; "Where charity and love prevail" in LBW, LSB, ELW and CWH; "Love consecrates the humblest act" in LBW and ELW; and also a metrical paraphrase of the Agnus Dei in a Divine Service setting in ELW.

At Cana's wedding, Christ the Lord
Peformed His first great sign,
When by His efficacious word
He made the water wine.

Shall He not, even more today,
Bless us when we rejoice?
Indeed, when we glad tidings say,
He joins His living voice.

Shall He not also hear our prayer
When empty be our cask?
Indeed, He makes His own our care
And answers when we ask.

Shall He not be with those who wed,
Who for His blessing search?
Indeed, with willingness He bled
To cleanse His bride, the church.

Shall He not give us that to drink
Which makes for life and joy?
Yea, by what pow'r we dare not think,
His vintage we employ:

A stronger draft than any made
Or served by mortal hands;
A table for the whole world laid,
Sufficient for all lands.

The water poured was found instead
To be the choicest wine;
So also, under wine and bread,
On Christ Himself we dine.

How this is done, we might inquire
But scarcely comprehend;
Yet oft as we this meal desire,
Its fullness He will send.

Lord, bless the freedom and the joy
Your first of signs avows;
All causes of discord destroy,
And loving hearts arouse.

Sunday, December 4, 2022

452. Epiphany 1 (Series C)

The lessons for this Sunday, also known as the Baptism of Our Lord, are Isaiah 43:1-7, Romans 6:1-11 (as in Years A and B) and Luke 3:15-22. The tune is ALL SAINTS, a.k.a. ZEUCH MICH, not to be confused with ALL SAINTS NEW ("The Son of God goes forth to war") or ZEUCH EIN ("O enter, Lord, Thy temple"). However, it *is* to be confused with DIR, DIR, JEHOVA ("Jehovah, let me now adore Thee") and WINCHESTER NEW ("Ride on, ride on in majesty"), which are more or less the same tune but with more or fewer notes, and perhaps also ALLE MENSCHEN MÜSSEN STERBEN ("All men living are but mortal") which has a superficially similar first phrase. It's an incestuous tangle of tunes, for sure.

No, kids, this tune, out of Geistreiches Gesangbuch (Darmstadt, 1698), is the one that SBH and Australia's LH paired with "One there is above all others," CSB and Australian LH with "Who are these like stars appearing," LSB with "Long before the world is waking," LSB and CWH with "Since our great High Priest, Christ Jesus," CWH with "Lord, who left the highest heaven," and the Australian Lutheran Hymn-Book (1925; which I've never indexed and rarely consult) with "Who are these like stars appearing." I really have to update that hymn-tune catalog of mine; its incompleteness is weighing on my conscience. But first, I mean to finish this three-year-series hymn project. To that end:

John came preaching at the Jordan,
Bidding Israël repent.
Ere he donned the martyr's cordon
As a forerunner he went,
Adding this to all besides:
Pointing out God's Lamb and Christ.

Herod heard him, but resisted,
Pleased by any novelty;
In his vices he persisted—
Murder and adultery,
Adding this to all besides:
John's detention and demise.

Jesus, meanwhile, came for washing
By the baptist's humble hand,
In the selfsame Jordan splashing
As the lowest in the land,
Adding this to all besides:
Saving those in Him baptized.

Since He took baptismal waters,
Those whom He now bathes therein
Are reborn, God's sons and daughters,
Transferred from the realm of sin,
Adding this to all besides:
Faith and life He thus provides.

God inspired this promise handsome
In Isaiah's prescient tome:
Life for life one day to ransom,
Calling all His children home.
Now this promise is made good:
We are washed in Jesus' blood.

451. Christmas 2 (Series C)

The lessons for this Sunday are (same as in Years A and B) 1 Kings 3:4-15, Ephesians 1:3-14 and Luke 2:40-52. I've avoided self-repetition so far by focusing on a different reading each time, but now that I've written a hymn on all three readings (including one way back here), I'm just going to have to bite the bullet and re-showcase The Boy Jesus Among the Doctors.

The tune is MIT FREUDEN ZART, credited either to 34 Pseaumes de David (Geneva, 1531) or Kirchengesang (Berlin, 1566) and paired with "With high delight, let us unite" in a number of hymnals, as well as "Lord Christ, when first you came to earth" and "O Holy Ghost, Thou gift divine." There are two rhythmic arrangements of this hymn at large in the anglophone hymnal world, and due to the wisdom of experience telling me not to tangle with Concordia Publishing House permissions (which can cost an arm and a leg even if you ask nicely), I'm going with the public-domain one.

Lord Jesus, who Your Father's will
While yet a Child attended,
Our little ones with wisdom fill,
By angel guards defended:
So let them grow that they may know
From early youth the word of truth,
Into Your care commended.

Take them, Lord! Only ours in trust,
Help us protect and feed them.
With faithful teaching and robust
Disciple them and lead them.
Stoke holy fire, that they inquire
In word and rite; with holy light
Both guide their steps and speed them.

And should we lose these precious ones,
Grant that we trust Your Father
Who all His daughters and His sons
Will sometime call and gather.
Then we will find a bosom kind:
A gracious God gained by Your blood,
Lord Jesus, and none other.

Saturday, December 3, 2022

450. Christmas 1 (Series C)

The lessons for this Sunday are Exodus 13:1-3a skipping to 11-15, Colossians 3:12-17 and (same as in Years A and B) Luke 2:22-40. The tune is O HERRE GOTT, IN MEINER NOT by Johann Balthasar Reimann (1747), which ELHB paired with "O Lord my God, I cry to Thee" and which I previously used with this hymn.

See what for our True Love is done:
Two turtledoves or pigeons young
For Him who broached the womb afresh,
Whom God begot, becoming flesh:
The Passover, from Egypt sprung,
Perfected in the virgin's Son.

There firstborn men and beasts were killed
That Israel's cup of grace be filled:
Those who by blood were set apart
Spared, from harsh bondage to depart.
Now with this custom see comply
The Lamb of God, marked out to die.

The Law's demands He underwent,
Yet for our guilt He was content
To give a gift of untold price:
Himself our paschal sacrifice.
Daubed with His offered blood are we,
From sin and death to set us free.

Now in these days of Christmas twelve,
For gifts that please our True Love delve:
In mercy, kindness, modesty,
In gentleness and patience be;
In pardon, love, thanksgiving, peace,
In word and deed God's praise increase.

French hens and partridges, begone!
Instead of allegory, song
Befits the babe brought forth to bear
The burden of our race's care.
With psalm and hymn, with heart and voice,
Dwell in the Word; in Christ rejoice!

Friday, December 2, 2022

449. Advent 4 (Series C)

The lessons for this Sunday are Micah 5:2-5a, Hebrews 10:5-10 and Luke 1:39-45 (optional 46-56). The tune is THESSALONICA, adapted from a German melody by John Goss (1864), which the Common Service Book paired with "Commit thou all thy griefs."

Blest is the mother mild,
And blest her holy Child!
For in her womb rests He by whom
The Lord is reconciled.
In Him a world forlorn
Sees her Salvation born;
He bears the gloom of cross and tomb
And robs death of its thorn.

Blest is the little town
Where heav'n to earth drops down:
Where weak and small, the Lord of all
Claims Israel's golden crown;
Where myrrh and frankincense
Waft their significance.
While mages crawl and kingdoms fall,
His dealings are immense.

Blest are these latter days
When safe His flock may graze:
No altar's fire does God desire;
From sin He turns His gaze.
A body He prepares
And in our nature shares,
Walks through our mire, our trouble dire,
Our due chastisement bears.

Behold, how blest are we
Whom, all unworthily,
Our Lord should deign to entertain
In such humility!
So live that He derives
A sweet scent from our lives;
Put on faith's spice, that gift of price,
Till He again arrives.

O world, from folly turn;
A fume of worship burn
And look, intent for His advent,
For which creation yearns.
Then let the night wax old,
Earth melt and heaven fold;
Come, our ascent where Jesus went,
Pearl gates and streets of gold!

Thursday, December 1, 2022

448. Advent 3 (Series C)

The lessons for this Sunday are Zephaniah 3:14-20, Philippians 4:4-7 and Luke 7:18-28 (optional 29-35). I think I covered the Epistle lesson pretty well in this previous hymn. The tune is DOVER, a.k.a. DURHAM, a.k.a. HAMPTON, by Aaron Williams (1770). A survey of many anglophone Lutheran hymnals has turned up at least 11 instances of it, including one or two each with seven different texts, perhaps most notably "Breathe on me, Breath of God," "Father, in whom we live" and "Soldiers of Christ, arise."

Daughter of Zion, sing!
Yon sons of Jacob, shout!
The Lord has drawn Your judgments' sting,
Your enemy cast out.

Be glad at heart and voice!
The King is in your midst.
Fear no disaster, but rejoice,
Whom God in peace has kissed.

His Mighty One will save;
He will in you delight,
With husband's tenderness behave
And sing in measures bright.

He will all those draw in
Who over Zion grieve;
Will lift the burden of her sin
And heal all who believe.

He'll put the foe to rout,
Make whole the halt and lame;
Will reunite those driven out
And give them praise and fame.

From every tribe and tongue
The captive will return,
A new refrain by all be sung,
All who for Zion yearn.

Now God's unfathomed peace
Will guard your heart and mind,
While patience, prayer and praise increase
With love for all mankind.

447. Advent 2 (Series C)

The lessons for this Sunday are Malachi 3:1-7b, Philippians 1:2-11 and Luke 3:1-4 (optional 15-20). The tune is JESUS CHRISTUS, UNSER HEILAND – not the one I used here, but the other one, from J. Klug's Geistliche Lieder (Wittenberg, 1535), paired with "Jesus Christ, our blessed Savior" in ELHB, TLH, LW, CWALH, ELHy and LSB.

Now behold! The Day is nearing
Of His sudden reappearing:
Christ, in Whom our hearts delight,
Things yet unseen will bare to sight.

Who can stand at His appearing,
His swift judgment duly fearing?
For as gold His fire will try
His own, whom He would purify.

To repentance He has called us,
As with caustic soap to scald us,
Casting off the film of sin
That coats us as a second skin.

His keen judgment will bear witness
Of our deep, inherent sickness;
Nor will it escape His eye
How oft we conjure, cheat and lie;

How we misuse those who labor,
Disregard our needy neighbor,
Whom if God we truly feared
We had from our great bounty cheered.

Yet take heart! Christ is unchanging,
Satan's counsels still deranging.
Us His fire will not consume:
His blood is pledged against our doom.

In His gospel now partaking,
Satan and his works forsaking,
Trust salvation's Architect:
What He began, He will perfect.

Let our love, the more abounding
As in Him our hope is grounding,
Render ample, pleasing fruit
With Jesus' righteousness at root.

Likewise, in pure knowledge growing,
What is excellent approving,
May our hearts be found sincere
And blameless when His Day appears.

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

446. Advent 1 (Series C)

The lessons for this Sunday are Jeremiah 33:14-16, 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13 and either Luke 19:28-40 or Luke 21:25-36. The tune is WIR HATTEN GEBAUET (above), a.k.a. CHRISTMAS DAWN, a.k.a. THURINGIA, a.k.a. WIE LIEBLICH ISTS HIENIEDEN, a German folksong dated 1823 and used in several hymnals with the text "When Christmas morn is dawning" and in at least one hymanl each with "How good it is for brethren" and "Our song shall be of Jesus." Also, I previously used it with this hymn in Useful Hymns.

Come, righteous Branch of David!
The hour is all but ripe.
The earth with hope is gravid;
Her birthpangs sorely gripe.
We pray with ardor avid:
Come, David's Antitype!

Come, all injustice righting;
Come, spoils of sin restore;
Come, just decrees inditing
Where malice ruled before.
The ancient dragon smiting,
Unseal Your city's door.

Come quickly, Zion saving,
Yea, all who love You well:
All who the prize are craving
Whereof Your prophets tell,
While still the salvos braving
Of Satan, sin and hell.

Come, heaven's gates unsealing,
Jerusalem on high;
Come, all our bruises healing;
Come, every tear wipe dry;
Come, perfect bliss revealing
To faith's imperfect eye.

Come soon; and till Your coming
Direct our way to You,
That we, Your mercies plumbing,
May love each other, too,
And at our final summons
With joy Your glory view.

Sunday, November 20, 2022

445. Confirmation Hymn

Here's a hymn outside the run of "Series A, B and C" lectionary hymns that I've been meditating on for a little bit. The tune is the other SCHWING DICH AUF – not the one I used here – by Johann Georg Ebeling (1666). TLH paired it with "Come, ye faithful, raise the strain," while Australian LH used it for "With the Lord thy task begin." Their versions of the tune are slightly different; I'm following the Australian LH version, which is a little more interesting rhythmically, and also in a more comfortable key.

Christ, to You we here commend
These fresh-armored forces.
Send them where You choose to send;
Guide them on their courses.
Let what You gave on the cross
Be their constant ration;
On their hearts Yourself emboss
And their lives refashion.

Let them on Your teachings feed,
Keeping Your commandments,
And, committed to Your creed,
Spurn the world's enchantments;
Pray at all times, and confess;
Trust Your absolution;
Wear baptism as daily dress,
Cleansed of all pollution.

Let them run to gain a crown
That will never perish;
Box their flesh, and when knocked down,
Your forgiveness cherish;
Answer gently when reviled,
Your closeness discerning;
Always know they are Your child,
To their home returning.

Friday, November 18, 2022

444. Proper 29 (Series B)

The lessons for this service, the last Sunday of the church year during Nov. 20-26, are either Isaiah 51:4-6 or Daniel 7:9-10 skipping to 13-14, either Jude 20-25 or Revelation 1:4b-8, and either Mark 13:24-37 or John 18:33-37, apparently because the lectionary people lost count of the number of Sundays after Trinity (or, probably, Pentecost) and couldn't bear to let the extra one go. It's one of those Sundays when you find out which set of texts you're working with when the church publishing house sends out its proprietary bulletin insert for the week; by which time, dollars to donuts, you've prepared for the other set.

The tune is ES IST GENUG (a.k.a. AUGSBURG, a.k.a. GOTT IST GETREU), attr. Johann Rudolph Ahle (1560), from Drittes Zehn neuer geistlicher Arien (Mühlhausen, 1672). One may find it paired, in anywhere from one to four or more hymnals each, with "I am content," "Lead on, O Lord," "My course is run," "O Father, Thou who hast created all," "There still is room," not to mention some beautiful arrangements by J.S. Bach and (complete with Bach's arrangement) a violin concerto by Alban Berg. It has a Lydian mode thing going on that you don't see in a lot of hymn tunes, which gives it a striking, if not unique, character.

"My realm," said Jesus, "is not of this world;
Else would my hosts resist,
That I might not for sinful man be killed;
But I have come for this,
That all the world with good news reaching,
I may save them who trust My teaching."
Amen, we sing!
Come soon, dear King!

"Watch," Jesus said, "and recognize the signs
That show the end is near,
Lest unprepared the Lord His servant finds
When swiftly He appears!
The stars will fall and heaven shatter
When angels all My chosen gather."
Amen, we sing!
Come soon, dear King!

Says He, "My law will run ahead of me;
My justifying Word
To all the peoples saving light will be,
Whereso its sound is heard.
Though earth and heaven be demolished,
My righteousness is ne'er abolished."
Amen, we sing!
Come soon, dear King!

To Him whose love has cleansed our ev'ry stain
Through His redeeming blood,
Be glory now and till He comes again,
Our Savior and our God.
Alpha, Omega, all creation
Groans for the day of restoration:
Amen, we sing!
Come soon, dear King!

443. Proper 28 (Series B)

The lessons for this service, a Sunday after Trinity during Nov. 13-19, are Daniel 12:1-3, Hebrews 10:11-25 and Mark 13:1-13. The tune is WAS GOTT TUT, from a Weimar Gesangbuch of 1681, attributed to Severus Gastorius (1675), and widely set to the hymn "What God ordains is always good." It has also appeared with "O Son of God, we wait for Thee" in four or five hymnals, and "In Jesus I find peace and rest" in the Australian LH.

Once for all men, once for all crime,
One off'ring having given,
Christ was exalted for all time
To God's right hand in heaven.
Before the Lord
His blood was poured,
That all may be perfected
Who in Him are elected.

Near, even now, those latter days
When, on our hearts engraving
His laws, God will our former ways
Forget, His people saving!
Therefore make bold
Through Jesus' blood
The Holiest to enter;
To God Your praises render.

Since in our midst the Lord is born,
Our High Priest is forever,
And in His flesh the veil is torn
That us from God would sever.
Let us draw near
With trusting fear,
Hearts cleansed with living water,
Thus pleasing to our Father.

Hold fast our hope in faith and creed,
Upon His word relying.
To acts of love each other lead,
The body edifying;
Nor hesitate
To congregate,
The one thing needful hearing,
More as the day is nearing.

For our Redeemer, who atoned
By blood for all our error,
Will soon return, on clouds enthroned,
In majesty and terror.
But we who know
His truth will glow
With those we turn to rightness,
In everlasting brightness!

Thursday, November 17, 2022

442. Proper 27 (Series B)

The lessons for this service, a Sunday after Trinity during Nov. 6-12, are 1 Kings 17:8-16, Hebrews 9:24-28 and Mark 12:38-44. The tune is STABAT MATER (a.k.a. MAINZ), from a Mainz Gesangbuch of 1661, which SBH and LBW (appropriately) paired with a Stabat Mater hymn, "At the cross, her station keeping." These hymnals format the hymn in six-line stanzas; however, because the Latin original comes in three-line stanzas, and because the second half of the tune is an exact copy of the first (even with the same harmony, except for one chord), I'm chopping it down to a three line form and just letting there be more stanzas.

Tenderly, Lord, let it move You,
When You see poor widows love You,
Serving You with scant reward.

Her of Zarephath examine,
Who, though perishing of famine,
With Elijah shared her bread;

Or, to take Your own example,
Her who passed You in the temple,
Giving her last mite to God.

Some perhaps, who wore fine clothing,
Looked upon her rags with loathing
Or her urgent need ignored.

Let our hearts, therefore, be humbled
When we have far more, yet grumble,
Or regard sharp need with dread.

Not in fortune or ambition,
Men's regard or high position
Lies the grace of widowhood;

Neither in our pious posing,
While upon the poor foreclosing,
Do we please You as we should.

Rather, let us take as pattern
Her, perceived as ragged slattern,
But most dear to You, O Lord.

Let us give, Your goodness trusting,
In Your hand our pittance thrusting,
From whence comes our daily bread.

Let us serve, till strength deserts us;
Pray, when other labor hurts us;
Treasure up Your lively word.

Homeward, then, Lord Jesus, call us;
Let us taste Your promised solace
And in Your rich gifts be glad.

441. Proper 26 (Series B)

The lessons for this service, a Sunday after Trinity during Oct. 30-Nov. 5 (if it isn't pre-empted by either Reformation or All Saints), are Deuteronomy 6:1-9, Hebrews 9:11-14 (optional 15-22) and Mark 12:28-37. The tune is UXBRIDGE by Lowell Mason (1830), which TLH and LW paired with "This child we dedicate to Thee" and ELHB with "Now Christ, the very Son of God."

O mystery most rich and sweet!
Christ, High Priest of good things to come,
Went in before the Mercy Seat
Not of men's making, to atone.

No goats' or bulls' blood, but His own
In that most holy place He spilled:
Himself, though spotless, bound and prone,
He offered to redeem the world.

Such deep exchange our Savior struck
While on the cross His flesh was rent,
His perfect blood o'er all our muck
As covenant—nay! testament.

For ere a will may take effect,
The testator must surely die.
So Christ secured for His elect
A heritage, and life thereby.

And lo, no covenant is sealed,
No vessel set apart to God,
No sin forgiven once revealed
Except by means of sprinkled blood.

O Lord our God, Lord who is One,
Who once for all gave and received
The sacrifice of Your dear Son,
Help us this testament believe:

That, sprinkled free of every stain,
We imitate Your total love
In serving all, unchecked by pain,
Eyes fixed on Christ who reigns above.

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

440. Proper 25 (Series B)

The lessons for this service, a Sunday after Trinity during Oct. 23-29, are Jeremiah 31:7-9, Hebrews 7:23-28 and Mark 10:46-52. The tune is THANKSGIVING by Walter B. Gilbert (1865), not to be confused with the tune by the same name by John B. Dykes (which I used here), nor with my own tune by that name, which I wrote for this hymn. Gilbert's tune was used in the Ev. Luth. Hymn-Book for "Swell the anthem, raise the song." I actually transposed this tune down by a minor third, so I hope it doesn't end up sounding muddy.

Jesus, Master, hear my prayer!
Yea, have mercy, David's Son!
For You bid me cast all care
Onto You; and having gone
Through the heavens, over all,
You will surely hear my call.
Help, Lord! My petition bear
To our Father's holy throne!

At the gates of Jericho
Bartimaeus called your name.
You, though sure all needs to know,
Bade the beggar state his claim.
Since our pleas thus please You well,
I my needs will daily tell
You, from whom all graces flow,
Even on the blind and lame.

So the blind will see Your love
And the lame with joy will leap,
Singing praise to You above,
Shepherd of such scattered sheep.
Jesus, draw us from the brink;
Lead us by fresh streams to drink;
Plumb the way on which we rove
Till no more we sigh and weep.

439. Proper 24 (Series B)

The lessons for this service, a Sunday after Trinity during Oct. 16-22, are Ecclesiastes 5:10-20, Hebrews 4:1-13 (optional 14-16) and Mark 10:23-31. The tune is DER TAG, DER IST SO FREUDENREICH, a.k.a. BOYE, a.k.a. DIES IST LAETITIAE, a.ka. TO US IS BORN, a 15th century German melody that across quite a few hymnals, and with certain rhythmic alterations, has been paired anywhere from once to three or more times each with such texts as "A Lamb goes uncomplaining forth," "Now hail the day so rich in cheer," "Holy Spirit God of love," "In this our happy Christmastide," "O Light of God's most wondrous love," "To us is born a blessed child" and "Who are these that earnest knock." I was actually prompted to use this tune by a hymn by Mark Preus in Christian Culture magazine. And by the way, I have a painting similar to the one shown here, by Heinrich Hoffmann, on my living room wall.

How hard it is for those with wealth
The promised rest to enter!
What thieves break in and take by stealth,
What rot eats from the center,
May please indeed the owner's eye
But stays behind when he shall die,
Bare as he came returning;
Meanwhile at night he lies awake,
Thoughts of what he may lose or take
A futile fever burning.

He who loves money longs for more,
Unsatisfied with plenty.
Far happier the faithful poor,
Content with few or many.
Bad dealings sweep his goods away;
With costly tastes and cares in play,
Mere wind rewards his striving;
And as his days grow few and dim,
Grief, illness, trouble come to him
Despite his deep conniving.

But there remains for us a rest
Beyond this life's employment,
Where God has promised to the blest
Unearned, unmixed enjoyment.
Oh, for that gift no gold can buy,
Nor adversary can deny,
To feast in spotless raiment!
He who has promised will fulfill,
For all things lie within His skill
And Christ has made full payment.

438. Proper 23 (Series B)

The lessons for this service, a Sunday after Trinity during Oct. 9-15, are Amos 5:6-7 and 10-15, Hebrews 3:12-19 and Mark 10:17-22. The tune is EXHORTATION, a little ditty I improvised just now.

Beware, while it is called "today,"
Lest unbelief lead you astray,
Lest sin's deceit or evil heart
The lambs of Jesus draw apart.
Exhort each other and rejoice
Today, if You will hear His voice!

Exhort each other, and partake
Of confidence for Jesus' sake;
For righteousness by works is vain,
And though the law's rebuke gives pain,
With love we prick each other's pride
That all may in Christ's love confide.

Behold the love in Jesus' eyes
As He the rich young man makes wise,
Who Law's strict letter never marred,
Yet took Christ's exhortation hard.
May we Your precept, Lord, obey,
That no false god lead us astray!

Exhort us, that our sins we may
In penitence before You lay,
Our doubt, our self-regard unload
With our pet idols on the road
Until, set free from inward vice,
We enter into Paradise.

437. Proper 22 (Series B)

The lessons for this service, a Sunday after Trinity during Oct. 2-8, are Genesis 2:18-25, Hebrews 2:1-13 (optional 14-18; the first of seven consecutive readings from this epistle), and Mark 10:2-16. The tune is WOMIT SOLL ICH DICH WOHL LOBEN, a.k.a. GOTHA, by Justin H. Knecht (1797), which the American Lutheran Hymnal paired with "Christ, the Life of all the living." I think the tune's merit exceeds that of the harmonization in ALH, so I've also written an original setting (see below).

Jesus, Captain of salvation,
For our sake it pleased God's heart
That You should bear tribulation,
Whereby we are set apart—
Sanctified through our connection
With Your flesh and its perfection—
For redeemed mankind is one
With the Lord's afflicted Son.

Hear the angels' word, all nations:
Every sin must be repaid!
Can we spurn such great salvation,
Yet full punishment evade?
God attests with signs and wonders
What subjection Christ went under,
Tasting death for all mankind
With a glorious crown assigned.

Nay, nor shall we spurn His likeness
Wherein manhood is designed;
Nor deny His order's rightness
That with woman man would bind:
Two souls as one flesh united,
Nevermore to be divided.
Better sign in vain we search
Of the bond twixt Christ and church.

Neither dare we such salvation
From the smallest child withhold,
Since to baptize every nation
Christ His church has firmly told,
Making those who helpless toddle
Of the saved His stated model.
That they may believe and live,
Children, too, to Jesus give!

What is man, eternal Father,
That with him Your son unites?
Son eternal, Jesus, gather
Her in whom Your heart delights
By the water and the Spirit,
By Your lifeblood's perfect merit,
That made blameless, as Your bride
We may evermore abide.

Monday, November 14, 2022

436. Proper 21 (Series B)

The lessons for this service, a Sunday after Trinity during Sept. 25-Oct. 1, are Numbers 11:4-6, 10-16 and 24-29, James 5:13-20 (optional 1-12) and Mark 9:38-50. The tune is I JESUS SØGER JEG MIN FRED by my good buddy, Ludvig M. Lindeman (†1887), which LHy and ELHy pair with "In Jesus I find rest and peace" and LHy also with "Whate'er my God ordains is right," which adds a syllable by breaking the melisma at the end.

What grace is yours, beloved church!
What favor you are given!
If any suffers, let him search
With prayer the help of heaven.
If any overflows with joy,
Let him exultant songs employ;
Let him who sins be shriven.

For God will not reject the prayers
Of those whose faith is fervent;
Nor of their soul's devoted airs
Will He be unobservant.
Those who confess their sins are healed;
All kinds of blessings come unsealed
To those with God conversant.

If any from the truth should stray,
Do you with love retrieve him.
Show him the error of his way
Before its sequels grieve him:
Thus you a soul from death may win;
Thus you may cover many a sin,
And into life receive him.

More grace than even this is yours,
O holy congregation!
Anointing with the spirit pours
Through pastor's blessed station:
By Christ's decree he wields the keys
That sick hearts may be set at ease.
Thank God for such vocation!

Can prophecy indeed be dead
When Christ through men are speaking?
For manna we have Christ instead,
Himself the bread we're breaking.
On His sufficiency we dine;
We drink His pardon under wine,
Where we His blood are taking.

What grace, beloved, is required
But that your Savior gives you?
By men He calls (not merely hired)
The Lord Himself forgives you.
You have through prayer the ear of God,
Till you the Jordan pass dryshod
And yonder He revives you.

Sunday, November 13, 2022

435. Proper 20 (Series B)

The lessons for this service, a Sunday after Trinity during Sept. 18-24, are Jeremiah 11:18-20, James 3:13-4:10 and Mark 9:30-37. The tune is TRISAGION by Henry Smart (1868), which ELHB, ALH, SBH and Australia's LH paired with "Stars of the morning, so gloriously bright." And if you don't think this riff on the Epistle lesson has any application in the church, you've never witnessed an LCMS district or synodical convention, congregational voters' assembly, etc. Goodness! Does that make me sound bitter?

Where is the wisdom that comes from above?
Yea, why does Christian with Christian make war?
Self-seeking envy is pitched against love,
With ev'ry evil the foe has in store.

Are not your battles ignited within?
You lust and covet, yet do not obtain;
Inward desire overflowing to sin,
Fighting, destroying for pleasure and gain.

Yet you have not, because you do not ask;
You ask but get not, for asking awry,
That in your selfish desires you may bask
While you the brethen would fight and deny.

Would you a friend of the present world be,
Yet be preserved when the elements burn?
For this world's friend is the Lord's enemy:
Does not the Spirit with jealousy yearn?

Send Satan fleeing, resisted, denied!
Humble yourself before God; weep and mourn!
Draw near to Him, hearts and hands purified:
He will uplift you as one newly born.

Put aside lying, confusion and pride;
For heav'nly wisdom above all is pure,
Peaceable, meek, setting pretense aside,
Merciful, fruitful, impartial, demure.

Yield to your neighbor; with brethren make peace,
Wherein Christ's wisdom and justice are sown
Till, from earth's envies and warfares released,
In His good time you are called to the throne.

434. Proper 19 (Series B)

The lessons for this service, a Sunday after Trinity during Sept. 11-17, are Isaiah 50:4-10, James 3:1-12 and Mark 9:14-29. The tune is DANK SEI GOTT IN DER HÖHE, which has the remarkable credit "Joh. Hermann Schein, 1627; Johann Crüger, 1640" in the SELK hymnal, where it is set to at least two hymns (roughly translated, "Thanks be to God on high" and "Lord Jesus, Light of the Gentiles").

Lord, bear with my weak praying;
Oh, help my unbelief!
While "If You can" I'm saying,
I know You bring relief.
You promise that, believing,
Great wonders I can do;
Forgive me, then, for leaving
The miracles to You.

You are not strange to weakness,
O Lord of Calvary.
You bore my shame with meekness,
Shrank not from agony,
Nor hid Your face from spitting,
The plucking of the beard,
To very death submitting
Mute as a Lamb when sheared.

Can You find me disgusting
Who bear your cross's mark?
Unclose my heart to trusting
Your will, though it be dark;
Unclose my eyes to find You
At work in word and sign,
And set my feet behind You
To trace Your way divine.

433. Proper 18 (Series B)

The lessons for this service, a Sunday after Trinity during Sept. 4-10, are Isaiah 35:4-7a, James 2:1-10 skipping to 14-18 (the first in a series of four readings from that epistle), and Mark 7:31-37 (optional 24-30). I've previously written a hymn on this Gospel lesson. The tune is THOMISSØN from the Danske Psalmebog (1569), a.k.a. VAEGOV MER, DROTTINN, and not to be confused with OM HIMMERIGES RIGE, which sometimes also goes by THOMISSØN. This tune ELHy paired with "O sing with exultation" and the old American Lutheran Hymnal with "Upon the cross down-lying."

Be strong, you fearful-hearted!
Nor with hot anger burn;
For just as He departed,
The Lord will soon return.
He will make recompense
For all you are enduring,
What ails your body curing,
Much more your mind and sense.

Blind eye He will unburden,
Deaf ear, dumb tongue unbind;
The halt of limb their guerdon
With leaps of joy will find.
For Jesus is the One
In Whom life is created,
All joy is reinstated,
All sorrow comes undone.

What if He calls a river
To spring from thirsty ground?
Will His word not deliver
And desert pools abound?
What if He summons reeds
From out the haunt of jackals?
His word with power crackles,
Surpassing all our needs.

Fear not, but watch, relying
On Him to come and save,
Made righteous by His dying,
And by His rising, brave.
Be watered by His word,
Dry mind and senses quenching
And withered hands uncleanching,
To love of neighbor stirred.

Saturday, November 12, 2022

432. Proper 17 (Series B)

The lessons for this service, a Sunday after Trinity during Aug. 28-Sept. 3, are Deuteronomy 4:1-2 skipping to 6-9, Ephesians 6:10-20 and Mark 7:14-23. The tune is O DER ALLES HÄTT VERLOREN from Johann A. Freylinghausen’s Neues geistreiches Gesangbuch (Halle, 1705), which ELHB and TLH paired with "Hark! a thrilling voice is sounding." Also, The Concordia Hymnal set "Praise the Savior, now and ever" to a triple-time version of the same tune (there called PRAISE THE SAVIOR), with a repeat sign added after the second phrase. That anomaly aside, it's another example of the high quality of tunes "Hark! a thrilling" attracts to itself (cf. MERTON, FREUEN WIR UNS ALL IN EIN, etc.).

Christ, upon us gird Your armor,
That in You we firmly stand,
Lest the foe, that wily charmer,
Snatch us from Your mighty hand.

Not of flesh and blood the vessels
That our lines besiege and shell,
But demonic pow'rs we wrestle,
Lords of wickedness and hell.

With Your truth the belt about us,
Righteousness our strong cuirass,
Satan's lies can never rout us
Though amid his hosts we pass.

Boot our feet with preparation
Through the gospel, laced with peace;
Quench the arrows of damnation
And faith's shield with strength increase.

With salvation's helm protect us,
And Your Word, the Spirit's sword.
In our utterance direct us,
That through us Your grace be poured.

Praying, preaching, persevering,
Be our speaking bold and pure;
Then, our final conflict nearing,
Of the vict'ry make us sure.

431. Proper 16 (Series B)

The lessons for this service, a Sunday after Trinity during Aug. 21-27, are Isaiah 29:11-19, Ephesians 5:22-33 and Mark 7:1-13. The tune is OLD 120TH from the English Psalter (London, 1570), which TLH, the Austrlian LH and CWALH paired with Frances Havergal's hymn "I gave My life for Thee," a hymn I've always disliked for two reasons – first, it puts words in Jesus' mouth and then has us sing them to ourselves; and also, it make Him sound like a whiny Jewish mum. The tune, however, seems innocent enough to try building new associations with it.

Dear Christ, by Whose Amen
Vain logic is destroyed,
Let no precept of men
The word of God make void;
For we by faith are freed
To follow where You lead.

As pious wives defer
To husbands as their head,
Let us, dear Lord, concur
With all that You have said.
For You our bodies save
From scandal, shame and grave.

As pious husbands seek
How best to serve their wives,
You, Lord, with love unique
Yourself gave for our lives.
Now join us to Your flesh;
With grace Your church refresh.

Come, Bridegroom! Lest you find
Your bride's resolve grown weak.
From darkness lead the blind;
Let deaf ears hear You speak;
Grant that the meek and poor
Rejoice forevermore.

EDIT: I missed a milestone here. This is the 100th hymn in the "Every Sunday of the LSB 3-Year Series" hymn project, not counting those feast days that might fall on a Sunday (i.e., Christmas and Epiphany).

Friday, November 11, 2022

430. Proper 15 (Series B)

The lessons for this service, a Sunday after Trinity during Aug. 14-20, are either Proverbs 9:1-10 or Joshua 24:1-2a skipping to 14-18, Ephesians 5:6-21 and John 6:51-69. The tune is NINTH OF TEN, a hymn tune that I just now adapted from my melodic setting of the explanation of the Ninth Commandment in Luther's Small Catechism (cf. Edifying Hymns).

Lord, to whom shall we go?
Your words bear eternal life,
And we have come to believe and know
You are God's Son, the promised Christ.
Come, then, Your bread on us bestow;
It will suffice.

Those who seek earthly gain
May recoil, Lord, from Your cross,
May turn back from momentary pain,
Of hard sayings demand a gloss;
If Your word o'er our reason reign,
We scorn the cost.

For our flesh profits none;
Life and Spirit are Your words.
For You are God's Word, eternal Son,
And Your body true food affords;
So with the joy Your blood has won
Fill us, dear Lord.

Thursday, November 10, 2022

429. Proper 14 (Series B)

The lessons for this service, a Sunday after Trinity during Aug. 7-13, are 1 Kings 19:1-8, Ephesians 4:17-5:2 and John 6:35-51. The tune is DONNE SECOURS from the Genevan Psalter (1551), which LBW and LW paired with "Hope of the world, thou Christ of great compassion." Both books specifically cite Treinte quatre pseaumes de David (34 Psalms of David), but when I try to locate information about that book, all I find is Pseaumes octante trois de David (83 Psalms of David) published in Geneva during that year. This edition admittedly included 34 psalms paraphrased by Théodore de Béze; meanwhile, the full Genevan Psalter with all 150 Psalms didn't exist until 1562. For what it's worth.

Christ is the living Bread come down from heaven,
That of it we may eat and never die.
His holy flesh as bread is truly given:
Amen! So says the Word who does not lie.

Not like the manna that the fathers gathered,
Life this Bread gives us who in Him believe.
The death He died, the righteous blood He spattered,
He gave that life the whole world may receive.

No one can come to feast at Jesus' table
Unless the Father draw him to the board;
He who is taught by God alone is able
To grasp the mystery of Christ the Lord.

Lord, having drawn us, let us gladly hear You.
Lord, having taught us, let us not say nay,
But trust Your testament, reclining near You,
And take Your body and Your blood today.

This wondrous sacrament us having nourished,
Christ, live in us and guide us on Your way
Till, all Your graces in us having flourished,
You raise our bodies on the youngest day.