Saturday, October 29, 2022

415. Easter 7 (Series B)

This is the next approaching milestone in my current hymn project that I hinted at back here. With Series B's Pentecost, Trinity and Propers 3-29 coming right up, this hymn scratches the halfway-done notch in this series of hymns for every Sunday of the LSB three-year series. A short break might be in order, for mental health reasons. I mean, I can't recall the last time I blogged 56 times in one month, let alone wrote 56 hymns. Anyway, the lessons for this service are Acts 1:12-26, 1 John 5:9-15 and John 17:11b-19. The melody is one of several known hymn tunes called LUSATIA, this one by Melchior Vulpius (†1616). It was paired with "Father, Son and Holy Spirit (I'm baptized)" in the Lutheran Hymnary as well as J.F. Ohl's 1903 School and Parish Hymnal. If it has another, more historic title (or a rhythmic version), I'd like to know about it.

Brethren, for advantage striving,
Even in Christ's holy church,
Cease from worldly wrangling, driving,
Lest His Body you besmirch.
Rather, for each other living,
For your neighbor's interest search.

What does Jesus know of voting,
Party spirit or campaign?
Satan must indeed be gloating
O'er our schisms, oft insane,
Trivialities promoting
Over Christ's tremendous reign!

Let the holy writ suffice you
And pure doctrine's trusty form;
Nor let idle points entice you,
Stacking norm on norm on norm,
Lest the enemy divide you
From true fellowship and warm.

Be no more the foe's abettors,
Nor in worldly mazes caught.
Take example from your betters,
Who Matthias chose by lot:
Shedding human judgment's fetters,
Leave it to the hand of God!

Sanctify us, heav'nly Father,
In the truth, that is, Your word.
Jesus, Your disciples gather,
Open questions though deferred.
Spirit, light the fires that matter,
Till our breaches are repaired.

414. Easter 6 (Series B)

The lessons for this service are Acts 10:34-48, 1 John 5:1-8 and John 15:9-17. The tune is NEW ULM by Friedrich O. "Fritz" Reuter (1910) and, as far as I know, has only ever been used as a tune for "Lord dismiss us with Thy blessing" in TLH and CWALH – and (in TLH) a rarely-if-ever-used alternate tune at that, eclipsed by Henry Smart's REGENT SQUARE. Nevertheless, it's a lovely tune, well harmonized, and I think it deserves better.

Jesus, Source of faith victorious,
Which the world has overcome;
End of faith as well, all-glorious
Sun that lights our heav'nly home:
Oh, perfect us! Resurrect us!
Draw us whither You are gone!

Greater love than this has no one
Than to give His life for men.
Give us now the means to go on
Being what You name us: friends!
Loving, sharing, good fruit bearing,
May we serve Your kingdom's ends!

Let the Breath You blew while dying
Bear You witness in our hearts!
Let the tears Your breast was crying—
Blood and water in like parts—
Be our payment, be our raiment
When the heav'nly banquet starts!

Where shall we, then, find this Spirit?
Always, Savior, in Your Word!
Where do we apply Your merit?
In Your sacraments, dear Lord!
As we listen, graces glisten;
Life and pardon You afford.

Since You, Christ, Your life have given
Once for all, dispense again
All Your gifts that bring us heaven,
Daily giving life to men!
Bring us running to the stunning
Goodness of our God and Friend!

413. Easter 5 (Series B)

If you wonder what all the rush is about, I've been pushing for the next milestone in the present project, and with this hymn, I reach it. Believe it or not, this is the 100th original hymn written for Bountiful Hymns. Call it superstition, but I haven't considered any of my hymnbooks to be a book until it grew past 100 hymns (cf. the first edition of Useful Hymns, which had exactly that number). Another milestone is coming up shortly; can you guess? Anyway, the lessons for this service are Acts 8:26-40, 1 John 4:1-11 (optional 12-21) and John 15:1-8. I've previously written a hymn on part of the Epistle lesson, as well as multiple hymns running with the Gospel's vine-and-branches material. The tune is HANOVER (a.k.a. CONQUEST, a.k.a. DELAY NOT) by William Croft (1708), sometimes also attributed to Georg Friedrich Handel (†1759). The old Ev. Luth. Hymn-Book paired it with "Delay not, delay not, O sinner, draw near." All right, and pretty much all the books pair it with "O worship the King." It's a tune with more baggage than the ones I usually go for, but a glint of familiarity now and then doesn't hurt.

O Spirit, who all the Scriptures inspired,
Blow through them that faith to life may be fired
And, burning the tinder of falsehood away,
Be proven like steel, or as flame hardens clay.

But who shall explain, who shall make it clear?
Unless one is sent, Lord, how shall men hear?
A little while, Savior, Your presence You hide;
That we may perceive it, oh! send us a guide!

Then, having been taught, why need we delay?
Extend us the means You founded, we pray!
Baptize us, absolve us, feed us from Your board,
And let faith be joined to Your promises, Lord!

412. Easter 4 (Series B)

The lessons for this "Good Shepherd Sunday" service are Acts 4:1-12, 1 John 3:16-24 and John 10:11-18. The tune is O GROSSER GOTT, from a Stuttgart songbook of 1744, which was set to "O God of God, O Light of Light" (or "O God from God, O Light from Light") in TLH, LBW, LW, CWALH, LSB and CWH; to "Praise be to Christ, in whom we see" in LSB and CWH; and to "Our fathers' God in years long gone" in LW and CWALH.

Good Shepherd, lo, You know Your own,
By whom Your living voice is known.
You gave Your life to save Your sheep
From wolves and thieves, one flock to keep:
Now seek us, scattered in the night,
Confused, exhausted from our flight;
Lead us on wholesome ground to feed;
With living water slake our need.

There yet are sheep without Your fold,
Names in Your book of life enrolled.
Lord, raise the staff their eyes have craved,
The Name whereby souls must be saved.
For there's none other under heav'n
Whereby salvation has been giv'n;
Make haste, therefore! Send lovely feet
To carry wondrous news and sweet!

Good Shepherd, what more do I need
Than what You give on which to feed?
What vintage can relieve my pains
But what You open from Your veins?
In righteous paths, through shadowed vale,
Lead me and drive me without fail;
Anoint me, fill my cup with grace,
That I may dwell before Your face!

411. Easter 3 (Series B)

The lessons for this service are Acts 3:11-21, 1 John 3:1-7 and Luke 24:36-49. The tune is one of my favorite one-hymnal wonders: NU ER FRELSENS DAG OPRUNDET by Ludvig M. Lindeman (†1887), which the old Lutheran Hymnary paired with C.J.P. Spitta's Christmas hymn, "Thou, whose coming seers and sages." I've been waiting a long time for a chance to use this tune! P.S. (further to my gripe in 410): I seem to have found an alternate route to a JPG of the tune. I hope it holds!

See, what love the Father shows us,
Calling us His little ones!
Kindly, perfectly He knows us,
Choosing us as daughters, sons.
We ourselves have yet to see
What He fashions us to be,
But with Christ our type supplying,
Hope sustains us, purifying.

Loved ones, keep the good news spreading;
Boldly speak it where you may!
Trust its power, no trouble dreading,
Nor expect reward or pay.
For the Lord Himself ordains
Where and how and at what pains
Those He sends to men will teach them,
And in His good time will reach them.

Meanwhile, brethren, live repenting,
Knowing Christ your sin blots out!
He all things is reinventing,
Soon returning with a shout:
Bringing to all mortal flesh
Gifts that quicken and refresh,
Kept for those His precepts hearing,
Holding hope for His appearing.

410. Easter 2 (Series B)

The lessons for this service are Acts 4:32-35, 1 John 1:1-2:2 and John 20:19-31. Sneakily, Easter 2 has the same Gospel lesson all three years of LSB's A-B-C lectionary; I wrote a hymn on it here. The tune is HARLECH, a traditional Welsh tune that the Common Service Book paired with two different hymns beginning with the line "Hail, Holy, Holy, Holy Lord" – one by Edward Perronet, the other by Charles Wesley – with the American Lutheran Hymnal seconding the Perronet pairing. I decided to scotch slur in the second phrase, changing the tune's meter from CM (8686) to 8886. Sorry, no more tune images for the time being; I seem to have exceeded my share of free PDF to JPG conversions and frankly, as a paying subscriber to Adobe Creative Cloud, I'm kind of mad about that.

The Word of life, who all things made,
As Man with men made manifest,
Bestows a joy that will not fade:
Thus witnesses attest.

From Him they have the truth passed down
That God is Light, and we receive
Through fellowship in Him a crown,
Who in His blood believe.

Sin dwells in us, if we speak truth;
Yet through Christ's blood, when we confess,
Our God is faithful to impute
To us His righteousness.

Doubt not, therefore, but let belief
Probe in the risen Jesus' wounds;
Receive the joy, embracing grief,
That in His word abounds!

For Jesus suffered, once for all,
And rose, and speaks for us in heav'n;
Take heart, therefore, and on Him call
By whom we are forgiv'n!

EDIT: Here's the tune, by the way:

Friday, October 28, 2022

409. Easter Day (Series B)

The lessons for this service are Isaiah 25:6-9, 1 Corinthians 15:1-11 and Mark 16:1-8. The tune is FRED TIL BOD, the Ludvig M. Lindeman (†1887) version this time: originally a tune to "Peace to soothe our bitter woes" (cf. the Hartmann tune by the same name, used here) but also, in various hymnals, paired with "Christ, whose glory fills the skies," "Father, who the light this day," "For the beauty of the earth," "Jesus, Sun of righteousness," "What our Father does is well," and most frequently of all, "Hallelujah! Jesus lives." By the way, it is a.k.a. EASTER GLORY, JESUS SUN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS and LUDOVICA.

Rise, beloved! Greet the day,
Holiest to Christendom!
Death is swallowed up for aye;
Jesus' triumph has begun.
He has swept the veil away;
Our salvation He has won.

"Faithful women, have no fear;
Jesus, who was crucified,
Lives again, no longer here."
As the Scriptures testified,
On the third day bright and clear
Is the grave its prey denied.

"Faithful men, your Master seek
Where He offers to be found"—
Not in artifacts antique
Nor in novel notions' sound,
But the word His envoys speak,
Means that with His grace abound.

Brothers, sisters, young and old,
Taste His feast, for it is good!
Christ has fought, our champion bold,
Yea, has triumphed by His blood,
Buying us with more than gold
Richest wine and choicest food!

Thursday, October 27, 2022

408. Passion Sunday (Series B)

The lessons for this service are Zechariah 9:9-12, Philippians 2:5-11 and either John 12:12-19 and Mark 14:1-15:47 or Mark 15:1-47 or John 12:20-43 (!!!). Since I've already written a full set of "Passion According to" hymns on an epic scale, this hymn doesn't go there. Also, since my hymn for this point in Series A went the "Palm Sunday procession" route, this hymn also doesn't go there. I also wrote a hymn about John 12:23-33, so this hymn doesn't go there. What does that leave us? Read on to find out. The tune is DU GROSSER SCHMERZENSMANN by Martin Jan (1652), another tune that I'm stealing from a German Lutheran hymnal and for which I'll have to write an original harmonization one of these days.

Many were Jesus' signs
Done in full view of men's eyes;
Yet Him they sought to kill.
Isaiah thus prophesies:
"Who has our word believed?
Who saw God's arm revealed?
He has their eyes made blind
Lest they see and be healed."

Yea, God made hard their hearts
Lest they believe and repent,
As in the days of plague,
That Pharaoh should not relent.
Thus, even shown God's pow'r,
They chased their stubborn scheme,
While He their malice used
His children to redeem.

Open our eyes and hearts,
Lord, and unbend our stiff necks,
Lest we reject Your grace,
Nor let us Your Spirit vex.
Grant us to see the mark
You daubed on us in blood,
Drink in Your humble mind
And share Your living food!

407. Lent 5 (Series B)

The lessons for this service are Jeremiah 31:31-34, Hebrews 5:1-10 and Mark 10:35-45 (optional 32-34). The tune is HIER LIEG ICH, from Geistliche Lieder und Kirchengesänge (Hof, 1608), as used by the Australian Lutherans with the hymn "Before Thee, God, who knowest all."

Christ, who is Highest, Loveliest, Best,
Knelt down and humbly served the rest.
The cup He drank was sin and wrath;
Pain, blood and death His cleansing bath.
If you desire a lofty throne,
Let this truth cut you to the bone!

He came to serve, not to be served,
To pay the debt for sin reserved;
His life for all mankind the price,
His death a worthy sacrifice.
If you feel vexed and put-upon,
Behold the burden of God's Son!

Seek not the softest place and first,
When Your God hung in shame and thirst!
Were you the slave of one and all,
Nearer to Christ your lot would fall.
Oh, that we had both heart and nerve
To follow Him and truly serve!

Let this console our griefs and fears:
Christ offered prayers and cries and tears
As our High Priest, once and for all,
Thus saving those who on Him call.
He writes His will upon our hearts
And trains our hands to servant arts.

406. Lent 4 (Series B)

The lessons for this service are Numbers 21:4-9, Ephesians 2:1-10 and John 3:14-21. It's a challengeing selection, since the Gospel overlaps with that of Series A/Lent 2 (John 3:1-17) and Pentecost Evening/Monday (John 3:16-21). The tune is O GUD, DITT RIKE INGEN SER, a.k.a. WALDIS, by Burkhard Waldis (1553), which the American Lutheran Hymnal paired with "Thy sacred Word, O Lord, of old."

By grace through faith we have been saved,
Not our own undertaking;
By God's gift, not how we behaved,
An object of His making.
For when all flesh in sin was dead,
For wrath and doom appointed,
A sign was lifted overhead:
God's crucified Anointed.

Recall how, fed on desert bread,
The sons of Israel grumbled;
How fiery serpents struck some dead
And those who lingered, humbled.
At God's command, a pole was raised,
A serpent's form revealing,
And those who on that symbol gazed
Were granted life and healing.

Just so, the cross of Jesus Christ
T'ward eyes of faith is lifted,
Where, due to what God sacrificed,
Salvation now is gifted.
With Jesus, God has made alive
Those who in death were living,
That we in heaven may arrive,
A rich reward deriving.

What love! What love the Father's breast
Must for all sinners cherish,
To give His Son lest those oppressed
By Satan's wiles should perish;
That those who, pierced by serpent's tooth,
Were unto death infected,
Might now, believing in the truth,
Be unto life perfected!

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

405. Lent 3 (Series B)

The lessons for this service are Exodus 20:1-17, 1 Corinthians 1:18-31 and John 2:13-22 (optional 23-25). The tune is ST. OSWALD by John Bacchus Dykes (1857), which the Common Service Book ran with "Here, in Thy name, eternal God" and "O Christ, our true and only Light."

Lord Jesus, who with fiery zeal
The temple cleansed with braided cords,
Your present children bring to heel
From Mammon, Self and other lords.

You would not have Your Father's house
Become a den of merchandise;
What passion must this day arouse,
When men sell blessings for a price!

Woe to the teachers who grow rich
Proclaiming what men want to hear!
Woe to the liars who bewitch
The simple from Your simple fear!

Yet when we look into our hearts,
Do we not see another lord?
With subtlety he plies his arts,
Implants the love of base reward—

Of pleasure, power, wealth and fame,
Of wickedness in holy guise.
Cleanse us, Lord Jesus, lest our shame
Delight the unbelievers' eyes.

From out Your Spirit's temple, Lord,
Which is our body, drive them out;
Let famine, sickness, shipwreck, sword,
If need be, set our gods to rout.

As living stones, then, let us share
In one pure temple, filled with You.
Make us as one a house of prayer,
By Your bold zeal kept free and true.

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

404. Lent 2 (Series B)

Though it's really the 405th hymn I've written, this will be Hymn 450 in Bountiful Hymns, God willing. Is that significant? When one hymn starts to blur into another, you glom onto anything you can. The lessons for this service are Genesis 17:1-7 skipping to 15-16, Romans 5:1-11 and Mark 8:27-38. The tune is ST. PETER'S, MANCHESTER by Roger R. Ross (†1899), set in CSB, SBH and ELHy to "Join all the glorious names" (the Isaac Watts hymn of which "Jesus, my great High Priest" is a cento).

This Jesus, who is He?
Men answer differently;
But Peter spoke aright,
Led by the Spirit's light:
"You are the Christ," we too reply,
And God's dear Son we glorify.

Where is this Jesus bound?
Onto the killing ground,
To bear the shame of men
And, dying, rise again:
The Innocent, for all our crime,
Bound over at the chosen time.

Here Peter turned to chide;
He who confessed, denied
And sharply was reproved,
The stumbling block removed.
From us, Lord, cast the foe behind,
That we Your will may bear in mind.

Speak, Lord! What shall we do
That we may follow You?
"Take up your cross; deny
Yourself, for My sake die.
He who the present life would choose,
The life to come will surely lose."

Let us confess Your name,
Though here it bring us shame,
Lest at the throne on high
Our own names You deny!
You are the Christ, the faithful plead:
Establish us in cross and creed!

403. Lent 1 (Series B)

The lessons for this service are Genesis 22:1-18, James 1:12-18 and Mark 1:9-15. The tune is SUBSTITUTION, whipped up in a hurry by yours truly just now, because I didn't care to reuse the tunes in this meter that I've previously called upon; they just seemed too perky for the purpose. Please let me know if you spot any egregious voice-leading errors; this whole performance was improvised on (computer) keyboard and I haven't even played it on the piano yet!

God, who once Abraham desired
To offer up his son,
Relented; of Himself required
His own Begotten One.
(Refrain:) "Upon the mountain of the Lord,
God will Himself the Lamb afford."

When Jesus in the Jordan bathed,
Embarking on His way,
He rose up in repentance swathed,
Our penalty to pay. (Refrain)

The heavens opened: as a dove
The Spirit hove in view.
The Father's voice spoke from above:
"Son, I AM pleased with You." (Refrain)

For forty days He kept the fast,
By desert creatures trailed.
He faced the tempter's test and passed;
Where Adam fell, prevailed. (Refrain)

Of time fulfilled, of kingdom come
He preached in Galilee,
For Israël and heathendom
The Lamb prepared to be. (Refrain)

Repent then, you who know your worth,
Who know your sin and grieve!
Christ Jesus has redeemed the earth;
The glad, good news believe! (Refrain)

Monday, October 24, 2022

402. Transfiguration (Series B)

The lessons for this service are 2 Kings 2:1-12 or Exodus 34:29-35, 2 Corinthians 3:12-13 skipping to 4:1-6 (optional 3:14-18) and Mark 9:2-9. The tune is LAUDATE DOMINUM by C. Hubert H. Parry (†1918), which I didn't realize was in public domain the last time I wrote a hymn with it in mind and, as a result, ended up altering my text to fit a different tune. Oh, well! The Aussies sing "O praise ye the Lord! Praise Him in the height" to this tune, as does CWH with altered lyrics; LSB pairs it with "Be strong in the Lord" and ELW with "Rejoice in God's saints."

O glory of God! O gospel of grace!
What light blazes forth from Christ Jesus' face:
The image of Him who from darkness called light
Has shone in our hearts, turning blindness to sight.

The veil Moses once for Aaron's sake wore,
Is taken away; men need it no more.
For God's Son, who only on God has laid eyes,
As Man now is come and to Him makes us wise.

The god of this age still darkens men's minds;
What Jesus reveals, to that Satan blinds.
O Spirit, this veil from the gospel retract,
That truth may appear and on consciences act!

Now brothers and sisters, do not lose heart!
From crafty designs and lies set apart,
We have through the gospel God's mercy received,
And what we have spoken we also believed.

O Voice that from heav'n commands us to hear;
O Figure that lone and meek might appear;
O Breath that as whirlwind may anywhere blow,
Our worship accept, our salvation bestow!

401. Epiphany 8 (Series B)

The lessons for this service are Hosea 2:14-20, 2 Corinthians 2:12-3:6 and Mark 2:18-22 (optional 13-17). For the tune, I'm going against my general habit of choosing ones that are on the obscure side and plumping for STRAF MICHT NIGHT (a.k.a. CONFIRMATION, a.k.a. NASSAU, a.k.a. WÜRTTEMBERG), from a Dresden songbook of 1694, and sometimes attributed to Johann Rosenmüller (1655). Lots of hymnals pair it with "Rise, my soul, to watch and pray," but multiple books also associate it with "Father, Son and Holy Ghost (bless the young)" and "Not in anger, mighty God," which I take to be its original text. Then there are single-hymnal appearances with "Christ the Lord is risen again" and "Up, my soul, gird thee with power." So, yeah, it's probably overpowered for my little hymn-book, but I couldn't get it off my mind, so here it is.

Quickly, Bridegroom! Come with speed,
Lest we faint with fasting!
On Your word we long to feed,
Manna everlasting.
You still more
Have in store,
All our needs completing
Who Your flesh are eating.

Come indeed with ample wine,
Weary souls delighting!
With Your word let it combine,
Mouths and hearts inviting
That Your blood
For our good
We may drink with pleasure
And Your mercy treasure!

Come, Physician, with the cure
For our lost condition!
By Your sacrifice made pure,
We have full remission.
Freed from sins,
As new skins
Fill us with Your Spirit
Till life we inherit.

400. Epiphany 7 (Series B)

The lessons for this service are Isaiah 43:18-25, 2 Corinthians 1:18-22 and Mark 2:1-12. The tune is FRED TIL BOD, a.k.a. PEACE TO SOOTHE, a.k.a. PEACE OF GOD, a.k.a. HARTMANN by Johan Peter Emilius Hartmann (1852), and is not to be confused with the tune by the same name by Ludvig M. Lindeman (popularly sung to "Hallelujah! Jesus lives" and "For the beauty of the earth"). Hartmann's tune has been (like Lindeman's) frequently paired with the hymn "Peace to soothe our bitter woes," which I highly recommend if you don't know it. In various hymnals it has also been set to "Father, who the light this day," "God of mercy, God of grace" and "What our Father does is well" – though, other than SBH (1958) and ELHy (1996) it seems to have faded from anglophone Lutherans' memory since the mid-20th century.

You, Lord, even You are He
Who blots out iniquity,
Who for Your own sake forgets
Every sin the heart regrets.
For this new thing that You do,
Lord I name You, even You.

You are He who faith commends
In the paralytic's friends;
Even He who calls him "son"
And his sins appraise as none.
Can this act blaspheme the Lord
Who gives power to Your word?

You are He by whom men see
What God works invisibly.
For which word is idle talk:
"I forgive" or "Rise and walk"?
That men may believe the one,
Lo, the other thing is done.

You are He whose daring word
Palsied limb at once restored.
Loose as well the locked-in mind,
Powerless Your grace to find!
Let men by this wonder see
Your forgiveness, bold and free.

You are He, Lord, even You,
Who unto the end was true,
Sealing sinners with Your blood
To establish us in God.
In our hearts as guarantee,
Says the Spirit: You are He.

Sunday, October 23, 2022

399. Epiphany 6 (Series B)

You bet I'm going to mention, once again, the fact that this blog conceals a Hymn 0, making this actually my 400th original hymn. The lessons for this service are 2 Kings 5:1-14, 1 Corinthians 10:31-11:1 (optional 10:19-30) and Mark 1:40-45. The tune is NATIVITY by Henry Lahee (1855), which the Australian Lutheran Hymnal used with both "Come let us join our cheerful songs" and, believe it or not, "Joy to the world! the Lord is come." In Bountiful Hymns I'll place a dedication at the bottom of this hymn to Rev. Christopher Davis, who's been saying things like "Mercy is Jesus' thing" quite a lot lately.

Lord, who for mercy ever asked
And You did not provide?
Indeed, You loved man to the last;
To serve mankind You died.

Mercy has always been Your will,
The business You pursue,
Unthanked, rejected, bruised—it still
Pervades all that You do.

Therefore the leper's "If you will"
Fell on receptive ears.
Let Your kind love to him distill
Pure trust from our weak tears.

Help us a heartfelt "If you will"
To add unto our prayers,
Relying on Your love and skill,
Relinquishing our cares.

And though You answer "no" or "wait,"
Your mercy, still the same,
Will guide us through this threat'ning strait,
Unscorched by trying flame.

For while this age's death-throes last,
It kicks against Your will.
But soon the struggle will be past;
Come, Lord! Our hope fulfill!

For then, no more need churchly means
Your gifts to us supply,
When Adam's leprosy You cleanse,
Eve's offspring glorify.

EDIT: Here's the tune, in case you're curious.

Saturday, October 22, 2022

398. Epiphany 5 (Series B)

The lessons for this service are Isaiah 40:21-31, 1 Corinthians 9:16-27 and Mark 1:29-39. The tune is VALETE by Arthur S. Sullivan (†1900), which the Ev. Luth. Hymn-Book paired with "Arm these Thy soldiers, mighty Lord." If I can actually choose a tune by Arthur Sullivan for one of my hymns, you can't say I never bend or change in my opinions.

At sunset, crowding at the door,
They brought the sick and demon-pressed
The Healer's blessing to implore,
And Jesus served them without rest.
At sunrise, His disciples found
Him praying in a desert place
Where Mary's Son, in Godhead bound,
Retired to seek the Father's grace.

"Let us move on, that I may preach,"
He said, "the reason I was sent."
Yea, Lord, the faithful still beseech:
Teach us Your will; bid us repent!
What of Your kingdom You reveal,
What costly medicine You pass,
Let it suffice our hurts to heal:
Your bath, Your pardon and Your mass.

Let these content us, though a thorn
Afflict our flesh this little while;
From busy eve to lonely morn,
Sustain us through our every trial.
For we are washed in You, made pure,
Set free by Your absolving word;
We eat and drink the precious Cure
That Your self-offering conferred.

Now, while we eat and drink and bask
In Your good tidings, led by light,
That lesser boon we also ask:
Reach out and mend our earthly plight!
Soothe us in body and in mind;
Sustain us in our daily care
Till, healed at last, we wake to find
The golden morn You now prepare.

397. Epiphany 4 (Series B)

The lessons for this service are Deuteronomy 18:15-20, 1 Corinthians 8:1-13 and Mark 1:21-28. The tune is SAFFRON WALDEN by Arthur H. Brown (1877), which the Australian Lutheran Hymnal paired with "Just as I am, without one plea." Its meter was tricky for me at first, but by the time I got to the end of this hymn, I was really enjoying writing to it.

"What is this?" cried Capernaüm,
"This word that strikes foul spirits dumb!
Who o'er the demons holds such sway
That His will they obey?"

It is our Lord, Christ Jesus dear,
With whom no devil need we fear.
Though lying spirits may abound,
He over all is crowned.

Had men their shriek but understood,
They'd know the Holy One of God,
Who binds the evil and unclean,
Rules everything unseen.

Can they who life in Scripture sought
Have Him at hand, yet know Him not?
May we His saving presence see
Where He has sworn to be!

Depart, you agencies of sin!
Keep silence, as the Lord comes in,
His claim the crucifixion brand
Imprinted on His hand!

Give Him immortal praise above,
Serving the weak below in love,
In every dark, uncanny hour
Trusting in Jesus' power!

Friday, October 21, 2022

396. Epiphany 3 (Series B)

The lessons for this service are Jonah 3:1-5 and 10, 1 Corinthians 7:29-31 (optional 32-35) and Mark 1:14-20. The tune is OXENFORD by yours truly (1998), which I wrote for a translation of a Paul Gerhardt hymn ("I know that my Redeemer lives") whose tune in Lutheran Hymnary (ADORATION by G.W. Torrance) I didn't think was very good at that time. If I need another tune in this meter, I expect to develop a new appreciation for Torrance's tune. But for now, I'm reusing my own.

Lord, who bade Galilee repent,
The good news to believe,
Grant even now that men be sent;
Call them their nets to leave,
To learn and teach Your word of truth
Both to the aged and to youth,
Discipling every nation!

When Zebedee's and Jona's sons
You called to fish for men,
A bath more powerful than John's
You put in play through them.
Rough men began Your realm to seize,
Led by the word that sinners frees;
Lo, Satan fell like lightning.

Though Jonah, caught by fish of old,
Your calling grudged and fled,
At last Your word of doom he told,
And Nineveh, in dread,
Said, "Every soul and beast, repent!
Who knows if God will not relent?"
And so his preaching saved them.

Your kingdom's word, Lord, has such pow'r
That when it cries, "Repent!"
More than Your Law's indictment sour,
Yea, sweetest grace is meant.
Make haste, therefore, to call from net,
Desk, plow, store, workshop, mine, while yet
Your fields for harvest whiten!

395. Epiphany 2 (Series B)

The lessons for this service are 1 Samuel 3:1-10 (optional 11-20), 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 and John 1:43-51. The tune is the beautiful OM HIMMERIGES RIGE, a.k.a. MIN SJAEL OG AAND, a.k.a. THOMISSØN, a.k.a. ISLAND, a.k.a. HOW BLEST ARE THEY, from Hans Thomissøn's Danske Psalmebog (Copenhagen, 1569), which LHy, ALH, TCH, TLH, SBH, LBW, LW, CW and ELHy all set to "How blest are they who hear God's Word." Usually I don't go for a tune that is so widely associated with one hymn, but I noticed that neither LSB, ELW nor CWH has Johan Brun's valuable hymn, suggesting that our knowledge of it is passing away. If this hymn in a small way helps revive it, I'd be thrilled.

My Lord, who knows me from afar,
Let no falsehood in me debar
Me from Your gracious greeting!
From snobbish sentiments and snide
Turn me, O Son of God, aside,
Your humble spirit learning,
From my vainglory turning!

I recognize You, from Your word,
As Israel's Teacher, King and Lord,
One with the Heavenly Father.
The Good that came from Nazareth,
You bore my badness unto death.
May I Your wisdom freeing
Take in with all my being!

Soon let me see that wondrous Day
When up and down the angels play
On You from earth to heaven!
No other ladder links the two,
Dear Son of Man and God, but You:
Hence in Your mercy hold me;
To Paradise enfold me.

Thursday, October 20, 2022

394. Epiphany 1 (Series B)

The lessons for this service, a.k.a. the Baptism of Our Lord, are Genesis 1:1-5, Romans 6:1-11 and Mark 1:4-11. The tune is THEOPHILUS by Jeremiah F. Ohl (1885), which the Common Service Book paired with "One there is above all others."

John baptized indeed with water,
Preaching at the Jordan's bank.
Yet, he said, One would come after,
Greater both in might and rank,
Who in Spirit would baptize,
Pleasing in the Father's eyes.

That same Dove, once overflying
Water when the world began,
Flew to Jesus, signifying
His role in salvation's plan:
From Christ's baptism down to ours,
Pardon, faith and life He pours.

From sin's grip we have been winkled,
As a pearl from oyster shell,
When with Christ the Spirit sprinkled
Us, and prised us free from hell.
In His lifeblood we were purged;
Through His death to life emerged.

Death has no more claim upon Him,
Nor on us who live in Him.
Therefore, in repentance don Him;
In His Spirit daily swim:
From the cords of sin released,
Fitted for Christ's marriage feast.

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

393. Christmas 2 (Series B)

Lectionary awkwardness reaches a new level – making me wish I could lump Christmas 2 with the major feasts. You see, I didn't notice until just now that all three lessons – 1 Kings 3:4-15, Ephesians 1:3-14 and Luke 2:40-52 – are the same for this Sunday in all three years (A, B and C). I can only speculate about the reasons for this, but I reckon they include the fact that there's only a Second Sunday After Christmas if Christmas 1 lands on or between Dec. 26-29; in other words, if Christmas Day falls on or between Wednesday and Saturday. Otherwise, Epiphany intervenes. Another possible reason is that outside of Matthew's visit-of-the-Magi (Epiphany) and flight-into-Egypt/slaughter-of-the-innocents narratives (Series A/Christmas 1), these two Sundays' passages from Luke are all Scripture tells us about Jesus' childhood. Since my Series A hymn for this Sunday focused on the Epistle, and again, because I already did a boy-Jesus-among-the-doctors hymn and I'm not in a hurry to repeat myself (that can wait till Series C), I focus on the O.T. lesson this time.

The tune is ISTE CONFESSOR – not the Angers version, which I used here, but the better-known Rouen version, which the Aussies paired with "Christ, Thou strong guardian," LBW, LW, ELW and LSB with "Lord of our life and God of our salvation," LBW, LW and LSB again with "Only-begotten, Word of God eternal," and LSB with "Christ, high ascended."

"Ask!" said the Lord. "What shall I give you, young king?"
Solomon answered, craving only one thing:
A hearing heart, that of the causes men bring
He might judge wisely.

This pleased the Lord, who granted this and yet more:
Riches and honor He would on his head pour,
Long life, if in God's statutes he would set store,
In His ways walking.

In our own prayers, for what shall we be asking?
Pow'r, vengeance, wealth? Lo, these devices tasking,
We may yet fail of good and ill unmasking;
Lord, give us wisdom!

Give us, like David's son, a heart for hearing,
An eye that pierces subtle, false appearing;
And more than him, Your judgment ever fearing,
Your ways to follow!

Give us, like Christ, our ever-perfect Savior,
Wisdom and strength Your holy word to savor,
Till in His likeness, nourished on Your favor,
We come before You.

392. Christmas 1 (Series B)

Oh, the lectionary awkwardness! Christmas 1 (the first, and sometimes only, Sunday between Christmas and Epiphany) has the same Gospel lesson (Luke 2:22-40) in Series B as in Series C. This makes more sense in Year C, which is generally devoted to Luke's gospel; but Mark has no infancy-of-Jesus narratives, so there you are. Then there's the Epistle for Christmas 1 (Galatians 4:4-7), which Series A and B share; I can't dream up an explanation for that. The O.T. lesson is Isaiah 61:10 to 62:3, the first two verses of which were part of the first lesson for Advent 3 (Series B). So I had to dance around the danger of repetition in this hymn.

The tune is ST. DUNSTAN'S by C. Winfred Douglas (†1944), which was an alternate tune (to MONK'S GATE) for "He (or All) who would valiant be" in SBH, LBW and LW. I don't think MONK'S GATE can ever shake off the stench of Puritanism from Percy Dearmer's hymn ("after John Bunyan"), but I don't feel this tune is tainted as deeply by it, so I'm willing to give it another spin.

When time had fully come
For sinners' sparing,
God sent His holy Son,
Pure maiden bearing
Him who our race's curse
Would at one blow reverse,
Good tidings to disperse
To the despairing.

Now to Jerusalem
And every nation
His light at last has come,
Showing salvation.
"Abba!" our spirit cries,
To our Redeemer flies;
For our adoption lies
On this foundation.

Now to the Virgin's Son
Our praise be offered,
Who all our work has done,
All our woes suffered!
As our birthpangs increase,
Soon let us go in peace
And see Your masterpiece
Plainly uncovered!

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

391. Advent 4 (Series B)

The lessons this time are 2 Samuel 7:1-11 skipping to verse 16, Romans 16:25-27 and Luke 1:26-38, Gabriel's annunciation to Mary. For the tune, I decided on ERMUNTRE DICH – but not the one everyone knows, by Johann Schop; rather, a tune by the same name by Johann Georg Nicolai (1720-88), dated 1765, which appears twice in the 1973 Lutheran Hymnal out of Australia. I wish I could use the harmonization in that book, too, but there's blurb in one of the front pages that urges me to seek permission for that, and I'm in a bit of a rush in case you hadn't noticed. So, second hymn in a row, I'll eventually have to write my own harmony for it. Worth it, I think. UPDATE: The Lutheran Church of Australia/New Zealand gave permission to use their harmonization. Hooray!

"Hail, favored one," the angel said,
The virgin chaste bemusing
When he to Nazareth had sped
To tell her of God's choosing.
"The Lord be with you, of your sex
Most blest who e'er existed!"
—A greeting certain to perplex;
Yet Gabriel persisted:

"Fear not! With God you have found grace,
His Son in you conceiving!
His claim from David He will trace,
An endless throne receiving."
"How can this be?" the maid replied;
Yet by the Spirit's power
In Gabriel's word did she confide,
God's mother from that hour.

"How can this be?" our souls still cry
At this and every season:
That God would come in flesh to die
For sinners, beggars reason.
O Spirit, overshadow us,
Faith in God's word conceiving!
Plant in our hearts an eagerness
To hear Your word, believing.

"Behold the servant of the Lord,"
The blessèd maid responded:
"Be it according to your word."
Oh, that such faith abounded
With us! Oh, for the Spirit's strength
To walk in Christ, enduring
Till Mary's Son returns at length,
Eternal life securing!

Lord, though our hearts be treasonous
And reason be our idol,
With faith like Mary's season us;
Lead us, as with a bridle,
To answer, "Savior, be it so."
Come birthpangs, grief or dying!
Your word is true—yea, this I know—
My hope, my crown supplying.

390. Advent 3 (Series B)

The lessons for this service are Isaiah 61:1-4 skipping to 8-11, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24 and John 1:6-8 skipping to 19-28. The tune is DEIN KÖNIG KOMMT IN NIEDERN HÜLLEN by Johannes Zahn (1853), which I cribbed from a German hymnal, so sue me. (No, don't actually sue me; I'm doing an original arrangement of it to avoid copyright issues.)

Rejoice at all times, all you living;
Pray ceaselessly with glad thanksgiving;
For this God wills for You in Christ.
Test all things; cling to what has merit;
Flee evil; quench you not the Spirit;
Nor be God's prophecy despised!

Rejoice in Christ, who has so blessed you,
In robes of righteousness has dressed you,
As Bridegroom decks beloved bride!
Yea, as the earth its bud is bringing,
As what is sown comes gaily springing,
So praise will flourish far and wide.

Now may God sanctify you fully
And keep your soul and body holy
Until the day Christ comes again!
Therefore rejoice with praises lusty,
For He who visits you is trusty,
And what He pledges, You will gain.

Monday, October 17, 2022

389. Advent 2 (Series B)

The lessons for this service are Isaiah 40:1-11, 2 Peter 3:8-14 and Mark 1:1-8. This hymn focuses on the Epistle, backing up a few verses because the pericope chops off the premise of Peter's argument. The tune is HERR, WIE LANGE by Johann Crüger (1653), which the Australian Lutheran Hymnal ran with "God, from all eternity."

Men will come in these last days,
Scoffing at the Savior's pledges,
Walking in lust-driven ways,
Saying, "So much God alleges!
Lo, the former saints all sleeping!
As things were, they keep on keeping!"

But, beloved, they forget:
God's word called earth from the waters;
What existed overset,
Drowning Adam's sons and daughters.
Now that word, from flood preserving,
Lies in wait, a fire reserving.

Nor forget this crucial fact:
Time, to us, God strangely reckons.
Though we deem Him slow to act,
With longsuff'ring Jesus beckons,
Lest we die, to turn, repenting;
From our doom a while relenting.

Since all things will be dissolved
In a fire beyond all others,
Earth and all its works involved,
How then shall we live, dear brothers?
Walk in love, God's essence tasting,
His Day thereby seeking, hasting!

Seek, indeed, the world above,
For the saints a new-made dwelling;
Spurn not reconciling love,
Pride and wrath at heart expelling.
Though God's judgment you be craving,
Wait! His patience is your saving.

388. Advent 1 (Series B)

Now that all the invariants of the LSB 3-year series have been sorted – hymns written for the major feasts – as well as one hymn per Sunday of Year A, it's time to tackle Year B. In contrast to the first year's emphasis on Matthew's gospel, this one focuses on Mark with a smattering of John. Right out of the gate, for the First Sunday in Advent – excuse me, Advent 1 – it hits with a bit of awkwardness. The lessons are Isaiah 64:1-9, 1 Corinthians 1:3-9 and either Mark 11:1-10 or Mark 13:24-37, which means (to start) that if I want to lean into the Gospel lesson, I must either choose between two readings or treat them both. I'm glad to report that the only other "either/or" scenario in Series B, besides the feasts (which I'm so over), is the last Sunday of the church year, a.k.a. Proper 29. Won't that be something to look forward to. Also, this service shares its Epistle lesson (mostly) with Epiphany 6 of Series A.

The tune, which happens to take its title from Isaiah 64:1 (OK, it's not a coincidence that I chose it), is O HEILAND, REISS DIE HIMMEL AUF, from the Rheinfelssisch deutsches catholisches Gesangbuch of Augsburg (1666). The corresponding hymn, "O Savior, rend the heavens wide," was set to it in LBW, LW, CWALH, ELHy, LSB and CWH. Also, LW, CWALH and LSB assign it to Martin Franzmann's "Preach you the Word and plant it home," while CWALH additionally sets it to "The star proclaims the King is here." I think it's a fabulous demonstration of the energy and strength (not sadness) inherent in the Dorian mode.

Hosanna! Blest be David's Son,
Who on the Lord's behalf has come,
Not to ascend an earthly throne
But see His saving purpose done.

Spread palms and clothes upon His road;
Welcome God's dear begotten God!
Highest hosannas be our ode,
That He with men makes His abode!

Oh, that the skies at last would break,
The oceans boil, the mountains shake!
At His next coming, all shall wake,
When He of death an end shall make.

Think we our works as festal flags?
Our finest deeds are filthy rags!
O Christ, Your people meekly begs:
Spare us Your fury and sin's plagues!

No God like You has e'er been seen,
Who saves the sinner, so unclean!
On You we wait; our hope is keen,
For on Your gentle love we lean.

Yet no one knows the day or hour
When You will strike with lightning pow'r.
So help us watch, Your scriptures scour,
Your testament a royal dow'r.

Come soon, and carry home Your bride!
Present us holy at Your side
Where, stings withdrawn and tears all dried,
Mankind with God will e'er abide.

Sunday, October 16, 2022

387. Feast and Week of Pentecost

With this hymn, I finally close the gap between the beginning of Bountiful Hymns (my third hymnbook, currently in progress) and the beginning of the three-year-lectionary cycle of hymns, which will form the bulk of the book. There's already a hymn for the Day of Pentecost for Series A, and there will be different ones for Series B and C. This hymn covers the propers that the LSB lectionary provides for:
  • Pentecost Eve (Exodus 19:1-9, Romans 8:12-17 and optional 22-27, and John 14:8-21);
  • Pentecost Evening/Monday (Isaiah 57:15-21, Acts 10:34a and 42-48, and John 3:16-21); and
  • Pentecost Tuesday (Isaiah 32:14-20, Acts 8:14-17, and John 10:1-10)
—however rare the occasion may be on which these services are actually observed. The lectionary is the project; I mean to complete it.

Adding to the difficulty is the fact that many of these texts appear elsewhere in the cycle: the Eve's OT in Proper 6, its Epistle in Proper 10 with the optional verses in Proper 11, and its Gospel divided between Easter 5 and 6; the Evening/Monday Gospel overlapping with that of Lent 2; and the Tuesday sharing its Gospel with Easter 4. But that's just Series A; I doubt there will be as much overlap in Years B and C. It's one of those hymns where you'll insert the relevant stanza between the unvarying opening and closing stanzas. The tune, meanwhile, is MANNHEIM, adapted from Friedrich Filitz (1847), which Lutheran Hymnary paired with "Guide me, O Thou great Jehovah" and SBH with "In His temple now behold Him." Also, three hymnals (LHy, CSB and LH from Australia) all set it to "Lead us, heavenly Father, lead us." Yeah, I'm using this meter (8787 87) a lot. One reason is that I know it has a lot of good tunes to call upon, tunes that suit my criteria for this project.

Breathe, you saints, the Spirit blowing
From the cross, the empty tomb!
In your baptism feel Him flowing,
Cleansing like a fiery plume;
Though you feel it not, yet knowing
That He comes and whence, from Whom.

(Pentecost Eve)
On the eve of His ascending
To the cross, the Savior said:
"I another Help am sending,
To indwell you in My stead.
Know the truth, My word attending,
By the Spirit loved and led."

(Pentecost Evening/Monday)
Peter, preaching Jesus' merit
Unto the uncircumcised,
Saw them caught up in the Spirit;
Said, "Shall these not be baptized?"
Lo, the Gentiles now inherit
What the chosen ones despised!

(Pentecost Tuesday)
Now the Spirit brings assurance,
Righteousness and peace to light,
Freeing us from sin's vile durance
And its fruits, shot through with blight,
That, at Jesus' next appearance,
We may welcome Him aright.

(Closing stanza)
Glory to the Father render,
And to the eternal Son
And the Spirit, our Attender,
Gathering our prayers in one:
One in power, One in splendor,
One God, while all ages run!

386. Ascension Hymn

Yes, I wrote an Ascension hymn before. But this one goes to the "hymns for the LSB 3-year lectionary" project, so I'm doing it anyway. The lessons are Acts 1:1-11, Ephesians 1:15-23 and Luke 24:44-53. The tune is BIS WILLKOMMEN by Johann Christian Kittel (1790), which Ev. Lutheran Hymn-Book pairs with "In His temple now behold Him" and The Lutheran Hymnal with "Judge eternal, throned in splendor."

Look! The Victim resurrected
From the dead, no more to die,
Now as Victor is perfected,
Raised to take His seat on high.
Nonetheless, be not dejected;
Seek Him not in distant sky.

Once on earth our Lord alighted
And through birth our nature donned.
God with man is now united,
Christ Himself the steadfast bond.
Be we by the foe indicted,
He is certain to respond.

Blood of our blood now is seated
At God's right, and bone of bone;
That all justice is completed
He bears witness at the throne.
Satan of his prey is cheated;
All our cares to God are known.

Meanwhile, He has given teachers
Who bring us His living voice,
Through the sacraments and scriptures
Working out in us His choice
Till the farthest land it reaches
And the very stars rejoice.

See, beloved? Even hidden,
Christ has left you not alone.
Though you feel abandoned, chidden,
He indeed hears every groan.
Wait till upward you are bidden,
When His presence will be shown.

Cling till then to what He gives you;
Seek Him in His means of grace.
Listen when His word forgives you,
Though one speaks it in His place.
Trust, while Satan sifts and sieves You,
For Christ represents Your case.

Christ went up, beheld by many,
O'er all things to claim the crown;
Fills all things, that hardly any
Depth remains for you to drown,
But He will be there; and when He
Comes, all eyes will see Him down.

Christ went up, and just as plainly
Will come down to call us home,
Though this generation vainly
Seeks Him in the cosmic dome.
Till then, let all saints unfeignedly
Worship Him and bid Him, "Come!"

Saturday, October 15, 2022

385. Feast and Week of Easter

The current hymnbook project's Easter Day hymn is already in the bag. However, the LSB 3-year propers also suggest the possibility of separate services for:
  • Easter Sunrise (Exodus 14:10-15:1; 1 Corinthians 15:1-11; John 20:1-18);
  • Easter Evening/Monday (Exodus 15:1-18 or Daniel 12:1c-3; Acts 10:34-43 or 1 Corinthians 5:6b-8; Luke 24:13-35 and optional 36-49);
  • Easter Tuesday (Daniel 3:8-28; Acts 13:26-33; Luke 24:36-49); and
  • Easter Wednesday (Acts 3:13-15 and 17-19; Colossians 3:1-7 or 1 Corinthians 11:23-36; John 21:1-14).
So, in the same vein as my recent hymns for the Feast of Christmas and Holy Week, here is one of those multi-use, "one opening stanza, one closing stanza and multiple middle stanzas"-type hymns. The tune is CORONAE by Willam H. Monk (1871), which is set to "Look, ye saints! the sight is glorious" in CSB, TLH and CWALH.

Hallelujah! Hail His rising!
How the wonder daily grows,
Heart and conscience realizing
Life from Him to sinners flows!
Christ is risen
And before His brethren goes.

(Easter Sunrise)
At the tomb, bewildered, weeping,
Mary wondered where He lay,
Till the Lord, His promise keeping,
Spoke and took Her grief away.
Christ is risen,
Bringing light at break of day!

(Easter Evening/Monday)
On the road, to two disciples
Sighing, Jesus came to say
How the Scriptures, hardly trifles,
Were fulfilled that very day.
Christ is risen,
Feeding faith at close of day!

(Easter Tuesday)
To the ten, distressed and frightened,
Jesus brought the word of peace,
Of the holy page enlightened
That their number might increase.
Christ is risen,
From night's terrors our release.

(Easter Wednesday)
At the sea, the faithful, fishing
As they would, brought none to hand;
Cast once more, on Jesus' wishing;
Caught as much as they could land.
Christ is risen,
All the world at His command.

(Closing stanza)
Hallelujah! Living, dying,
Both appear in altered guise
With our Lord the hope supplying
That we also will arise.
Christ is risen,
Making ours the Victor's prize!

384. Holy Saturday Hymn

Continuing to close gaps in the LSB three-year lectionary before I proceed with Year B, we come to the observance sometimes also known as the Easter Vigil. Although, actually, the different names travel with different approaches to observing it ("Jesus' rest in the tomb" vs. "It counts as Easter as soon as the sun goes down on Saturday"), sort of like how different hymns written for Jan. 1 are either "New Year" or "Circumcision of Our Lord" hymns. (I don't plan on revisiting that dilemma in this book; see Useful Hymns.) Again, the LCMS online calendar doesn't even provide for a Holy Saturday service, perhaps in recognition of the fact that the clergy are in a state of collapse by that point, but the church I attend does have an Easter Vigil and so does my vicarage congregation, so I wouldn't call this an entirely pointless hymn.

The lessons, per LSB, are Daniel 6:1-24, 1 Peter 4:1-8 and Matthew 27:57-66. The tune is HERR UND ÄTSTER, credited to "Herrnhut, c.1740/1755; Basel, 1830" in the 1970s Australian Lutheran Hymnal, which places it with the hymn "Gathered here, O gracious Lord and Savior." On the facing page, without repeating the music, it is also appointed as the tune for "One thing more than all my heart is craving."

Since my Savior in the tomb has rested,
Having suffered for my sins,
I shall not submit, however tested,
To the death that strives within,
Nor return to floods of dissipation,
Though deemed strange by every man and nation.
Let them judge me as they may:
Christ has set apart my way.

Mew me up, world, like the prophet Daniel
In the hungry lions' den;
Were my faith as mustard's merest granule,
I'd say, "Even so, amen!"
Jesus' death my life has separated
From what was, and what-will-be located,
Through baptism's drowning tide,
At my living Savior's side.

383. Holy Week Hymn

This is a multi-use hymn (one opening stanza, three different "stanza 2s") for services that might (however unlikely) take place on the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday after Passion Sunday (a.k.a. Palm Sunday); I've already written hymns for Maundy Thursday and Good Friday in this hymnal project. The lectionary at the front of LSB has the propers for these services, but the online PDF of the coming church year's lectionary omits them; you may judge from that how seriously anyone takes the idea of having a service every day of Holy Week (although I did it once, when I was a serving pastor; not following this lectionary, however).

The lessons for Holy Monday are Isaiah 50:5-10, Hebrews 9:11-15 and either Matthew 26:1-27:66 (pretty much the Passion according to Matthew) or John 12:1-23. For Tuesday, the lessons are Isaiah 49:1-7, 1 Corinthians 1:18-25 (with the option of 26-31) and either Mark 14:1-15:47 (the Mark Passion) or John 12:23-50. The lessons for Wednesday are Isaiah 62:11-63:7, Romans 5:6-11 and Luke 22:1-23:56 (the Luke Passion) or John 13:16-38. The tune is JESU ÄR MIN VÄN DEN BÄSTE by Gustaf Düben (†1730), which the American Lutheran Hymnal used for two hymns ("Come, O Jesus, and prepare me" and "Hail, Thou Source of every blessing") and that SBH paired with "Hark! The voice of Jesus crying."

Who are we, that would see Jesus?
His blood breached the sacred veil;
Rather might His notice seize us,
Pierce us as His palm the nail!
Knowing that His Passion frees us,
We see but a figure frail,
While in truth our Savior sees us
With a love that cannot fail.

(Holy Monday)
Once for all, sin's warfare quelling,
Christ came, not with blood of beast,
But His own, all priests excelling,
To the inmost shrine and high'st.
If bulls' blood and goats' are telling,
How much more the blood of Christ:
Pure yet for the impure welling,
In the Spirit sacrificed!

(Holy Tuesday)
Lo, the host in heaven dwelling
By this message is increased,
Though those chosen for its telling
Seem of intellect the least.
For God's foolishness is felling
Fortresses from east to west,
Jesus' cross the forces swelling
Reason's ramparts to invest.

(Holy Wednesday)
Jesus knew who would betray Him
And by whom He'd be denied;
Trusted God to glorify Him
Even while in shame He died.
Since His blood is justifying,
Let us in His wounds abide:
Hell and death could not destroy Him,
No more those who in Him hide.

Friday, October 14, 2022

382. Ash Wednesday Hymn

It's not exactly a "feast" as such, but since its propers are listed among those for the Sundays in the LSB 3-year lectionary, I'm classing this hymn under the "major feasts" hymns that will be the same for all three years. Of course, I've done an Ash Wednesday hymn before (and I forgot to mention, in my previous post, that I'd also done an Epiphany hymn before). Lessons are Joel 2:12-19, 2 Corinthians 5:20-6:10 and Matthew 6:1-6 skipping to 16-20. The tune is DOMINE, CLAMAVI by Justin H. Knecht (1797), which Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary paired with "Lord, teach us how to pray aright" and which both Ev. Lutheran Hymn-Book and The Lutheran Hymnal paired with "Why do we mourn departing friends."

Remember, man, that you are dust
And will return to dust!
Repent and turn to God in trust,
Who names the sinner just.

Be reconciled to Him, we plead,
Who, knowing not sin's need,
Was made the sinner in our stead,
And thereby we are freed.

Receive God's grace, and not in vain;
Your prayer He will sustain.
Now is the time the prize to gain,
Salvation to obtain.

This gift surpasses anything
The world at you may fling.
Christ, knowing those who to Him cling,
Life to their dust will bring.

381. Epiphany Hymn

This hymn is for the "major feasts" section of my hymnbook-in-progress, one of the observances whose lessons are the same during all three years of the LSB 3-year series. And although Jan. 6 won't fall on a Sunday next year, it will sometime and so, eventually, such a hymn will be indicated in a "hymn for every Sunday of the church year" series. The texts are Isaiah 60:1-6, Ephesians 3:1-12 and Matthew 2:1-12. The tune is the Grenoble church melody DEUS TUORUM MILITUM, which I've found set to six different hymns across multiple hymnals, most notably the Epiphany hymn "From God the Father, virgin-born."

Christ, Treasure dearer far than gold,
When we in bonds of sin were sold,
You did not scorn our mortal birth
But bought with blood all souls in earth.

Though due the incense of our praise,
You bore the skull hill's stinking haze
That, for our sake, before God's eyes,
A pleasing savor might arise.

Then, by Your scented shroud and tomb,
Our grave You gave a restful fume:
On death a better spice than myrrh,
The hope of life, You thus confer.

To You, all nations' Savior-King,
What is there in our gift to bring?
All treasures are for You to give,
In Whom we die, by Whom we live!

380. Dedication Hymn

This is intended as the opening hymn of my projected third hymn-book, Bountiful Hymns, whose predecessors also featured hymns as dedications The scriptural jumping-off point is Matthew 13:52, with a bit of thought also derived from the Psalms' (and Isaiah's, and John's) repeated use of the phrase "sing a new song." Although I conceived the hymn in four-line stanzas of 11 syllables per line, the tune is of the "6565 D" meter: URSWICKE by George J. Elvey (†1893), which the Lutheran Hymnary paired with "In the hour of trial." However, I'm not too worried about it actually being sung; it is, after all, a dedication poem.

Jesus, bless Your household with a faithful scribe,
Showing Your creating impulse still alive;
Drawing from Your treasure things both old and new;
Longing hearts directing to be filled with You.

Jesus, bless Your household with a skillful scribe,
Yet subdue his stylings to this single drive:
That his psalms encourage all for whom You died,
That the lost would turn, that saints be edified.

Jesus, bless Your household with a humble scribe,
More inclined to prayer than pompous diatribe:
With the poor in spirit quick to sympathize,
All man's foibles viewing through repentant eyes.

Jesus, bless Your household with a joyful scribe,
Who our sinking spirits once more will revive.
We Your wondrous deeds, Your promises would sing;
Unto You a new song we would gladly bring.

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

379. Dies irae, upside-down

The Dies irae ("Day of wrath"), from the Roman Catholic mass for the dead, is a dark and scary depiction of the final judgment and its terrors. That's certainly a valid, scriptural point of view around death and burial. I mean, it takes its cue from Zephaniah 1:15-16 and drops many other scriptural references, such as David and the Prophet's oracles, the imagery of the final trumpet, the Book of Life, the Judge on his seat, the sinful woman, the dying thief, the sheep and the goats, etc. It acknowledges that whoever we're burying must now face the eternal Judge, a fact that the living can profit from thinking about. It also does, gradually, permit a slow drip of gospel comfort to lighten the prevailing inky tint, with the tremendous King of majesty freely saving the redeemed, and Jesus being reminded that "I am the cause of Thy way" (freely interpreted as "You suffered for my salvation"), and that He "redeemed me by suffering on the cross" and, finally, it pleads desperately for mercy. So far, so good.

I like the Dies irae, don't get me wrong. I'm a classical music buff and I got to sing several settings of this sequence during my years with the St. Louis Symphony Chorus – including those in the Requiems by Mozart and Verdi (multiple times each). It tends to be a thrilling highlight. But also, I can't say that I don't also sympathize with Gabriel Faure, who omitted the Dies from his sweet, delicately sentimental Requiem, or with Brahms, who jettisoned all the liturgical texts and filled his German Requiem with selections from the Luther Bible, and whose closest analog to a Dies is "Denn alles Fleisch, es ist wie Gras." Sometimes, I just wonder whether a funeral is the time to put the frighteners on people when, these days, the widely recognized objective seems to be comforting the mourners as much as possible. Even The Lutheran Hymnal sections its Dies irae translation (by William J. Irons) under "Judgment," suggesting more of an "end of the church year" usage.

So, here's an idea that's been percolating in the back of my mind. Let's see how far we can take a line-by-line inversion of the Dies irae into a comforting burial hymn, without it being less biblically and doctrinally Christian. I'll bet other people have done this, perhaps even in Latin, but I refused to look them up because I didn't want to end up plagiarizing anyone (or getting discouraged and dropping the whole thing). The tune, of course, will be Dies irae – the plainsong version in The Lutheran Hymnal and both the 1993 and 2021 versions of Christian Worship.

Oh, that Day of jubilation
At the promised consummation,
When we'll see the new creation!

Christ will come with comfort heady,
Having made their mansions ready
Who'd believed His promise steady.

Oh, the throaty trumpet speaking,
Death's trusteeship swiftly breaking
And the grave's dear guests awaking!

See the elements transforming,
Christ His proper work performing,
Sin's redoubts, death's prison storming!

See the book, wherein are listed
All who in His grace persisted,
Who by faith this age resisted!

See the Judge, o'er all presiding,
Life or death for each deciding
With the cross His measure guiding.

Oh, to plead, that solemn moment,
My baptism's blest enrollment
In my Lord's blood-bought atonement!

O my King in triumph glorious,
Think not on my way notorious,
But my Savior's, so laborious!

Think, dear Jesus! Man's salvation
Caused Your wondrous incarnation;
Bring Your purpose to completion!

On the cross Your suffering bought me;
By Your gospel's pow'r You sought me,
And to saving faith You brought me.

Knowing, Lord, of sin's pollution
You have granted absolution,
Overrule the prosecution!

Put behind me shame and weeping,
All my guilt from knowledge sweeping,
My appeal in mercy keeping.

At the table You have granted
Your own blood for me decanted
And Your body in me planted.

What more need be demonstrated?
With You am I saturated,
Wherein is my hope located.

Oh, forever to be grazing
With Your flock in glory blazing!
Hasten, Lord, Your servant raising!

EDIT: Had I only known!

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

378. Proper 29 (Series A)

Rejoice with me, for as of this hymn I've completed my first lap of this hymn-writing marathon, featuring every Sunday of Year A of the LSB 3-year series. After this, and before I commence with Year B, I plan to break to write a couple hymns that have been pushed to the side during his last, thrilling push to the end of Series A – such as a long-contemplated dedication hymn for the book this project will eventually inhabit, and an "anti-Dies irae" that, I swear, I've been thinking about writing since even before the hymn for Proper 28.

So, the lessons for this last Sunday of the church year, Nov. 20-26, are Ezekiel 34:11-16 skipping to 20-24, 1 Corinthians 15:20-28 and Matthew 25:31-46 (the sheep and the goats). And of course, I've already written a hymn about the sheep and the goats. The tune is UPP, MIN TUNGA from Koralpsalmboken (Stockholm, 1697), a.k.a. RIDDARHOLM, which both SBH and LBW paired with "Praise the Savior, now and ever."

Christ, our Shepherd, daily guiding
All His lambs with patient grace,
Presently will come, dividing
Sheep from goats before His face:
Cheering these, the others chiding,
He will judge His ransomed race.

Well may thoughts of judgment daunt you,
Oft as sins your conscience stain,
Or the crafty serpent taunt you
For your share in Jesus' pain.
Yet His blood must never haunt you;
By it you are born again.

In the spirit Jesus led you
To baptism's healing brink;
With His body truly fed you,
And His blood gave you to drink.
From sin's prison Jesus pled you
Just, acquitted in a blink.

You were naked, when He clothed you
In Himself, God's cherished Son;
Were estranged, and Justice loathed you,
Till He made you hence at one,
Every kind of kindness showed you,
All the Law's demands saw done.

With Him as your Judge appointed,
Little lamb, why do you quake?
Trust the Lord and His Anointed,
Who Your cause will surely take.
Face Him, sober but undaunted,
Counted righteous for His sake.

Then rejoice when Jesus tells you
"You did all this unto Me,"
For He actively indwells you,
Working out His own decree
Till His upward summons fills you,
Opening eternity.