Saturday, September 10, 2022

334. Hymn for Epiphany 7 (Series A)

The texts for this Sunday in the LSB 3-year lectionary are Leviticus 19:1-2 and 9-18 (pay no attention to the omitted verses!), 1 Corinthians 3:10-23 and Matthew 5:38-48, yet another chunk of the Sermon on the Mount for which I've already written this hymn. All these readings are all exhortation all the time, so I might as well *not* skip the so-called Gospel this time, since I need to wring something singable out of it all.

Christians, in your faithful labor,
Lest you see its fruits destroyed,
With your brother, sister, neighbor
Live at peace; and though annoyed,
Lay aside the righteous saber,
Nor the bonds of love make void.

Lo, you are a shrine, created
For the Spirit to indwell,
Which, the Lord has plainly stated,
Shall withstand the gates of hell.
Can one living stone be hated
By the next within that shell?

Be not hoodwinked into seeing
With this generation's eyes;
God, who knows the inmost being,
Takes the measure of the wise.
Sooner simple be, agreeing
With the Lord who justifies!

So, when men your rights are wronging,
Patiently set them aside.
When deprived of one belonging,
Grudge not two, despite your pride;
Nor before the bench be thronging,
Where the heathen feud and chide.

Rather, love your lowly neighbor;
Serve him who cannot repay;
Render justice without favor,
Wages without base delay.
All the while God's promise savor
To restore it on that Day.

The tune I picked is a number from J.F. Wade's Cantus diversi (1751) called ST. THOMAS (above; not to be confused with the better known 1762 tune by Aaron Williams, as in "I love Thy kingdom, Lord"). It's also sometimes called HOLYWOOD, so I've added that to the title in parentheses for disambiguation purposes. It's also sometimes called WEBBE. Between the three titles, I've spotted it set exactly once each to five different texts in three hymnals (CSB, SBH and the Australian Lutheran Hymnal), so it's pretty obscure; and yet it's also one of those tunes that have a familiary about them that drives me crazy. I ransacked all my indices for a similar tune by another name, but couldn't find it – though, obviously, I'd done that already, since I knew all about its three aliases. I guess a tune that doesn't carry too much baggage, but still sounds like something you've known all your life, is just the kind of thing you want when singing a new song. Right?

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