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Healing in the Wounds of Christ

March 18th, 2010 5 comments

I’m intrigued by this great old Lutheran classic Jesus, Grant That Balm and Healing and its striking use of the suffering and death of Christ as a weapon against the temptations of the devil, the world and our own sinful flesh. Have you noticed the same thing about it?

“Jesus, Grant that Balm and Healing”
By Johann Heermann, 1585-1647

1. Jesus, grant that balm and healing
In Thy holy wounds I find,
Every hour that I am feeling
Pains of body and of mind.
Should some evil thought within
Tempt my treacherous heart to sin,
Show the peril, and from sinning
Keep me ere its first beginning.

2. Should some lust or sharp temptation
Prove too strong for flesh and blood,
Let me think upon Thy Passion,
And the breach is soon made good.
Or should Satan press me hard,
Let me then be on my guard,
Saying, “Christ for me was wounded,”
That the Tempter flee confounded.

3. If the world my heart entices
On the broad and easy road
With it mirth and luring voices,
Let me think upon the load
Thou didst carry and endure
That I flee all thoughts impure,
Banishing each wild emotion,
Calm and blest in my devotion.

4. Every wound that pains or grieves me,
By Thy stripes, Lord is made whole;
When I’m faint, Thy Cross revives me,
Granting new life to my soul.
Yea, Thy comfort renders sweet
Every bitter cup I meet;
For Thy all-atoning Passion
Has procured my soul’s salvation.

5. O my God, my Rock and Tower,
Grant that in Thy death I trust,
Knowing Death has lost his power
Since Thou trod’st him in the dust.
Savior, let Thine agony
Ever help and comfort me;
When I die, be my Protection,
Light and Life and Resurrection.

The Lutheran Hymnal
Hymn #144
Text: 1 Pet. 2: 24
Author: Johann Heermann, 1644, ab.
Translated by: composite
Titled: “Jesu, deine tiefen Wunden”
Composer: Johnann B. Koenig, 1738
Tune: Der am Kreuz

Our Faithful God

March 7th, 2010 1 comment

Recently we have sung several hymns by Johann Heermann during our congregation’s Divine Servece. I am continually impressed by Pastor Hermann’s hymns. Here is his O God, Thou Faithful God. As usual, Pastor Heermann’s hymns come from the heart and soul of a man who faced extreme difficulties in life. You can read a nice biography on Wikipedia.

1. O God, Thou faithful God,
Thou Fountain ever flowing,
Who good and perfect gifts
In mercy art bestowing,
Give me a healthy frame,
And may I have within
A conscience free from blame,
A soul unhurt by sin!

2. Grant Thou me strength to do
With ready heart and willing
Whate’er Thou shalt command,
My calling here fulfilling;
To do it when I ought,
With all my might, and bless
The work I thus have wrought,
For Thou must give success.

3. Oh, let me never speak
What bounds of truth exceedeth;
Grant that no idle word
From out my mouth proceedeth;
And then, when in my place
I must and ought to speak,
My words grant power and grace
Lest I offend the weak.

4. If dangers gather round,
Still keep me calm and fearless;
Help me to bear the cross
When life is dark and cheerless;
And let me win my foe
With words and actions kind.
When counsel I would know,
Good counsel let me find.

5.And let me with all men,
As far as in me lieth,
In peace and friendship live.
And if Thy gift supplieth
Great wealth and honor fair,
Then this refuse me not,
That naught be mingled there
Of goods unjustly got.

6. If Thou a longer life
Hast here on earth decreed me;
If Thou through many ills
To age at length wilt lead me,
Thy patience on me shed.
Avert all sin and shame
And crown my hoary head
With honor free from blame.

7. Let me depart this life
Confiding in my Savior;
Do Thou my soul receive
That it may live forever;
And let my body have
A quiet resting-place
Within a Christian grave;
And let it sleep in peace.

8. And on that solemn Day
When all the dead are waking,
Stretch o’er my grave Thy hand,
Thyself my slumbers breaking.
Then let me hear Thy voice,
Change Thou this earthly frame,
And bid me aye rejoice
With those who love Thy name.

Categories: Lutheran Hymns

Singing the Faith Web Site

January 7th, 2010 1 comment

You’ll find this new web site interesting. Please spread the word about this terrific resource!

Singing the Gospel: Lutheran Hymns and the Success of the Reformation

November 14th, 2009 4 comments

Picture 2There is a great new book out by Dr. Christopher Boyd Brown titled Singing the Gospel: Lutheran Hymns and the Success of the Reformation. In this book, which began as his dissertation for his Ph.D. in history from Harvard University, Dr. Brown offers a new appraisal of the Reformation and its popular appeal, based on the place of German hymns in the sixteenth century and in the lives of the early Lutherans. He focuses on the Bohemian mining town of Joachimsthal, where pastors, musicians, and laity forged an enduring and influential union of Lutheranism, music, and culture as the “test case” for his research.

The Lutheran hymns, sung in the streets and homes as well as in the churches and schools of Joachimsthal, were central instruments of a Lutheran pedagogy that sought to convey the Gospel to laymen and women in a form that they could remember and apply for themselves. Townspeople and miners sang the hymns, in their home, they taught their children, counseled one another, and consoled themselves hen death came near.

Shaped and nourised by the theology of the hymns, the laity of Joachimsthal maintained this Lutheran piety in their homes for a generation after Evangelical pastors had been expelled from their city during the Counter-Reformation. They finally chose to leaqve their homeland rather than submit to the demands of their Catholic church and political rulers. Singing the Gospel challenges the prevailing view that Lutheranism failed to transform the homes and harts of sixteenth-century Germany.

Dr. Brown is Assistant Professor of Church History, Boston University School of Theology. He is also the General Editor of Luther’s Works: American Edition, New Series. It is published by Harvard University Press.

New Hymn: The Holy Word of God Endures Forever – Explained by Pastor Starke

October 3rd, 2009 Comments off

I mentioned this hymn the other day, but Pastor Stephen Starke has a copy of the words and a nice explanation of it, posted on his blog site, which I recommend you add to your regular blog reading.

Categories: Lutheran Hymns

“The Holy Word of God” New Hymn for Reformation Day. Free download.

September 18th, 2009 4 comments

Rev. Stephen StarkePicture 1 has written a beautiful hymn, with a melody written especially for it by Jeffrey Blersch. The hymn and its melody were produced for the glory to God, in thanksgiving to Him for the publication of The Lutheran Study Bible. Here are free copies of the hymn for the congregation to use and an accompaniment edition. Hymn with text and melody line: The Holy Word of God – Congr melody Accompaniment edition: thwg_hymn

NOTE: Download the PDF files provided in this post for the whole hymn. The image is merely a screen capture of the first page.

Categories: Lutheran Hymns

We Praise You, and Acknowledge You, O God

January 16th, 2009 9 comments

Kantorei3
A beautiful recording of the new setting/version of the Te Deum as contained in Lutheran Service Book, hymn 941. Recorded by the Kantorei of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Download Tedeum

Categories: Lutheran Hymns

Singing the Faith: Living the Lutheran Musical Heritage

March 18th, 2008 3 comments

Singing_the_faith
A great new resource is now available from the Good Shepherd Institute in Fort Wayne, Indiana Singing the Faith: Living the Lutheran Musical Heritage.

Here is the press release from the seminary

Concordia
Theological Seminary’s Good Shepherd Institute of Pastoral Theology and
Sacred Music announces the release of an 80-minute DVD with Dolby
Surround Stereo called: Singing the Faith – Living the Lutheran Musical
Heritage. This is a four-week study that tells the history of Lutheran
congregational song and is viewable in four 20-minute segments or as a
play all video. This teaching aid includes a 32 page teacher’s guide
and reproducible classroom handouts.

The course is taught by
Christopher Boyd Brown (Boston University, School of Theology), Kevin
J. Hildebrand (Concordia Theological Seminary), Martin Jean (Yale
University­­Institute of Sacred Music), Robin Leaver (Westminster Choir
College), Richard C. Resch (Concordia Theological Seminary), Carl F.
Schalk (Concordia University Chicago), Stephen P. Starke (St. John
Lutheran Church, Bay City, Michigan), and Daniel Zager (Eastman School
of Music). The DVD features congregational singing in many settings as
well asperformances by Martin Jean; The Bach Vesper Choir of Holy
Trinity Lutheran Church, New York City with Rick Erickson as Cantor;
and Craig Cramer from The University of Notre Dame. Glorious artwork
from all over the world accompanies the story.

The DVD package may be
purchased from the Seminary Bookstore or directly from Concordia
Publishing House’s web site or by calling 1-800-325-3040.

The product number is 99-2260 and is listed at $24.95.

All proceeds will benefit The Good Shepherd Institute of Pastoral Theologyand Sacred Music.

Categories: Lutheran Hymns

Get a Copy of This Hymnal

October 13th, 2007 12 comments

99elh
There is a relatively unknown Lutheran hymnal that is available and I highly recommend you pick up a copy. It is Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary. No, I’m not recommending it for use by congregations of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod. There is a better hymnal for that purpose. But, I do recommend you purchase a copy of it for at least two reasons:

1) It contains the historic collects prepared by Martin Luther’s right-hand man Veit Dietrich. They are real treasures and you have them all here in a more readable contemporary English form.

2) You have a lot of hymns by Paul Gerhard, in many cases with all the verse, or most of them, a feature not true in other Lutheran hymnals.

Here is a web site that provides notes and explanations about the hymnal about which I’m writing: Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary. Kudos to Pastor Mark DeGarmeaux and his colleagues for the site.

Why would I not want to use this hymnal for congregational worship? With respect to my friends in the ELS, I would not want to have to use it in congregation worship because it suffers from the dreadful, and dreaded, isometric form of hymns, that form of singing hymns that became quite popular under Pietism which believed that if hymns would be sung s-l-o-w-l-y and with a s-t-e-a-d-y c-o-n-s-t-a-n-t beat on e-a-c-h syllable. Apparently this is popular in old Norwegian hymn singing tradition. And it is used in this hymnal on quite a few of the classic Lutheran chorales. But…yuck. It is horrible. It really ruins the vigor and vitality of the classic Lutheran chorales when they are sung and makes them sound like funeral dirges.

Here is a review of the hymnal, printed some years ago in the Lutheran Church-Canada’s theological journal.

Categories: Lutheran Hymns

Lutheran Hymns and Espresso

March 23rd, 2007 23 comments

Espresso
I love classic Lutheran hymns. They are an acquired taste, particularly for folks who come to Lutheranism from a non-Lutheran background. Lutheran hymnody is one of those things that is a challenge "to get" for non-Lutherans. The hymns they are more accustomed to tend to be a bit more emotionally oriented, the music a bit more rhythmic, in the sense of a standard 4/4 time signature, etc. [musicians here is your cue to jump all over me and correct me on this point], but you know what I mean, I hope. Classic Lutheran hymnody tends to be more doctrinal in content and it is not at all uncommon to find them set in a minor key. [By the way, I recently read that when Bach presents you something in D Minor, well, strap yourself in, you are in for quite a ride].

That alone often causes non-Lutherans to recoil. Minor key? That’s just "too depressing" some say. Case in point: the amazingly good Easter hymn by Luther: Christ Jesus lay in death’s strong bands].

Here’s one way of looking at the situation. Lutheran hymns are to Christian hymnody what Espresso is to coffee. When you have y our first cup of really good Espresso you probably aren’t going to like it, but then you realize: wow, this is a lot better than ordinary coffee. And then, once you’ve acquired a taste for espresso, well, ordinary cups of java just aren’t quite as satisfying.

This is most definitely not to say hymns written by non-Lutherans are "bad" but….well, they are often not espresso. There are some great hymns written by non-Lutherans, no doubt bout it!

But, many times, when you compare non-Lutheran hymnody to classic Lutheran hymnody their is a noticeable difference. Some are like cheap cups of coffee you get from the Shell gas station when you are in a hurry. Others are like a better cup of fast coffee. Others are like a good cup of Starbucks, but …. Lutheran hymns…ah, well, they are like that cup of coffee you make yourself, at home, carefully choosing fresh beans, recently roasted, carefully ground in a burr grinder and then made precisely in a French press. If you are familiar with fine coffee freshly ground and made in a French press, well, you know precisely what I’m talking about. If you do not know how good coffee was meant to be: well, go check out a French press. Or, even better, just enjoy a fine Espresso. But I digress. [I suspect my digression has something to do with the fact that I'm trying very hard to give up caffeine!]

Here is what a friend just sent me last night, some reflections of his on the hymnody of Paul Gerhardt and the music of J.S. Bach and Lutheranism.

I have been using Gerhardt hymns for meditation during Lent. Some verses
which didn’t make it into LSB 453 are worth noting. It’s imagery is
striking. It’s theology of the cross is clear. Its witness to the
implications of the cross for daily living is moving, especially in
light of Gerhardt’s biography.

Read more…

Categories: Lutheran Hymns