Wednesday, September 7, 2022

328. Hymn for Christmas 2 (Series A)

It's also known as the Second Sunday after Christmas, or the Sunday after New Year. It only exists when Christmas Day lands on a Wednesday, Thursday, Friday or Saturday; otherwise the Sunday after Christmas 1 is either Epiphany Day or Epiphany 1.

Instead of writing a hymn for this on-again, off-again Sunday, I was tempted to put a note under the previous hymn, recommending this hymn (Useful Hymns 31). However, in that set, based on the historic lectionary, it's the hymn for Epiphany 1. So, partly to avoid confusion about what Sunday of the Church Year it is, and partly to suffer every bit of my challenge to write one hymn per Sunday of the three-year series, I give you this hymn. To avoid repeating myself, I'm ignored the Gospel lesson from Luke 2:40-52 (cf. UH 31) as well as the Old Testament lesson from 1 Kings 3:4-15, which is only interesting in conjunction with the Luke 2 reading, and focused entirely on the Epistle, Ephesians 1:3-14.

Blest be the God and Father
Of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Who showers every blessing
On those in Him baptized.
Before earth's foot was laid,
In Christ we were elected,
That we should be perfected,
In spotless love arrayed.

In Christ we are adopted,
According to God's will,
As sons and heirs of glory;
Our praise swells higher still.
In Christ, and through His blood,
We stand redeemed, acquitted,
By grace with wisdom fitted
And filled with every good.

In Christ we know the secret,
The purpose God devised,
That He might bring together
In one all things in Christ:
For such was His goodwill
That those who first believed Him,
As well as we, received Him,
Now in the hour fulfilled.

In Christ, when we had listened
To them who bore good news—
The message of salvation—
We trusted in the truth.
In Christ we have been sealed:
Upon His undertaking
Our hope of glory staking,
A hymn of praise we yield.

EDIT: Tune-wise, I've been thinking of ways to use more of that remarkable wealth of tunes I was torn between back here. Again it was a close decision, but I decided to go with the *other* VON GOTT WILL ICH NICHT LASSEN, from Christliche Tischgesänge, Erfurt, 1563. (See "From God will naught divide me" in The Lutheran Hymnal, a.k.a. "From God can nothing move me" in the Lutheran Service Book, etc.)

P.S. I am indebted to Paul Deterding, author of a commentary on Ephesians, for the notion that "In Christ" is a reference to baptism.

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