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.

428. Proper 13 (Series B)

The lessons for this service, a Sunday after Trinity during July 31-Aug. 6, are Exodus 16:2-15, Ephesians 4:1-16 and John 6:22-35 – the first installment of a three-week break from Mark's gospel, all from John chapter 6. The tune is AYNHOE by James Nares (†1783) – not the squared-off version which appeared twice in TLH ("Lord of the harvest, hear" and "Soldiers of Christ, arise") but the (I think) more original, triple-time version LHy used with "Soldiers of Christ."

Jesus, the Bread of life
On Whom the faithful feed,
Give us Yourself that we may thrive,
From thirst and hunger freed.

Show us the work of God,
That we in You believe:
Not of our deeds or pious laud,
This freely we receive.

Manna is Yours to give,
Lord Jesus, from above
Sent down that we below may live
In sacrificial love.

This bread, which is Yourself,
Builds in our flesh your realm.
With You in us our daily Help,
No need can overwhelm.

For You now all things fill;
Captivity is bound.
In You, ascended Savior, still
All gifts to men are found.

Thus, let no storm of words
Cast doubt upon Your bread
Where, by the pow'r Your word affords,
The world on You is fed.

Put our complaints away;
From sin so set us free
That all Your gifts may have full play
Till we Your glory see.

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

427. Proper 12 (Series B)

The lessons for this service, a Sunday after Trinity during July 24-30, are Genesis 9:8-17, Ephesians 3:14-21 and Mark 6:45-56. The tune is ST. BERNARD from Tochter Sion of Köln, 1741. I've found it in six different one-off (or in one case, two-off) text-tune pairings across five anglphone Lutheran hymnals, including ELHB, CSB, TLH, SBH and Australia's LH.

To God, in whom the saints are named,
We bow the knee in prayer
That hearts to faith may be inflamed,
That love be rooted there.

From Christ, who shows us with the saints
The height and width and length,
The love surpassing all restraints,
We draw the Spirit's strength.

To Him whose power far exceeds
All that we ask or think,
Let us entrust our cares and needs
And of His wisdom drink.

Let us behold His mystery
Bound up in promised sign,
And so His unseen nature see,
His age-deep treasures mine:

From rainbow's promise lest a flood
Should drown the world again
To His last testament of blood
Poured out to ransom men.

Oh, breadth that gathers in our race!
Oh, length of trusty bond!
Oh, depth of sacrificial grace!
Oh, height all worlds beyond!—

Oh, Christ to grasp, and to be filled
With knowledge from on high!
Oh, but to taste His truth distilled,
From floods of sin kept dry!

Kneel, heart! Lie prostrate, little mind!
Bless Him whose touch makes well.
In Him your sheltered harbor find,
Who walks unscorched through hell.

And though the floods against you rise,
Your foe at court rise up,
Trust Him whose bow stands in the skies;
Taste His acquitting cup!

426. Proper 11 (Series B)

The lessons for this service, a Sunday after Trinity during July 17-23, are Jeremiah 23:1-6, Ephesians 2:11-22 and Mark 6:30-44. The tune is THANKSGIVING by John Bacchus Dykes (c.1889), not to be confused with a tune of the same name by yours truly. It has appeared in one-off pairings with at least five different hymns in at least three different American Lutheran hymnals (ELHB, CSB and SBH).

In Your compassion, gracious Lord,
You looked upon the multitude
As sheep in want of One to herd,
And teaching them, gave heav'nly food.

Us also, Jesus, we beseech,
Regard with loving-kindness. Give
A shepherd, faithful, apt to teach,
That we on You may feed and live.

Such Shepherd's love at eve You showed
That earthly food You then dispensed,
Till scant supply far overflowed
The hunger it was set against.

Us also, Jesus, we implore,
Give sustenance none can exhaust:
A bread whose eaters die no more,
Whereof You only know the cost.

Command the shepherds in Your charge
Likewise to teach us many things,
For though the flock grow wondrous large,
More boundless still Your mercy springs.

425. Proper 10 (Series B)

The lessons for this service, a Sunday after Trinity during July 10-16, are Amos 7:7-15, Ephesians 1:3-14 (the first of eight consecutive readings from that epistle) and Mark 6:14-29. The tune is THEOCTISTUS by John B. Calkin (1872), which the Lutheran Hymnary paired with "Jesus, name all names above."

Faithful witnesses, take heart
From the baptist's portion,
Who bore well the martyr's part,
Preached without distortion
Though his prophecy was hated,
Though a headsman's sword awaited:
Help us stand, Lord, in such wise
When our hour to speak may rise.

Some our teaching will perplex,
Though they hear with gladness;
Others it will sorely vex,
Moving them to madness.
Though His word may bring upheaval,
Jesus' ends are never evil:
Savior, let Your will be done,
Even when our course is run.

Let this age's daughters dance
And her sons lie drunken;
Let its haughty princes prance,
While in prisons sunken
Languish those whose good confession
Meets with malice and oppression:
Spirit, arm us for the fray,
Steeled against the evil day.

Triune God, uphold our cry,
Lest Your word keep silence,
Lest Your kingdom we deny
While it suffers violence!
Hearten those who, You professing,
Hasten to obtain the blessing
That Your mercy holds in store
Where the saints live evermore.

Sunday, November 6, 2022

424. Proper 9 (Series B)

The lessons for this service, a Sunday after Trinity during July 3-9, are Ezekiel 2:1-5, 2 Corinthians 12:1-10 (the end of a six-week series of selections from that epistle) and Mark 6:1-13. The tune is OP, THI DAGEN NU FREMBRYDER by Ludvig M. Lindeman (†1887), set to Freylinghausen's beautiful Advent/Christmas hymn "Wake, the welcome day appeareth" in Lutheran Hymnary and Ev. Lutheran Hymnary, each stanza of which ends with a double Hallelujah. And yes, I've noticed that I'm a big fan of Lindeman's tunes. Aren't you?

Preach, you messengers of Jesus!
Preach His word, though it displease us;
Preach without regard for gain;
Preach in poverty and pain;
Preach, defying mortal reason;
Preach in season, out of season:
Let all the people say Amen!

Christ is He who sends the preacher,
Christ to share with ev'ry creature;
Christ who lifts our guilty stain;
Christ who breaks the captive's chain;
Christ the Victim crushed and gory;
Christ our only pride and glory:
Let all the people say Amen!

Go, then: follow the apostles,
Sent by Christ with news colossal.
Sow the word, that tiny grain;
Spread the Savior's mighty reign.
Though affliction sorely tries you,
Surely will His grace suffice you:
Let all the people say Amen!

423. Proper 8 (Series B)

The lessons for this service, a Sunday after Trinity during June 26-July 2, are Lamentations 3:22-33, 2 Corinthians 8:1-9 skipping to 13-15, and Mark 5:21-43, the raising of Jairus's daughter and the healing of the woman with the flow of blood. I've previously alluded to Jairus's daughter in hymns here and here. The tune is OLD 107TH from Clément Marot's 30 Pseaumes de David, a Calvinistic psalter of 1541; it was paired with "Your hand, O Lord, in days of old" in LBW and LW and, again in LBW, with "The Lord will come and not be slow." To paraphrase a saying attributed to Martin Luther, "Must the Calvinists have all the good tunes?" Or even some of them, all to themselves? (Fun fact: John Adams, not the president but the composer, used Luther's alleged epigram as the title of a piano concerto.)

Wait on the Lord! For ev'ry morn
His mercies are renewed.
With calm hope let your lot be borne;
Your yoke, with fortitude.
Though you be made to kiss the dust,
Though your tormentor scoff,
In God's compassion put your trust:
He will not cast you off.

He does not willingly give grief;
That the believer knows.
Yet pain may exercise belief,
As Jairus' daughter shows:
Her father was obliged to wait
While Christ another healed.
They seemed to reach her bed too late;
Yet death its spoils would yield.

The woman suffered full twelve years,
Her patience tested much,
Till her uncleanness disappeared
At Christ's unwitting touch.
God's power through His garment flowed,
While He, caught unawares,
All honor on her faith bestowed;
Will He not hear your prayers?

Can death make futile Christ's return?
Can distance or late hour
Or laughter or loud wails concern
The Author of such power?
A little word brings death undone;
A light touch stops a bleed.
Wait, therefore, on God's saving Son;
Entrust to Him your need.

422. Proper 7 (Series B)

The lessons for this service, for the very likely occurrence of a Sunday after Trinity during June 19-25, are Job 38:1-11, 2 Corinthians 6:1-13 and Mark 4:35-41. Challenges facing us from the non-repetition standpoint include the Old Testament lesson overlapping with that of Series A Proper 14, and the fact that I previously wrote a hymn based on Matthew's parallel account of Jesus stilling the storm. The tune is the Swedish traditional melody GAA NU HEN OG GRAV MIN GRAV, which the Lutheran Hymnary paired with "Go, and let my grave be made" as well as "Jesus, Master! at Thy word." The arrangment is LHy's minus some distracting frou-frou, not the first substraction of its kind I've considered necessary.

"Peace, be still!" Christ Jesus said,
And the wind and waves fell quiet.
Nature seemed to knew its Head,
Word that tempered Chaos' riot:
Order ordered on the scene,
Stormy seas became serene.

"Who can this be?" cried His men,
"See, the wind and sea obey Him!"
Might they not His nature ken,
Hearing chastened imps betray Him?
Had they not His works observed
When so oft the sick He served?

"Why so fearful?" He replied.
"Are you still so unbelieving?"
Yea, the storm went on inside,
Otherness fresh trouble leaving.
Wondrous though His signs may be,
Who can stand the Lord to see?

Fear Him, then, but also trust
Him, who all your ways is keeping;
Know His love, which guards the just,
Though He outwardly be sleeping.
Come what tumult may impend,
Jesus grants a peaceful end.

Saturday, November 5, 2022

421. Proper 6 (Series B)

The lessons for this service, in the somewhat likely event a Sunday after Trinity occurs during June 12-18, are Ezekiel 17:22-24, 2 Corinthians 5:1-10 (optional 11-17) and Mark 4:26-34. The tune is called SCHWING DICH AUF, but again, it's not the one you may be thinking about, by Johann G. Ebeling (Berlin, 1666; cf. "Come, ye faithful, raise the strain" in TLH); I mean the one by Johann Crüger (1653), cribbed from a German hymnal. However, I reserve the right to use Ebeling's tune another time.

Kingdom, what shall we compare
To your hidden growing?
Lo, a man on acre bare
Lively seed is sowing;
Then, by means he fathoms not,
Even while he's sleeping,
To full ripeness it is brought,
Ready for the reaping.

You grow as the least of seeds—
But a grain of mustard—
Bears the greatest of all weeds,
Birds beneath it clustered.
For with nothing but the word
Into dead hearts planted,
Life is secretly conferred,
Fruit aplenty granted.

God is ready to cut down
This world's great achievements,
While with full grain He will crown
Beggars and bereavements.
Acres bare of help or hope,
Hearts and hands unfruited
Lie within His labor's scope,
In His promise rooted.

Kingdom, know God does not lie,
Ne'er a promise breaking;
When He speaks, the seas comply,
Plains and mountains quaking.
Where His word says, "I forgive,"
Jesus' blood is spattered;
When He calls the dead to live,
Bonds of doom are shattered.

Therefore, in His holy word
Living and abiding,
Trust the promise you have heard,
God's own pow'r providing.
While you eat and play and rest,
Christ His seed is tending,
Spreading it as He knows best
Till our blessed ending.

420. Proper 5 (Series B)

The lessons for this service, if a Sunday after Trinity occurs during June 5-11, are Genesis 3:8-15, 2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1 and Mark 3:20-35. The tune is title IN DICH HAB ICH GEHOFFET, but it's not 1581 Nürnberg that several American hymnals pair with "In Thee, Lord, have I put my trust" but an alternate tune, with the remarkable credit line "15th. cent.; Augsburg, 1533; Z├╝rich, c.1552," that I cribbed from a German hymnal. I'll probably use the Nürnberg one with a new hymn at some point, just to balance things out. It may also be worth mentioning that I deleted some slurs from the melody for this hymn, changing its meter from 887 87 to 8888 8.

Seed of the woman, Lord of all,
First gospel Promise at man's fall,
You put on manhood, in our stead
To die, and rising from the dead,
With bruised heel crushed the serpent's head.

Lord, help us, knowing this is true,
Accordingly to speak and do;
That in Your grace we may abound
And with Your risen saints be found
Where thankful praises will resound.

Meanwhile, Lord, let us not lose heart,
Though morbid be our outward part;
For inwardly each day renewed,
Your unseen blessings we have viewed,
And greater glory will exude.

So be this earthly tent thrown down,
We have with You a home, a crown,
Reserved for us in unseen lands:
A temple, made without men's hands,
That to the end of ages stands.

Now keep us, Savior glorified;
Let nothing us from You divide!
To this rich promise let us cling,
That having bound our former king,
Ourselves as spoils to God You bring.

Friday, November 4, 2022

419. Proper 4 (Series B)

The lessons for this service, if a Sunday after Trinity occurs during May 29-June 4, are Deuteronomy 5:12-15, 2 Corinthians 4:5-12 and Mark 2:23-28 (optional 3:1-6). The tune is ZION KLAGT by Johann Hermann Schein (1623), sometimes erroneously attributed to Johann Crüger (1640), which Ev. Luth. Hymn-Book and The Lutheran Hymnal paired with the lament/consolation hymn "Zion mourns in fear and anguish." Considering its power, it's massively underutilized, I think.

Christians, for its vessels earthen
Think not lightly of God's word,
Though those trusted with its burden
As drink-off'rings may be poured.
For through them, into our night
God is pleased to shine His light,
Manifesting might and glory
While frail voices tell the story.

Was it not from the beginning,
When the gospel spread like flame?
Were not heathens called from sinning
By men scorned, of trifling fame?
Singed but not burnt up with strife,
They led men to share Christ's life:
Sore oppressed, yet not despairing,
His death in their body bearing.

Even now God's keys are turning
In imperfect, mortal hands;
Hearts their Savior's name are learning,
Keeping faith in faithless lands.
What is not God calls to be,
Living, moving wondrously:
Though death in their frame be lurking,
Wonders through them He is working.

418. Proper 3 (Series B)

The lessons for this service, in the rare event that a Sunday after Trinity occurs during May 24-28, are Hosea 2:14-20, Acts 2:14a skipping to 36-47, and Mark 2:18-22 (13-17 optional) – the same Old Testament and Gospel lessons as Series B's Epiphany 8. Also, much of the second lesson is the same as that for Series A's Easter 3. Not repeating myself becomes quite the dance. The tune is HERRE JESU KRIST by Ludvig M. Lindeman (1871), which at least LHy, TCH, TLH, CWALH and ELHy paired with "Lord Jesus Christ, my Savior blest." (I'm away from my hymnal collection today, so I haven't checked whether it's in ELW or CWH.)

Repentant, come
And be saved from
This crooked generation!
For Christ was tried,
By men denied,
Yea crucified,
Creating your salvation.

His baptism prize,
More than man's eyes
Or reason take its measure:
Its promise bold
The Lord has told
To young and old,
A world-embracing treasure.

Drink of its fount
On Christ's account,
Drowned in His blood and merit;
Then daily rise,
Pure in God's eyes,
To life made wise,
Anointed with the Spirit.

Yea, gladly meet
As one to eat
And drink what Jesus gives You:
Fruit of the tree
On Calvary—
Security
That God indeed forgives you.

And now must you
Ask what to do
That Israel's God may save you?
Through Christ His Son
All, all is done;
Tell everyone
What wondrous gifts He gave you!

417. Holy Trinity (Series B)

The lessons for this service are Isaiah 6:1-8, Acts 2:14a skipping to 23-36, and John 3:1-17. The tune is LASST UNS ALLE FRÖHLICH SEIN (a.k.a. DRESDEN) from a Dresden Gesangbuch of 1632. It is widely paired with the Christmas hymn "Let us all with gladsome voice."

"Holy, Holy, Holy be
God, the Lord of heaven!"
So His praise the One in Three
By His hosts is given.

He it is whose awful throne
Fills the sanctuary,
Round which seraphs, eyes cast down,
Train and triumph carry.

He it is whose altar's coals,
For our sin ignited,
Purify our unclean souls,
Heal our bodies blighted.

He it is whose only Son
Naught from Him can sever:
With the Spirit Three in One,
Blest and feared forever.

He it is who, full of love,
Entered human nature,
Suffered, died, to draw above
Many a helpless creaure.

By His grace we are reborn,
Blessed beyond deserving;
Let us then His name adorn,
Serve Him never swerving.

Glory, glory, glory be
To the Lord, the Father,
Son and Spirit, One in Three,
Three in One forever!

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

416. Pentecost (Series B)

The lessons for this service are Ezekiel 37:1-14, Acts 2:1-21 (naturally) and John 15:26-27 skipping to 16:4b-15. The tune is ST. AUGUSTINE by John Goss (1854), which the Lutheran Hymnary mated with "Jesus, my strength, my hope" and "Not what these hands have done." It's an unusual hymn-tune, beginning in a major key and ending in the relative minor; it also has something of a "Slavonic Dance"/fiddle tune/folk song thing going on.

O Holy Spirit, come
Breathe life into our bones!
From Israel to heathendom,
In every heart that groans,
In every conscience soiled,
In weakness and disease,
Let Satan's treasure be despoiled
And death brought to its knees!

Come, Helper, that the truth
We, having heard, believe;
Choose us, that Jesus we may choose
And to His bosom cleave.
Convict the world of sin,
Though it has Christ denied;
For righteousness and judgment win
Those He has justified.

Convict us of the Lord,
Him who the captive saves,
Whose living and life-giving word
Will call us from our graves.
Whate'er command He gives,
You Spirit, will perform,
Till each who by His promise lives
The gates of heaven storm.