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.

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