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Wednesday, May 20, 2009 

Dear Christians, One And All, Rejoice

Do you know why there I’ll never sing any hymns of terror on a Sunday morning? The reason for this is that the hymns that my congregation sing will always proclaim the joy of the Gospel. That’s not to say that the terror of the consequences of not keeping God’s righteous and perfect Law isn’t in our hymns, but the law simply can not comfort the right minded Christian (we like our hymns to be about Jesus doing the doing). A good hymn is simply a sung confession of the Gospel proclamation that repeats back what we given in God’s Holy Word.

I would argue that there is no better hymn that walks us through our problem of sin and the work of Christ to propitiate God’s wrath and bring us back into communion with Him after we fell into sin than reformation era hymn Dear Christians, one and all, rejoice by Dr. Luther.

This was our sermon hymn and it has always been one of my favorites. I guess my reasoning is that the hymn really mirrors my own experience of looking inward and to my own works and the result of that self made hell as well as the joy of hearing that it was the work of Christ on the cross that I should take comfort in.

1. Dear Christians, one and all, rejoice,
With exultation springing,
And, with united heart and voice,
And holy rapture singing,
Proclaim the wonders God hath done,
How His right arm the victory won;
Right dearly it hath cost him.

2. Fast bound in Satan's chains I lay.
Death brooded darkly o'er me.
Sin was my torment night and day.
In sin my mother bore me.
Yea, deep and deeper still I fell.
Life had become a living hell,
So firmly sin possessed me.

3. My own good works availed me naught,
No merit they attaining.
Free will against God's judgment fought,
Dead to all good remaining.
My fears increased till sheer despair
Left naught but death to be my share.
The pains of hell I suffered.

4. But God beheld my wretched state
Before the world's foundation.
And, mindful of His mercies great,
He planned my soul's salvation.
A father's heart He turned to me,
Sought my redemption fervently.
He gave His dearest Treasure.

5. He spoke to His beloved Son:
'Tis time to have compassion.
Then go, bright Jewel of My crown,
And bring to man salvation;
From sin and sorrow set him free.
Slay bitter death for him that he
May live with Thee forever.

6. This Son obeyed His Father's will,
Was born of virgin mother.
And God's good pleasure to fulfil,
He came to be my Brother.
No garb of pomp or power He wore,
A servant's form, like mine, He bore,
To lead the devil captive.

7. To me He spake: Hold fast to Me,
I am thy Rock and Castle;
Thy ransom I Myself will be,
For thee I strive and wrestle;
For I am with thess, I am thine,
And evermore thou shalt be mine.
The foe shall not divide us.

8. The foe shall shed my precious blood,
Me of My life bereaving.
All this I suffer for thy good
Be steadfast and believing.
Life shall from death the victory win.
My innocence shall bear thy sin;
So art thou blest forever.

9. Now to My Father I depart,
The Holy Spirit sending
And heavenly wisdom to impart
My help to thee extending.
He shall in trouble comfort thee,
Teach thee to know and follow Me,
And in all truth shall guide thee.

10. What I have done and taught, teach thou,
My ways forsake thou never.
So shall My kingdom flourish now
And God be praised forever.
Take heed lest men with base alloy
The heavenly treasure should destroy.
This counsel I bequeath thee.

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Free accompaniment and singing over at Time Out #13. :)

Sorry Dan, I’ve been unusually busy out in meatspace and have fallen behind. I’ll get something up today and try to have a listen myself.

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  • I'm Frank Gillespie
  • From The Haut South
  • Confessional Lutheran
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