Saturday, March 28, 2015

Exult Today, Jerusalem!

This text was written in 2010 for the 25th anniversary of Glory of Christ Lutheran Church in Plymouth, MN to the vibrant tune, ZEHNDER, by Scott Hyslop of St. Lorenz in Frankenmuth, MI.  We are singing this tomorrow at St. John Amelith as the Sermon Hymn.  A blessed Holy Week to you and yours!

1.  Exult today, Jerusalem!
     God comes to set you free!
     This royal son of Bethlehem
     Fulfills all prophecy.
     This greater Jonah of renown
     God's love and pow'r displays;
     He comes to tear God's temple down
     And raise it in three days!

2.  With joy, the city resonates!
     O Zion's daughter, sing!
     Lift up your heads, you mighty gates,
     And greet your coming King!
     He rides no horse with prancing strides,
     As kings before Him came,
     But on a donkey humbly rides,
     His office to proclaim:

3.  The Christ! A Prophet greater than
     That giver of the Law;
     A Priest, not born from Levi's clan,
     But born without sin's flaw;
     A King, one like that priestly king, 
     Melchizedek of old,
     For Christ, as thorn-crowned King will bring
     God's righteousness foretold.

4.  Christ's glory is not seen by those
     Offended by the cross,
     For worldly wisdom never knows
     How gain could come from loss;
     Yet, this the glory of the Christ:
     To claim our cross as throne--
     His perfect life He sacrificed
     That we might be His own!

5.  So wave your palms and fill the air
     With shouts of joy this day,
     The King of glory comes to bear
     Your sin and death away!
     Hosanna, Lord!  Your people save!
     O come, Emmanuel,
     And by Your cross and shattered grave,
     Tear down the gates of hell!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

O Wonder Great!

March 25th. nine months before the celebration of Christmas (the incarnation of our Lord), brings us on the Church Year calendar to the Annunciation of Our Lord.  What a mystery and what a miracle we recall this day!  In that holy moment, Gabriel (meaning, God is my strength) brings Mary the news that she will be a son who will also be God's Son! Written in 2012, this text is set to the 1999 tune by Joseph Herl, ICH LIEGE, HERR, IN DEINER HUT.

O wonder great! Now contemplate
How Mary's womb is favored:
Surrounds God's Son, the Holy One,
Our comfort, life and Savior!

O joyous plan--here God is man,
This miracle conceiving!
We know not how, but humbly bow,
By faith this truth receiving.

Lord, I am Thine and Thou are mine
In this Thine incarnation:
My flesh and blood, my highest good,
My heaven-sent salvation.

Praise God anew! This Father who
To me His Son is giving;
For all my needs His mercy pleads--
In Him forever living!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Proclaim Good News to Zion

Written to the glory of God for the 90th anniversary (1924-2014) of KFUO, the 'Official Voice of Lutheranism,' broadcasting from the International Center of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod in St. Louis, Missouri.  KFUO is known as "The Messenger of Good News" (anniversary theme). All such good news focuses upon what God has done for our world through His Son, Christ Jesus.  The text was written specifically for the tune MISSIONARY HYMN.

Proclaim good news to Zion,
Till highest mountains ring,
Till plains and valleys echo
The Name of Christ our King:
He tends His flock as Shepherd,
With love beyond compare;
Close to His heart He cradles
Each lamb with tender care.

This LORD poured out the waters;
They pooled within His hand!
He weighed the lofty mountains!
Oh, who can understand?
God's Spirit none can fathom,
None dare instruct the Lord;
Yet for each fallen sinner,
His mercy is outpoured!

Who has believed our message?
To whom was it revealed?
He was a man of suffering,
His majesty concealed;
Christ came to take our sorrows,
Be pierced for all our sins,
This sinless Servant-Savior,
Our rescue came to win!

Yet though God's will had crushed Him
To meet the Law's demand,
God's will to make us holy
Would prosper in His hand:
To life this Lamb restoring--
Christ lives, who once had died!
The One who died for many,
The many justified!

How lovely on the mountains
Are those who bring good news,
Who with the blood of Jesus
Our dying world transfuse;
Who say to those in Zion,
"God reigns!  Rejoice and sing!"
Who to the cross of Jesus
By grace through faith will cling!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

How, Before All Time Began

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will..."  (Ephesians 1:3-5)  
Text written in 2005 to the tune ANGELUS AD VIRGINEM.

How, before all time began,
Before the world’s creation,
Could the Lord conceive His plan
Of mercy and salvation?
Yet, from that high and timeless place,
God chose to save our death-bound race:
Emmanuel—as prophets tell the story
In Scripture as we know,
Would veil in flesh His glory                        
And dwell with us below!

To the darkness of our night
And to our need attending,
Came the Word as Light of Light
Beyond our comprehending—
Radiant within the virgin’s womb;
Dawning as day upon our gloom.
Hail, Jacob’s Star!  For all You are now shining
Your beam of grace on earth,
Your royal might confining
Within such humble birth.

As the presence of a king
Brings honor to a city,
Bethlehem, be glad and sing                               
Your Sov’reign’s tender pity;
Join all the angels who rejoice;
Let ev’ry creature raise its voice—               
Sing “Glory be to God!” For He is solely
The God who comes to save
And to our world unholy,
The Prince of Peace He gave.

Tarshish lords from distant shore,
Come pay your tribute to Him;
Kings of Sheba, kneel before
The One with worship due Him.
Rise up, O nations!  See!  Your Lord!   
Long may He live and be adored!        
Oh may His fame and holy Name, transcending
Each name upon this sphere,   
Be sung with praise unending
For love so pure and near!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Holy Word of God Endures Forever

This text was commissioned by CPH for the release of The Lutheran Study Bible, a hymn on the Word of God for Reformation five years ago, in 2009. Stanza 1, the power of God's Word to bring sight for those blind in sin.; stanza 2, the Gospel call goes out to all enemies of God, made such by their sin; stanza 3, the work of the Holy Spirit who makes spiritually dead people alive by the power of God's Word; stanza 4, God's Word as Law and Gospel, to cut (Law) and to heal (Gospel) with the result that our lives become Christ's letter to a fallen world. Jeffrey Blersch wrote a tune for this 11 10 11 10 D text and he named it CONCORDIA CINCINNATI.

The holy Word of God endures forever
With living truths the Spirit has revealed.
These are not myths conceived by authors clever;
They never fade like flowers of the field.
No Scripture came by human inspiration;
God breathed His life in each and ev'ry part,
So Christ, the Morning Star of our salvation,
Might dawn with sight for ev'ry blinded heart.

Christ Jesus is the content of this writing,
The banner of God's love for all unfurled,
For through the Word the Father is inviting:
"O wayward one, forsake your rebel world;
No greater gift I have than what I gave you--
My only Son for sin--that you might know
The distance that My grace stretched out to save you
And make your scarlet sins as white as snow."

O Spirit--calling, gathering, uniting--
Come, breathe Your life in all whose hope is lost
And in such lives with power come, igniting
The flames of faith first lit on Pentecost;
To those long dead, the victims of sin's vi'lence,
To all forgotten casualties of strife,
Now speak to driest bones and break the silence--
Where there is death, now raise enfleshed new life!

The holy Word of God endures forever!
It comes to hearts where sin remains concealed,
And like a two-edged sword, to pierce and sever,
It cuts the heart so that it might be healed.
With Gospel salve renew us, faith's Begetter;
Write living words, yet not with ink on stone,
But write upon our hearts, that as Christ's letter
We tell of how God saves by grace alone.