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A Hymn As We Approach the End of the Church Year

October 19th, 2011
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As we approach the end of the Christian Church year, the lectionary turns our thoughts to the time of Christ’s blessed return. From Matthew Carver’s Hymnoglypt blog: Here is hymn #432 in Walther’s hymnal, “Die Zeit ist nunmehr nah” (P. Gerhardt, 1653), translated by J. Kelly, formerly appointed for Trinity XXVII (Matt. XV). I offer my own emendation, update, and recommended cento (about 3 minutes instead of 4 minutes). Schamelius (the first publisher) gave it the title: “Sweet Thoughts on the Entrance to Eternal Life at Christ’s Last Coming.” Here is the tune.

Tune: Auf meinen lieben Gott.

THE TIME is very near
When, Lord, You will be here;
The signs of which You’ve spoken
Your advent should betoken;
We’ve seen them oft fulfilling
In number beyond telling.

2. What shall I do then, Lord,
But rest upon Your Word,
The promise You have given
That You will come from heaven,
Me from the grave deliver
And from all woe forever?

3. O Jesus Christ, how fair
Will be my portion there!
The welcome You’ll address me,
Your glances, how they’ll bless me,
When I, the earth forsaking,
My flight to You am taking.

4. Oh, what will be the word
You’ll speak, my Shepherd Lord!
What will be then Your greeting,
Me and my brethren meeting?
Your members You will own us,
And near Yourself enthrone us.

(5) 7. I’ll see then and adore
Your body’s bruises sore,
Whereon our faith is founded—
The prints of nails that wounded
Your hands and feet be greeting,
Your gaze with rapture meeting.

(6) 8. O Lord, alone You know,
The joys so pure that flow
In life’s unfailing river
In paradise forever,
You can portray and show them:
By faith alone I know them.

(7) 9. What I’ve believed stands sure,
And shall remain secure;
My part that wealth surpasses
Which here the rich amasses;
All other wealth will wither,
My portion holds together.

(8) 11. You’ll say, “Come, taste and see,
O child beloved by Me,
Come, taste the gifts so precious
I and my Father gracious
Can give you without measure,
Come, bask in endless pleasure!”

(9) 16. How sad, O Lord, am I,
Till I shall see on high
You come in glory hither
To bring Your Church together;
Were You but now revealing
Yourself, my wish fulfilling!

(10) 17. The time is known to You;
This is my action due:
To be prepared for going,
And all things so be doing,
That every moment even
My heart may be in heaven.

(11) 18. This grant, Lord, and me bless,
That so Your truth and grace
May keep me ever waking,
Lest Your day, overtaking
Me unawares, affright me,
But may, O Lord, delight me.

Translation J. Kelly, alt. by M. Carver, 2011.


J. KELLY’S FULL TRANSLATION:

THE TIME is very near
When, Lord, Thou wilt be here
The signs whereof Thou’st spoken
Thine advent should betoken,
We’ve seen them oft fulfilling
In number beyond telling.
2. What shall I do then, Lord,
But rest upon Thy Word,
The promise Thou hast given
That Thou wilt come from heaven,
Me from the grave deliver
And from all woe forever?
3. Ah! Jesus Christ, how fair
Will be my portion there!
The welcome Thou’lt address me,
Thy glances, how they’ll bless me,
When I the earth forsaking,
My flight to You am taking.
4. Ah! what will be the word
Thou’lt speak, my Shepherd Lord!
What will be then Thy greeting,
Me and my brethren meeting?
Thy members Thou wilt own us,
And near Thyself enthrone us.
5. And in that blessed hour,
How shall I have the pow’r
Mine eyelids dry of keeping,
How tears of joy from weeping
Refrain, that flowing over
My cheeks, like floods would cover?
6. And what a beauteous light
Will from Thy face so bright
Beam on me, then in heaven,
when sight of Thee is given,
Thy goodness then me filling,
Joy will my breast be swelling.
7. I’ll see then and adore
Thy body bruisèd sore,
Whereon our faith is founded,
The prints of nails that wounded
Thy hands and feet be greeting,
Thy gaze with rapture meeting.
8. Thou, Lord, alone dost know,
The joys so pure that flow
In life’s unfailing river
In paradise forever,
Thou canst portray and show them:
By faith alone I know them.
9. What I’ve believed stands sure,
Remaineth aye secure;
My part the wealth surpasseth,
The richest here amasseth;
All other wealth decayeth,
My portion ever stayeth.
10. My God, my fairest Part!
How will my bounding heart
With joy be overflowing,
Praise evermore renewing,
When through the door of heaven
By Thee is entrance given?
11. Thou’lt say, “Come, taste and see,
Oh! Child beloved by Me,
Come, taste the gifts so precious
I and my Father gracious
Have to bestow, come hither,
In pleasure bask for ever.”
12. Alas, thou world so poor!
Of wealth, what is thy store?
Mean is it to be holden,
Compared with all the golden
Crowns and thrones Jesus placeth
For whom He loves and graceth.
13. Here is the angel’s home,
Blest spirits hither come,
Here naught is heard but singing,
Naught seen but joy up-springing,
No cross, no death, no sorrow,
No parting on the morrow.
14. Hold, hold, my sense so weak!
What dost thou think and speak,
What’s fathomless, art sounding?
What’s measureless, art bounding?
Here must man’s wit be bending,
The eloquent be ending.
15. Lord, I delight in Thee!
Thou ne’er shalt go from me.
Thy hand in bounty giveth
More than my heart conceiveth,
Or I can e’er be counting,
So high Thy mercy’s mounting.
16. How sad, O Lord, am I,
Until I from on high
See Thee in glory hither
Come, Thine own to deliver;
Wert Thou but now revealing
Thyself, my wish fulfilling!
17. The time is known to Thee;
It best becometh me
To be prepared for going,
And all things so be doing,
That every moment even
My heart may be in heaven.
18. This grant, Lord, and me bless,
That so Thy truth and grace
May keep me ever waking,
That Thy day not o’ertaking
Me unawares, affright me,
But may, O Lord, delight me.
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Categories: Lutheran Hymns
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