Good Hymns Take Time

As part of this morning’s devotions, I decided that I would sing a Christmas hymn that (a) I don’t often sing, (b) is still appropriate on the 11th (i.e. not of the “this night/morning” variety), and (c) is really, really good.

Alas, such hymns are not so easy to find. Not chiefly because I know so many Published Views on the Matter of Long Hymns(criterion [a]), but more so many are written for the day rather than the season (criterion [b]). Also, too many are not altogether fantastic as hymns (see [c]), especially those written during and after the nineteenth century.

So, in my search, I gave up on Lutheran Service Book (LSB) and turned instead to Matthew Carver’s marvellous Walther’s Hymnal.* There, I found what I was looking for.

Not only does it contain Paul Gerhardt’s We Sing, Immanuel, Thy Praise, which was inexplicably left out of LSB (and its predecessor, Lutheran Worship), but it includes the whole hymn.

In this case, the whole hymn means all 20 (twenty) stanzas.** Now, in spite of my Published Views on the Matter of Long Hymns, even I would hesitate to include a 20-stanza hymn on a Sunday morning. At the very least, I would engage in some serious preparation and forewarning beforehand.

Continue reading Good Hymns Take Time

Jesus, Thy Boundless Love

Jesus, Thy boundless love to me
No thought can reach, no tongue declare;
Unite my thankful heart to Thee,
And reign without a rival there!
Thine wholly, Thine alone I am;
Be Thou alone my constant flame.

O grant that nothing in my soul
May dwell, but Thy pure love alone!
Oh, may Thy love possess me whole,
My joy, my treasure, and my crown!
All coldness from my heart remove;
My ev’ry act, word, thought be love.

This love unwearied I pursue
And dauntlessly to Thee aspire.
Oh, may Thy love my hope renew,
Burn in my soul like heav’nly fire!
And day and night be all my care
To guard this sacred treasure there.

In suff’ring be Thy love my peace,
In weakness be Thy love my pow’r;
And when the storms of life shall cease,
O Jesus, in that final hour,
Be Thou my rod and staff and guide
And draw me safely to Thy side!

Paul Gerhardt; tr. John Wesley