Sunday, January 22, 2023

500. An Upside-Down 'Stabat Mater'

Remember my upside-down Dies irae? Well, I decided to make the last addition to Bountiful Hymns a similar "upside-down" recasting of the Stabat mater, a medieval hymn looking at Jesus' passion through the point of view of the Virgin Mary, which has some good points but, I think, pulls focus off Christ's atoning work. I also suspect it of having an influence on the later development of Catholic spirituality in ways that double-underline my previous concern. In the book I'm using the modifier "anti-" instead of "upside-down," but less in the sense of "opposed to" than "a suggested substitute." The author of the original Stabat apparently took his departure from Simeon's prophecy in Luke 2:35, but I take mine from 1 Timothy 2:5-6. Unlike the Dies parody, this one isn't a stanza-by-stanza, point-by-point recasting of the original, but more a case of starting over at the point where I think it went wrong and taking it from there. I also couldn't resist taking a snide poke at "Were you there when they crucified my Lord." The tune, appropriately, is the same STABAT MATER that I used for this hymn.

Jesus, though the crowd stood scorning,
Mary, John and others mourning,
Fought the fight, and He alone.

Samson of the world's salvation,
He in bonds and degradation
Wide His arms reached to atone.

Naked, scourged, distended, bleeding,
For His slayers' pardon pleading,
Powerless He might have seemed.

Yet for sacrifice He suffered;
More than mankind owed, He offered;
Fallen Adam raised, redeemed.

Divination, necromancy,
Pious vapor, wish, and fancy
Take us not to where He died.

No, we did not see Him dying,
All our trembling naught supplying
That His blood does not provide.

Nor may we, pierced through our spirit,
Claim thereby the slightest merit,
Lest the gift of Christ be lost.

Not the sympathetic mother,
Nor the grief of any other,
Adds a straw's worth to the cross.

If you must the scene envision,
See instead the crowd's derision,
Desperation, yea, despair.

Paint yourself not loving, grieving,
Understanding or believing,
But the need that puts you there.

Look upon what Christ is doing,
Adam's walk with God renewing,
His heel on the serpent's head.

He dies, Eve's mistake reversing;
Lives again, new life dispersing,
Even unto those long dead.

To a gracious God He leads us;
Heav'nly food on earth He feeds us;
Dresses us in garments pure.

His baptism anew begins us;
His word's lively action wins us
Both to follow and endure.

He the keys of heaven gives us
And through chosen men forgives us,
Lest we falter on the way.

He breathes out on us His Spirit,
Guiding us till we inherit
Heaven's kingdom on that Day.

When your conscience you chastises,
God not merely sympathizes;
For Christ's sake He calls You clean.

Let no fear of condemnation
Hide from you this consolation,
Glowing through that Passion scene.

Seek no other mediator;
Let Christ be the sole translator
At God's throne of your desires.

Honor to none other render;
Christ remains the lone Contender
That the hard-pressed heart requires.

P.S.: To be frank, I don't seriosuly expect anyone to sing this. But I think folks could profit from it as a devotion, especially alongside the original Stabat. And to be even more frank, the idea to write this came about because I needed a hymn to fill a blank page in the book, required by another hymn that otherwise would have had a page-turn in it.

499. Proper 29 (Series C)

Egads, what a milestone! This is not only the final installment of my exhausting three-year-lectionary hymn project, but also (counting "Hymn 0" as this blog numbers them) my 500th original hymn. The lessons for this Sunday (Nov. 20-26) are Malachi 3:13-18, Colossians 1:13-20 and Luke 23:27-43. The tune is LAMMAS by Arthur H. Brown (1889), which LHy and ELHy employ for a perversely tedious, 10-stanza version of "Draw nigh and take the body of the Lord" (which, I think, goes down much easier in five four-line stanzas, thanks). However, with a briefer hymn in view, I thought it might make a nice period at the end of this sequence of hymns.

Jesus, alas! What evil days are nigh!
Such was the green wood; how much more the dry!

When You were seen, men spurned You to Your face;
Piercing the hand that holds the door of grace.

Still more they kick as mule against the goad,
Breaking Your yoke, they slip Your doctrine's load.

Topple the mountains; let the oceans churn;
Darken the skies, that men may fear and turn.

Come, while yet faith endures upon the earth;
Come! All creation cries in throes of birth.

Your kingdom come, if be Your will, O Christ,
That we may swiftly enter Paradise!

NOTE: There is still much work to be done on the book-in-progress, Bountiful Hymns, whose bounty will mostly pertain to this series of liturgical hymns. I have a Scripture index in progress, keyed to all three books of my original hymns; I have at least one more hymn in mind to add to the current collection; and of course, some proofing and publishing work to do. And I already have another project or two waiting in the wings. But neither of them is as intensive as this has been; and boy, do I look forward to going back to reading books and doing other normal "me-time" things!

498. Proper 28 (Series C)

The lessons for this Sunday (Nov. 13-19) are Malachi 4:1-6, 2 Thessalonians 3:6-13 (optional 1-5) and Luke 21:5-28 (optional 29-36). The tune is FREUT EUCH, IHR LIEBEN CHRISTEN ALL by Bartholomäus Gesius (1605), not to be confused with the 1587 tune FREUT EUCH, IHR LIEBEN by Leonhard Schröter (cf. "Hail to the Lord's Anointed" in eight hymnals I know of and "Preserve your Word O Savior" in two), nor yet with FREUET EUCH, IHR CHRISTEN by Andreas Hammerschmidt ("O rejoice, ye Christians loudly" in several books). Keeping chorales straight is a professional-grade job, see. This tune, which anglophone Lutheranism doesn't seem to know about, was paired in the SELK hymnal with a hymn whose first line is the same as its title.

Behold, the Day will come with pow'r:
As fire a stubbled field may scour,
The proud like chaff it will devour,
And those who sin from root to flow'r.

Yet to the godly, comfort springs:
The Sun, with healing in His wings,
Strength to tread down the devil brings
And to withstand temptation's slings.

A more than Moses is at hand,
Who bore for us the Law's demand
And, marked by sacrificial brand,
Precedes us to our fatherland.

Fear not when wars and plagues arise,
Which mock the end with false disguise;
But when Christ shakes the earth and skies,
Lift up your heads with hopeful eyes.

When Christ with glory will appear,
Joy will transform your every tear.
Take heart, therefore, with pious fear,
For your deliverance is near.

Saturday, January 21, 2023

497. Proper 27 (Series C)

The lessons for this Sunday (Nov. 6-12) are Exodus 3:1-15, 2 Thessalonians 2:1-8 skipping to 13-17 and Luke 20:27-40. The tune is MARBURG, credited to Johann Crüger by way of adaptation by L. Herman Ilse (1910), which ELHB paired with "When I survey the wondrous cross." In my tune index I have a snippy note (from myself) saying, "One wonders how much credit Ilse gets for the effectiveness of this melody. Probably about as much credit as Lowell Mason deserves for HAMBURG. This is the better tune."

Brethren, stand firm, though dark the time;
Be not soon shaken in your mind,
Knowing the Day will be constrained
Till Satan's fury comes unchained.

His lawlessness already works
Even within the holy church;
Yet Christ restrains him till that Day
When Satan's works are swept away.

With wondrous signs and works of pow'r
He will dupe many in this hour;
A strong delusion God will send
On them who wickedness befriend.

But you, rejoice that God so chose
You to endure the world's last throes,
That you His glory may display
As you withstand the evil day.

For you by grace are His elect,
Whom by the truth He will perfect.
Hold fast the doctrine you received,
Whereby in Christ you have believed.

Now you, till earth's last tomb is breached,
Take through His written word or preached
An everlasting hope and peace,
Built to withstand till struggles cease.

496. Proper 26 (Series C)

The lessons for this Sunday (Oct. 30-Nov. 5) are Isaiah 1:10-18, 2 Thessalonians 1:1-5 skipping to 11-12 (optional 6-10) and Luke 19:1-10, the story of Zacchaeus, which I also covered in this children's hymn. The tune is WITTENBERG by L. Herman Ilse (1910), which ELHB paired with "I do not come because my soul." All right, it's not a great chorale, but it's better than most of the alternatives in the same meter – the one truly great tune of which, KOMMT HER ZU MIR, just seemed to heavy for the purpose.

Zacchaeus in the sycamore
Climbed up as Jesus passed before,
To see Him o'er the crowd.
When Christ looked up and bade him, "Come,
For I would sojourn in your home,"
The town complained aloud.

"He has become a sinner's Guest,"
The people cried, at which protest
Zacchaeus told the Lord:
"Half will I give unto the poor,
And if I've pilfered aught before,
I'll pay it back fourfold."

Then Christ, who came to seek and save
The lost, unto Zacchaeus gave
The hand of fellowship:
For in Him had salvation come,
Against whose peace the law is dumb,
Hell of its spoils is stripped.

When I am small, through my own fault,
Let not my enemy exult;
O Lord, my eyes lift up.
Let me Your smiling visage see;
In grace and mercy, summon me
With You, on You to sup.

Forgive my sins, and prove still more
Your love, that gladly I'd restore
Whate'er by graft I gain.
Call me at last to be Your guest
On high, where feasting of the best,
The least with You shall reign.

495. Proper 25 (Series C)

The lessons for this Sunday (Oct. 23-29) are Genesis 4:1-15, 2 Timothy 4:6-18 (skipping verses 9-15) and Luke 18:9-17, part of which is the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector, about which I previously wrote this hymn. The tune is LYONS, adapted from J. Michael Haydn (†1806), Papa Joseph's brother; it has seen use in anglophone Lutheranism alongside the hymns "Delay not, delay not, O sinner, draw near," "O worship the King, all-glorious above" and "Ye servants of God, your Master proclaim." It's also the tune that, along with HANOVER, makes "Identify this tune within five notes" a trick question on your Hymnology 101 drop-the-needle test.

Have mercy on me, the sinner, O God!
Look not on my works but on Jesus' blood.
I gaze not on heaven with self-righteous eye,
But humbly repenting, for grace I apply.

I dare not my guilt to others' compare,
Nor on any good in me base my prayer.
Were I on my fasting or tithes to depend,
My pretense to goodness itself would offend.

But lo, I will plead no virtues or charms,
But cast me on You, a babe in Your arms:
Though little I've served You in deed or in thought,
Permit me to enter the kindgom of God!

And if I now stand unstained in Your eyes,
What doubt dare I hold o'er them You baptize?
If children more fondly than all You would bless,
I'll count not on what I but You, Lord, profess.

Count me, then, with those You hold on Your knee!
Lay hands on my mind; form me inwardly.
Teach me from a free heart Your footsteps to trace,
A sinner by nature, a saint by Your grace.

Friday, January 20, 2023

494. Proper 24 (Series C)

The lessons for this Sunday (Oct. 16-22) are Genesis 32:22-30, 2 Timothy 3:14-4:5 and Luke 18:1-8. The Old Testament lesson, Jacob wrestling with God, is one I've already built a hymn around. The tune is KLEINIG, which I wrote in 2018 for a hymn by John Kleinig (cf. Edifying Hymns). Which, by the way, was reprinted with Dr. Kleinig's permission, along with another hymn of his, both of which were featured in his Concordia Commentary on Hebrews.

Spirit, Who breathed Holy Scripture for teaching,
By it make us wise, yea, fully assured,
Unto salvation through faith in its preaching,
Which Jesus the Word incarnate secured.

By it reprove and correct our behavior;
Instruct us, equip us in righteousness,
Till the appearing of our Judge and Savior,
When living and dead His name shall confess.

Let it be preached in defiance of season;
Convict and rebuke; with patience exhort.
When ears are tuned to men's feelings or reason,
Watch over Your word; uphold us, dear Lord!

493. Proper 23 (Series C)

The lessons for this Sunday (Oct. 9-15) are Ruth 1:1-19a, 2 Timothy 2:1-13 and Luke 17:11-19. I previously wrote a hymn (kind of) about this Gospel lesson. The tune is SO FÜHRST DU DOCH, a.k.a. HOME, from J.G. Stötzel's Choralbuch (Stuttgart, 1744), which CSB and ALH paired with "O blessed home, that cheerfully receiveth." I take it to be an alternate tune to O SELIG HAUS ("O happy home"), which I frankly don't care for. So there.

O child of God, in Jesus' grace be strengthened,
And in the precepts faithful men have taught;
However toil or hardship may be lengthened,
Endure it, as a gallant soldier ought.
Remember Christ, the Seed of David, risen,
According to the Scriptures, from the dead;
Thus, whether hated, punished or imprisoned,
Take courage from what glory lies ahead.

This is a faithful saying, worth repeating:
If we have died with Christ, so shall we live;
If we endure this fiery trial, though fleeting,
A crown, a throne forever will He give.
Deny Him not, lest He as well deny you;
Yet even if you stumble, He is true.
His word will not be chained; it will supply you
All that you need to see the battle through.

Thursday, January 19, 2023

492. Proper 22 (Series C)

The lessons for this Sunday (Oct. 2-8) are Habakkuk 1:1-4 and 2:1-4, 2 Timothy 1:1-14 and Luke 17:1-10. I previously touched on part of the Gospel lesson in this hymn, and on verses 5ff here. The tune is a still-to-be-written original melody, possibly called HABAKKUK; I'll update you when it exists.

How long will I cry, "Violence!"
And You reply with silence?
Lord, why will You not save?
How long will I see trouble,
Strife and contention double,
And justice be depraved?
I'll stand my watch, expecting
The grace for which I grope.
Oh, come, my doubts correcting;
O Lord, fulfill my hope!

Lord, though Your hand may chasten,
Yet may the vision hasten
That You to me commend!
Your word has not kept quiet;
Nor would I dare deny it,
On which all things depend.
Come down, O Savior, humble
The pow'rs of sin and death,
That though the prideful stumble,
The just shall live by faith.

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

491. Proper 21 (Series C)

The lessons for this Sunday (Sept. 25-Oct. 1) are Amos 6:1-7, either 1 Timothy 3:1-13 or 6:6-19, and Luke 16:19-31. The tune is WER WEISS, WIE NAHE by Johann D. Meyer (1692), adapted and often attributed to Christian Möck (†1818), a.k.a. ICH ARMER MENSCH, a.k.a. RUDOLSTADT, which (give or take some minor alterations) appears in various anglophone Lutheran hymnals with "And can it be, that I should gain," "Give me, O Lord, a spirit lowly," "I come, O Savior, to Thy table," "Lord Jesus Christ, our Lord most dear," "O would, my God, that I could praise Thee," "Who knows how near my end may be" and, more often, its alternate translation, "Who knows when death may overtake me," and also quite often, "When sinners see their lost condition." Not to be confused with the tune by the same name that I used here.

Is any rich? Let him consider
The story our Redeemer tells
Of him who, bathed in torment bitter,
Looked up across the gulf of hell:
"My son, remember," Abra'am said,
"You your reward already had."

"Let Lazarus with moistened finger,"
He begged, "come down, my tongue to cool;
Or warn my kin in life who linger."
But Abra'am told the wretched fool:
"If they hear not the Scriptures read,
No more will they the risen dead."

Beware, therefore, the love of riches,
From which all kinds of evil spring;
For him whom wealth's allure bewitches
It may to snares and error bring.
Lest in disgrace and doom you drown,
Pursue a more enduring crown.

Pursue whate'er is just and godly,
With faith, love, patience, gentleness;
The good fight wage, resisting bodily;
Receive the life that you confess:
For life is God's alone to give,
Through Christ, who died that you may live.

You who have much, be not conceited;
For wealth can fail or fly away.
Instead, trust God, who richly treated
To us all that we have today.
Rich in good works, do you prepare
All gifts, yea, life itself, to share.

Is any poor? Be not dejected:
Who knows what good things lie ahead!
Your lot with Jesus' is complected,1
Who had no place to lay His head.
Keep faith with Him, and lay in store
A home enduring evermore.

1intertwined, embraced

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

490. Proper 20 (Series C)

The lessons for this Sunday (Sept. 18-24) are Amos 8:4-7, 1 Timothy 2:1-15 and Luke 16:1-15. I previously wrote a hymn on this Gospel, the parable of the unrighteous steward. The tune is COMPLAINER, again from William Walker's Southern Harmony (1835), which LBW paired with "Jerusalem the golden." The arrangement is mine, so if you find voice leading errors in it, please correct me gently.

Let us make intercessions
For all men and give thanks,
For those in high professions,
Called to the foremost ranks:
That we may live protected
With dignity and peace,
To God and man subjected,
And virtue may increase.

For where mankind's behavior
From evil is deterred,
The name of Christ our Savior
Is also widely heard;
And God would that all nations
The saving truth believed,
Built on the firm foundation
The cross of Christ achieved.

Here is justification:
That Jesus, in due time,
For sin made expiation
And suffered for all crime;
That now, to heav'n ascended,
He speaks before the Throne,
Where we are so defended,
God claims us as His own.

Great is God's lovingkindness:
He wills us to receive
The word that pierces blindness,
Moves dead hearts to believe;
To grasp the freely given,
The dearly bought and paid.
All this we owe to heaven,
And there our hope is stayed.

489. Proper 19 (Series C)

The lessons for this Sunday (Sept. 11-17) are Ezekiel 34:11-24, 1 Timothy 1:12-17 (optional 5-11) and Luke 15:1-10. The tune is SIEH, HIER BIN ICH from Geistreiches Gesangbuch (Darmstadt, 1698). In English-speaking Lutheran circles, it has paired mainly with "Jesus came, the heavens adoring," but also in a smattering of books with "Gracious Savior, gentle Shepherd," "Here behold me, as I cast me," "In His Temple now behold Him," "Souls in heathen darkness lying," "Speed Thy servants, Savior, speed them," "To the name of our salvation" and "Word Supreme, before creation."

Shepherd, gather us and lead us;
Seek us, scattered in the storm.
In abundant pastures feed us;
Give us shelter, safe and warm.
Judge with equity between us;
Bind the broken, heal the torn.

As for you, O flock, contently
Eat and drink what He will give,
With the weaker bearing gently;
Peaceably together live.
To the Shepherd hark intently,
Whose provision you receive.

Bear in mind that He is seeking
Sinners to be turned and saved,
Words of mercy sending, speaking
To the scornful and depraved.
Be not proud, this thought awaking:
Even so your life He craved.

Shepherd, Son of David, guide us
On this dark and cloudy day.
In Your loving bosom hide us,
Leaving us no more a prey;
And at last a home provide us
That will never pass away.

Monday, January 16, 2023

488. Proper 18 (Series C)

The lessons for this Sunday (Sept. 4-10) are Deuteronomy 30:15-20, Philemon 1-21 and Luke 14:25-35. The tune is NACH EINER PRÜFUNG by Johann Gottfried Schicht (1819), which the Australian LH used for both "Baptized into Thy name most holy" and "What shall I give to God, my Savior."

"Except you hate your father, mother,"
Christ told the crowd that walked behind,
"Yea, wife and children, sister, brother,
And be of life itself resigned,
You dare not My disciple be;
Such is the cost to follow Me."

Christ spoke this melancholy saying
That we might first bethink the cost,
Lest when the cross on us is weighing
We sorely mourn what we have lost.
Risk, if you dare, your flesh and blood;
But only One can be your God.

If this be food for troubled thinking,
Consider what Philemon gained:
A slave, in brotherhood now linking,
By bonds of faithful love constrained.
You, too, with saints from far and near,
Are brothers true and sisters dear.

Let tyrant prate and pirate plunder;
The loss of all things might we bear:
Christ's is the yoke we labor under,
And well He knows our load of care.
He will repay ten-thousandfold
Our present tears with bliss untold.

487. Proper 17 (Series C)

The lessons for this Sunday (Aug. 28-Sept. 3) are Proverbs 25:2-10, Hebrews 13:1-17 and Luke 14:1-14. The tune is KOMMT HER, DES KÖNIGS AUFGEBOT by Heinrich Sch├╝tz (1661), which the SELK hymnal paired with a hymn beginning with the same words. This might be a deal-breaker for congregations that don't take well to learning new tunes, but then maybe it'll make a nice solo or choir piece and, after all, you can just read the text. But personally, I think learning this tune might be an exciting musical adventure. Except for one tiny rhythmic tweak in the alto line, the setting is also Schütz's.

Jesus, to You all laud is due,
For though You knew heav'nly fame,
You stooped below, mercy to show
And undergo death and shame.
Grant, Lord, that we like You may be,
Happy to see scant acclaim;
Freshen our nerve others to serve
And never swerve from the aim
To tend the flame of Your name.

After You bled, pierced in our stead,
Christ, from the dead You arose.
Seated on high, our cause You ply,
Toward us God's eye to dispose.
Fit us to share Your glory there,
Bidding us wear spotless clothes.
Soon draw us forth as heav'n and earth
Cry out in birth's dreadful throes,
Till life o'erthrows all our woes.

Sunday, January 15, 2023

486. Proper 16 (Series C)

Yeah, I decided after all that I would split up the Hebrews 11 hymn I wrote back here and spread it across two pages for Propers 14 (Aug. 7-13) and 15 (Aug. 14-20), since Hebrews 11:1-12:3 is divided between the Epistle lessons for those two Sundays. Moving on, the lessons for this Sunday (Aug. 21-27) are Isaiah 66:18-23, Hebrews 12:4-24 (25-29 optional) and Luke 13:22-30. The tune is HERR GOTT, NUN SCHLEUSS DEN HIMMEL AUF, from a Weissenfels hymnal of 1714, which I actually cribbed from the critical aparatus of an Urtext edition of J.S. Bach's Orgelbüchlein, figured-bass transcription and all (albeit tranposed down a full-step). That's nothin'; I was initially planning on using a tune that I would have had to transpose down a perfect fourth, until I decided that I hated the piece after all and went with this very impressive number instead.

The Lord's reproof do not despise,
Nor, children, be downhearted!
Those who are precious in His eyes
His chast'ning rod has started.
Though it may pain you,
It is to train you:
For so a father deals with sons.
If men on earth have checked us,
Shall heaven not correct us?

No chast'ning seems to bring good cheer,
When pain we now are feeling;
But later, peaceful gifts appear,
A righteous fruit revealing.
With brethren dealing,
Work for their healing,
Pursuing peace and holiness;
With caring heart and humble,
Watch lest your neighbor stumble.

For you have come not unto wrath,
Its fire and fury dreading,
But onto Jesus' narrow path,
To His new cosmos heading:
The heav'nly Zion,
Whose countless scions
Are sprinkled free of ev'ry stain;
Where Christ, His blood supplying,
The saints is justifying.

Saturday, January 14, 2023

485. Proper 13 (Series C)

The lessons for this Sunday (July 31-Aug. 6) are Ecclesiastes 1:2 skipping to 12-14 skipping to 2:18-26 (sheesh), Colossians 3:1-11 and Luke 12:13-21. The tune is AUS DER TIEFE (a.k.a. HEINLEIN), attributed to Martin Herbst, from a Nürnberg Gesangbuch of 1676. CSB paired it with "God of mercy! God of grace," and "Jesus, Savior, Son of God," while ELHB used it for "Sinners, turn; why will ye die" and TLH with "Thou who roll'st the year around."

Vanity of vanities!
Though one works or takes his ease,
Death his takings will rescind;
All is striving after wind.

As the fool, replete with grain,
Planned his treasure-house in vain,
So is he who wealth desires
When the Lord his soul requires.

Toil no more, vain things to hoard!
Lay up, rather, with the Lord
Precious, everlasting, true
Riches none can take from you.

Bathed in Christ, receive His name;
Bear His Spirit's cleansing flame;
Grow the comfort that you need
From His gospel's lively seed.

Eat of Christ, who died for sin;
Drink, that He may flow within.
Die with Him and live anew,
By the life He lives in you.

Christ, on whom the wise soul leans,
Pledges meaning to His means.
Eat and drink; yea, toil or sleep,
You, His treasure, He will keep.

484. Proper 12 (Series C)

The lessons for this Sunday (July 24-30) are Genesis 18:20-33 (optional 17-19), Colossians 2:6-15 (optional 16-19) and Luke 11:1-13. The tune is LOBE DEN HERREN, O MEINE SEELE from Seelenharfe (Onolzbach, 1665), which several hymnals in English-speaking Lutheranism pair with "Praise the Almighty, my soul, adore Him." I'm departing from the original hymn's tendency to end each stanza with a double Hallelujah.

Your name be hallowed, our heav'nly Father;
Your kingdom come; Your will be done!
Our daily bread let us daily gather;
Our sins forgive in Christ, Your Son,
As we forgive our neighbor's debts!
Snare us not in temptation's nets,
But save us from the evil one!

When the disciples asked Jesus, saying,
"Teach us, dear Master, how to pray,"
He gave a model for godly praying,
Even the very words to say.
With them we frame the fitting praise
Of Him who Father's love displays,
Body and soul, day after day.

Thus we indeed praise our Father glorious,
Whose is the kingdom and the pow'r;
Yet when our journey becomes laborious,
His prayer still more sustains that hour.
Whether our need touch flesh or soul,
He hears and answers for the whole,
From hunger pang to Satan's glow'r.

Would any friend be denied a favor,
Having persisted in his prayer?
Tight-fisted man from his 'no' might waver;
Still more the Lord who joins our care.
Ask, seek, and knock and so receive,
Find and see opened; yea, believe
All that becomes His child and heir!

Finally, brethren in Christ, not merely
For your own worries, wants and needs,
But for each other both pray sincerely,
And pardon others' debts and deeds.
Who knows, but God might counsel take,
Their load to lighten for your sake,
Whose yea or nay swiftly proceeds!

483. Proper 11 (Series C)

The lessons for this Sunday (July 17-23) are Genesis 18:1-10a (optional 10b-14), Colossians 1:21-29 and Luke 10:38-42. The tune is NUN PREISET ALLE by Matthäus Apelles von Löwenstern (1645), which TLH, Australian LH and CWALH paired with "Now let all loudly (sing praise)."

You are too good, Lord;
Your promise is too good!
Pardon our laughter,
Not trusting as we should.
Your mystery, long ages hidden,
Now is revealed to a world doubt-ridden,
Freely to grasp Your salvation bidden.

Who can believe, Lord,
That Christ the grave has breached,
And life eternal
Springs up where He is preached?
How shall Your word such riches win us,
Nor devil, world nor our flesh chagrin us,
Have we not Jesus Himself within us?

Our hope of glory
Is Christ in us, O Lord,
And ourselves in Him,
Striving for that reward
When all the dead are resurrected
And, with the living to life elected,
Christ will present them, in Him perfected.

Hallow our laughter,
That we believe with joy,
Hearts overflowing
With mirth naught can destroy.
Swathe us in Christ, the saints are pleading:
Fill us with Christ, who on Him are feeding,
Till we see Christ, all delight exceeding.

482. Proper 10 (Series C)

The lessons for this Sunday (July 10-16) are Leviticus 19:9-18 (optional 18:1-5), Colossians 1:1-14 (the start of a four-week stretch in that Epistle) and Luke 10:25-37, the parable of the Good Samaritan, on which I previously wrote this hymn. The tune is JEG VIL MIG HERREN LOVE (a.k.a. COPENHAGEN, a.k.a. O LIVING BREAD) from Hartnack O.K. Zinck's Koralbog (1801), which various anglophone Lutheran hymnals have paired with the hymns "I pray Thee, dear Lord Jesus" (most frequently), as well as "If God Himself be for me," "Let me be Thine forever," "O living bread from heaven," "O Lord, how shall I meet Thee," "Rejoice, rejoice ye Christians," "Stand up!—stand up for Jesus," and "The day is fast declining." Despite all that, it really isn't utilized nearly as much as it deserves.

Christ, who would see me loving
My neighbor as myself,
Turn me to see You proving
Yourself my Life and Help.
When I was feeble, dying
In unbelief and sin,
Your priceless balm applying,
You stooped my soul to win.

Henceforth, Lord, keep me near You,
Cleansed daily by Your blood,
That I may love and fear You
And do my neighbor good.
Keep far from me talebearing,
Inequity and hate,
So that, Your image wearing,
I may on others wait.

Friday, January 13, 2023

481. Proper 9 (Series C)

The lessons for this Sunday (July 3-9) are Isaiah 66:10-14, Galatians 6:1-18 (skipping 11-13) and Luke 10:1-20. The tune is WE WEISS, WIE NAHE – not the one you're probably thinking of, by Johann D. Meyer (1692), but the other one, a.k.a. ROTHENBURG, whose credit line references G. Österreicher (1623), F.V. Buttstedt (1774) and a Christliche Gesänge out of Elberfeld (1805). The Australian LH pairs it with "Who knows how soon life may be ending." The repeat in the penultimate line of each stanza is an artifact of the tune's basic structure, going back to its earliest uses. The arrangement is cribbed from a 1910 German hymnal.

Rejoice with Zion, all who love her;
Be glad with her for whom you mourn.
Feed unto satisfaction of her;
Be comforted, you long forlorn.
Drink in, drink in her fountains of delight,
Her glory shining bounteous bright.

Lo, God will send peace like a river,
The nations' glory as a stream:
Full nourishment will He deliver
Till on her breast you safely dream.
Like babes, like babes whose mother comforts them,
God will console Jerusalem.

When Christ His saving pow'r exhibits,
Your hearts shall therefore burst with song.
The foe, whose wiles His word inhibits,
Like lightning shall be hurled headlong.
Rejoice, rejoice, not that the demons fly,
But that your names are fixed on high.

Thursday, January 12, 2023

480. Proper 8 (Series C)

The lessons for this Sunday (June 26-July 2) are 1 Kings 19:9b-21, Galatians 5:1 skipping to 13-25 and Luke 9:51-62. These passages include the "fruit of the Spirit" passage in Galatians 5, on which I've already written a hymn, and an episode linking the careers of Elijah and Elisha, about each of whom I also wrote a hymn; the episode related in the first lesson is touched on in the Elijah hymn. And finally, the Gospel lesson features verses that every LCMS district president who preached in the seminary chapel while I was a student used to beat the seminarians over the head. I guess the fact that I put my hand to the plow and looked back just goes to their point. The tune is DISTRESS from William Walker's Southern Harmony (1835), which LBW paired with "O Christ, the healer, we have come" and "We place upon your table, Lord." The arrangement is my own.

For freedom you have been set free.
Yet, brethren, use that liberty
Not that your flesh may take pretext,
But that each soul may serve the next.

Your liberty was dearly bought;
E'en so make love your foremost thought,
Fulfilling in one word all law
And sheathing savage tooth and claw.

Behold, the flesh and Spirit war
Within your members, all the more
As in the Spirit you proceed
And from law's bondage you are freed.

The flesh's works arise, one sees,
From lusts and hates and jealousies,
From idols, dissipation, strife;
And those who do them forfeit life.

But those who are in Christ have died,
The flesh's passions crucified;
Upon the Spirit's way they fare,
And hundredfold His fruits they bear:

Love, joy, peace, patience they display;
Kind, giving, faithful is their way;
In meekness, self-controlled they go,
Against which things there is no law.

Such are those who with Jesus walk,
Therefore quail not, look back nor balk;
Go on the strength the Spirit gives,
And follow Him who ever lives.

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

479. Proper 7 (Series C)

The lessons for this Sunday (June 19-25) are Isaiah 65:1-9, Galatians 3:23-4:7 and Luke 8:26-39. The tune is INTERCESSOR by C. Hubert H. Parry (†1918), which LBW paired with "O God, send heralds who will never falter." With this hymn I've used three of his tunes just in this three-year-lectionary hymn project; the wondrous discovery that his work is in the public domain has clearly gone to my head. I tried to touch on all three lessons in this hymn, but it's clearly weighted toward the Epistle.

O living God, though oft dead idols' luster
Outshines Your glory in the people's eyes,
Do not destroy the new wine in the cluster:
Have mercy! Let a faithful remnant rise!

O righteous God, whose law Your children guarded
Until redemption's hour had come of age,
Let not the outpoured blood go unregarded
Of Him You sent all justice to assuage.

The vintage of Your wrath indeed He trampled,
But also drank until the cup was dry.
Clothe us in Him, whose righteousness is ample,
Till all the baptized "Abba, Father!" cry.

Now we are freed from elemental powers:
No longer slaves, O Lord, but sons and heirs.
Now planted in Your promises, there flowers
A lively vine that Jesus' rootstock shares.

Feed us through Him a fear that will not flee You;
A love that jealousy will not make sour;
A faith that thrives, though but in hope we see You,
Till fruitfully we meet the harvest hour.

Monday, January 9, 2023

478. Proper 6 (Series C)

The lessons for this Sunday after Trinity (June 12-18) are 2 Samuel 11:26-12:14 (skipping 12:11-12), Galatians 2:15-21 skipping to 3:10-14 and Luke 7:36-8:3. The tune is DIE SONN HAT SICH (MIT IHREM GLANZ GEWENDET) by Guillaume Franc (1542), which the SELK hymnal paired with the hymn "Gott rufet noch. Sollt ich nicht endlich hören." I saw an "Alleluia" in the marble, despite its Dorian-mode solemnity, so I decided this would a good spot for it.

From David's sin concerning poor Uriah
To hers whom Simon scorned as a pariah,
Lord, You have been the God who pardons much:
Alleluia! The God who pardons much.

Could we but feel the weight that You have lifted
When for our sake You, Christ, were crushed and sifted,
We, too, Your feet would kiss and bathe with tears:
Alleluia! Would kiss and bathe with tears.

Open our eyes to see what You have given,
Our hearts to know how much we are forgiven,
Our lips and hands with fitting proofs of love:
Alleluia! With fitting proofs of love.

Keep far from us false virtue, haughty sneering;
Yet from despair lift us with mercies cheering.
By word and sign, impart to us Your peace:
Alleluia! Impart to us Your peace.

Such love, O Lord, You from our youth have shown us,
That at life's ebb You hardly will disown us.
Life's heirs through faith let us forever be:
Alleluia! Let us forever be.

477. Proper 5 (Series C)

The lessons for this Sunday after Trinity (June 5-11) are 1 Kings 17:17-24, Galatians 1:11-24 and Luke 7:11-17, on which I previously wrote this hymn. The tune is KJÆRLIGHED ER LYSETS KILDE by Ludvig M. Lindeman (†1887), which LHy paired with "Conquering Prince and King of glory," "Death in all this world prevaileth" and "Love, the fount of light from heaven," joined in the last case by The Concordia Hymnal.

Death has no dominion o'er You,
Christ, our ris'n, immortal Head!
Mournful dirges cease before You,
Who restored the widow's dead.
Your touch cleanses imperfection;
Your Word puts Your will to action,
Even that the dead should live:
Such hope, Lord, to us now give!

Fear seized all who saw this wonder;
Word about You spread abroad:
Bonds of death were burst asunder
Through the presence of our God!
Let Your touch still cleanse our sickness;
Let Your word still move with quickness,
Calling dead hearts to belief,
Lightening our restless grief.

Death has no dominion o'er us,
For in You our life is hid
Since You, slain and risen for us,
Of its shade our vale has rid.
In the sacraments You touch us;
Your words with conviction clutch us,
Knowing we may safely die
Since our Easter morn is nigh.

Sunday, January 8, 2023

476. Proper 4 (Series C)

The lessons for this Sunday after Trinity between May 29 and June 4 are selected verses from 1 Kings 8:22-43 (omitting 25-26 and 30-40), Galatians 1:1-12 (starting a six-week series of Epistle lessons from that book) and Luke 7:1-10. The tune is DER TAG BRICHT AN by Melchior Vulpius (1609), which the SELK hymnal paired with "Das walt Gott Vater und Gott Sohn," "Der Tag bricht an und zeiget sich" and "Wach auf, wach auf, 's ist hohe Zeit."

Lord Jesus, send Your word and heal:
That which You speak is strong and real.
It will suffice our heart's appeal
If but through means with us You deal.

One soldier had it right, to waive
A call from You to heal his slave.
He who command both took and gave
Knew Your mere word could heal and save.

Send but Your word, O Lord of hosts!
Its power is Your servants' boast,
Who, though they be the nethermost,
Yet with it wield the Holy Ghost.

You Christ, Yourself, are Word indeed:
Are God at work amid our need;
On which, as more than bread, we feed
And give back in the prayers we plead.

Around the world, where it is heard,
Forgive the sinner through Your word,
Whom in Your spotless garb You gird,
That we to fruitful toil be spurred.

Hear, Savior, our repentant plea:
Send forth Your word and set us free.
Speak, and from death itself we'll be
Raised up, Your face at last to see.

Saturday, January 7, 2023

475. Proper 3 (Series C)

The lessons for this Sunday after Trinity, if one occurs between May 24-28, are Genesis 50:15-21 (see also Proper 19 of Series A), Acts 2:14a skipping to 36-47 (same as Year B) and Luke 6:27-42 (optional 20-26), which, awkwardly enough, also encompasses or overlaps with the Gospel lessons for Epiphany 7 and 8 (Series C). The tune is FRÖHLICH SOLL MEIN HERZE by Johann Crüger (1653), the tune that pretty much all the anglophone Lutheran hymnbooks pair with Paul Gerhardt's Christmas hymn, "All my heart this night rejoices." You may judge at your pleasure whether the exceptions are really, at bottom, Lutheran. And while I don't normally steal tunes that are so solidly wedded to a particular hymn throughout English-speaking Lutheranism, I make this exception for two reasons: (1) It's by Johann Crüger, for sake's sake; and (2) Lovely though it is, I don't hear it being used much with all the other, more popular Christmas ditties to choose from. And given the richness of both the tune and Gerhardt's text, that's just sad. But it also means I can perhaps introduce it to many people as a new tune.

Freely give as you are given,
And forgive as you are
And would be forgiven.
Love your foes, your haters serving;
Nor from good deeds debar
Those deemed undeserving.

Who knows but when men mean evil,
God thereby would do good,
Even souls' retrieval?
Mercy therefore show each other:
When the test you have stood,
You may gain your brother.

If you give, returns expecting,
How is God glorified?
Rather, grace reflecting,
As you would by men be treated,
So treat them, whether tried
Or with friendship greeted.

Damn not, lest you see damnation;
Rather give and receive
Pardon with salvation.
Measure with abundant measure
As you hope and believe
Christ will share His treasure.

Judge not lest you be corrected,
Till the plank from your eye
Also be extracted.
Then, your neighbor's speck removing,
Both as one edify,
God's rich mercy proving.

474. Holy Trinity (Series C)

The lessons for this Sunday are Proverbs 8:1-4 skipping to 22-31, Acts 2:14a skipping to 22-36 (as also in Years A and B), and John 8:48-59. The tune is ICH WILL, SO LANG ICH LEBE by Heinrich Schütz (1628), which the SELK hymnal paired with "Komm her, mit Fleiss zu schauen," "Kommt, Kinder, lasst uns gehen" and “Von Gott will ich nicht lassen” (From God shall naught divide me). By the way, I knew long before I found a use for this tune that I was going to put the word "raised" under the melisma in it eighth phrase. Text-painting, don't-cha-know.

Rejoice, O holy nation:
He who was crucified
Was present at creation,
For this fate set aside.
He who the oceans' ways
Traced with almighty finger
Did not in Hades linger,
But unto life was raised:
Wherefore let Him be praised.

He shone beside the Father
In uncreated light,
Eternally together,
Rejoicing with delight.
A Craftsman without fault,
The mountains' roots He founded,
The waters' limits bounded,
Sea's depth to highest vault:
Wherefore His name exalt.

Both Abraham and David,
In spirit, saw His face
And how with ardor avid
He joined and served our race.
He was before all days;
In time all things completed;
At God's right hand is seated,
Where we, too, shall be raised:
Wherefore let Him be praised.

Thursday, January 5, 2023

473. Pentecost Day (Series C)

The lessons for this Sunday are Genesis 11:1-9, Acts 2:1-21 (as also in Years A and B), and John 14:23-31. The tune is CHRISTE, DU BEISTAND by Matthäus Apelles von Löwenstern (1644), which the SELK hymnal paired with "Christe, du Beistand deiner Kreuzgemeine" (Lord of our life and God of our salvation) and "Herr, unser Gott, lass nicht zuschanden werden" (O Lord, our Father, shall we be confounded).

Lord, who confused men's tongues at Babel's tower,
Send forth Your word in clarity and power:
Gather from every culture, clan and nation
Your congregation,
And speak salvation.

Father, have mercy, peace upon us breathing;
Send us the Helper, Jesus' goods bequeathing.
Help us both speak and hear the word, revealing
Your grace, appealing
For mankind's healing.

Break through the walls that brother part from brother;
Stir up our hearts to understand each other:
One faith, one Christ to all the world declaring,
One body sharing
With love unsparing.

472. Easter 7 (Series C)

The lessons for this Sunday are Acts 1:12-26, Revelation 22:1-6 skipping to 12-20 (optional 7-11) and John 17:20-26. The tune is IN DICH HAB ICH GEHOFFET (not to be confused with this tune), variously attributed to songbooks in Leipzig (1573), Augsburg and Nürnberg (1581) and paired with "In Thee, Lord, have I put my trust" in the 1925 Australian Lutheran Hymn-Book, ELHB, TLH, the 1973 Australian LH, LW, CW, ELHy and LSB, and with "O Jesus, Lord, to me most dear" in Aus. LH. There are several arrangements of it that variously cut out melismas and other features that make the rhythmic version the most interesting; I've gone with the rhythmic, in my own arrangement since everybody else's seems to be under copyright.

We pray, dear Lord, that we be one,
As You are, Father, with the Son:
All needless schisms quelling
In kindness true,
Let us in You
And You in us be dwelling.

Our actions as Your body guide,
That in our freedom You may hide,
Revealed in godly choices,
And as we pray
Your yea or nay
Accept with thankful voices.

Bind us as one in faithful love,
Lord, that Your glory from above
May be in us reflected,
That to Your name
We bring acclaim
Until we are perfected.

Come quickly, Bright and Morning Star!
Bid us ascend to where You are,
Where harm shall touch us never:
Then we as one
Before Your throne
Shall reign in light forever.

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

471. Easter 6 (Series C)

The lessons for this Sunday are Acts 16:9-15, Revelation 21:9-14 skipping to 21-27, and either John 16:23-33 or John 5:1-9. The tune could be any of two tunes titled WER NUR DEN LIEBEN GOTT (one more familiar than the other), or the equally well-known ICH STERBE TÄGLICH or WER WEISS, WIE NAHE, or either of several other reasonably good chorale melodies, but perhaps out of a mania for completeness, I'm going to use the third of three tunes titled O DASS ICH TAUSEND (having used the other two in Useful Hymns). Not to be confused with Kornelius Dretzel's 1731 tune or Johann B. König's 1738 one, each of which TLH set to a different cento of Johann Mentzer's "O that I had a thousand voices" (among other hymns and hymnals), this is the tune from Wagner's manuscript choralebook (Langenöls, 1742), which Australia's LH pairs with the same hymn and that ELHB pairs with "The abyss of many a former sin." I'm indebted to the Lutheran Church of Australia/New Zealand for permission to reprint their setting, a process that (this time around) cost me less than five minutes, from sending my email request to receiving their reply. I love those folks.

Oh, that the Lord would stir the waters
As oft-times at Bethesda's gate!
How many of His sons or daughters
For healing in the Spirit wait!
If only faith's once-planted seed
Would taste His word, its constant need!

Oh, that from dead works we might waken,
As once to Christ's baptismal bath,
While weak and helpless, we were taken,
Transferred to life from sin and wrath!
Oh, that repenting we might turn
And of His pardon gladly learn!

Oh, that God's law, like surgeon's lancet,
Our self-complacency would burst!
His gospel then might offer transit
To bathe in Jesus, as at first,
And fill with faithful joy a heart
From worldly pleasures set apart.

Oh, that His medicine now craving,
We might the Sacrament receive,
Which from our inborn sickness saving,
Feeds us that whereon we believe:
The Body pierced to heal our sin;
The Blood that cleanses us within!

Oh, that this wondrous gift would move us
To share the life we find therein!
God so abundantly has loved us
That He through us the world would win;
That, by the witness of His word,
All men be to His waters stirred.

470. Easter 5 (Series C)

The lessons for this Sunday are Acts 11:1-18, Revelation 21:1-7 and either John 16:12-22 or John 13:31-35. For what it's worth, I previously wrote a hymn on John 16:16-22. The tune is TICHFIELD by John Richardson (1853), which was in LHy, CSB and SBH, paired (in one book each) with "At the Lamb's high feast we sing," "Pleasant are Thy courts above," "Songs of thankfulness and praise" and "Thou, by heavenly hosts adored." I'm actually putting two different settings of the tune in the book – one above, the other below. Other than transposing one of them down a half-step, I can take no credit for them.

God in Christ is glorified:
Hail, all flesh, the risen Son!
Bid us, Lord, with You abide;
Bring us whither You have gone.
Dwell among us, charged with love,
That Your servants we may be
Now and evermore above,
Where Your glory we shall see.

Savior, You make all things new
And our dwelling place prepare.
Alpha and Omega, You
Fit as bride the city fair
Where God, with whom You are One,
Tabernacles with mankind.
In Your Person it is done;
Sin and death are left behind.

Dwell with us, Lord; grant that we
Likewise dwell with You for aye.
Dry our tears, that we may see
Grief and wailing pass away.
Fount of life, both Last and First,
Freely give us from Your store
All the good for which we thirst;
Be our God forevermore.