Sunday, January 10, 2010

Mark How the Lamb of God's Self-Offering

This text is by Carl P. Daw, Jr. (b. 1944), former president of the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada.  In the first stanza, Daw points the worshiper to Christ's baptism in the Jordan.  In stanza 2, he points to what took place after the Jesus' baptism, when the Spirit led our Lord to the wilderness to be tempted by the devil for forty days. Halfway through the second stanza, Daw transitions to application for the life of the Christian and then concludes the hymn with a prayer for the baptismal life of the Christian in the third stanza.  This hymn is 600 in Lutheran Service Book.

Mark how the Lamb of God’s self-off’ring
    Our human sinfulness takes on
In the birthwaters of the Jordan
    As Jesus is baptized by John.
Hear how the voice from heaven thunders,
    “Lo, this is My beloved Son.”
See how in dovelike form the Spirit
    Descends on God’s Anointed One.

From this assurance of God’s favor
    Jesus goes to the wilderness,
There to endure a time of testing
    That readied Him to teach and bless.
So we, by water and the Spirit
    Baptized into Christ’s ministry,
Are often led to paths of service
    Through mazes of adversity.

Grant us, O God, the strength and courage
    To live the faith our lips declare;
Bless us in our baptismal calling;
    Christ’s royal priesthood help us share.
Turn us from ev’ry false allegiance,
    That we may trust in Christ alone:
Raise up in us a chosen people
    Transformed by love to be Your own.


PMagness said...

I love this hymn - and like its pairing with RENDEZ A DIEU in LSB. Do you know if it is paired with this tune in other hymnals?

One challenge though: when to use it liturgically. I think it best works as a "closing" or Recessional hymn - but on what Sunday? Baptism of Our Lord? First Sunday in Lent?

Accordingly, I've done "hymn surgery" on it - singing st. 1 $ 3 at the end of the Divine Service on Baptism of Our Lord.

Perhaps the whole hymn might best serve as a communion hymn on the Feast of Transfiguration?

I can also see stanza 3 making a fine Offertory.

How do you use the hymn?

amelithpastor said...

Phil, I don't recall if this is the ecumenical tune for this text. I do remember that the Hymnody Committee wanted another text in LSB with the tune RENDEZ A DIEU. I agree with the challenge of when to best use this hymn. As you mention, both Baptism of our Lord and the First Sunday in Lent would be appropriate choices as well as a communion hymn on Transfiguration. One could perform further "hymn surgery" and only sing stanza 3 as a response to the sermon, much like the old "Create in Me" from DS3...oh wait, I see you have that suggestion already too! Phil, I think we are on the same page on this throughout!! I suppose it could also be used anytime the themes of temptation or the priesthood of all believers are in the lessons of the day. Currently this hymn tune and hymn are on my "to teach" list, so this is one is unknown to my people here at St. John.