Thursday, January 28, 2010

Wide Open Stand the Gates

This translation by Herman Stuempfle of Wilhelm Loehe's communion text is a wonderful addition to Lutheran Service Book! 

Wide open stand the gates adorned with pearl,
    While round God’s golden throne
The choirs of saints in endless circles curl,
    And joyous praise the Son!
They watch Him now descending
    To visit waiting earth.
The Lord of Life unending
    Brings dying hope new birth!

He speaks the Word the bread and wine to bless:
    “This is My flesh and blood!”
He bids us eat and drink with thankfulness
    This gift of holy food.
All human thought must falter—
    Our God stoops low to heal,
Now present on the altar,
    For us both host and meal!

The cherubim, their faces veiled from light,
    While saints in wonder kneel,
Sing praise to Him whose face with glory bright
    No earthly masks conceal.
This sacrament God gives us
    Binds us in unity,
Joins earth with heav’n beyond us,
    Time with eternity!


PMagness said...

This is real nice addition to our hymn corpus. It didn't make the list of "new found favorites" that readers of Fine Tuning submitted a couple of months ago, but I think it is a fine hymn that will steadily gain in popularity over the years as more folks discover it.

It pairs excellently with JERUSALEM, DU HOCHGEBAUTE STADT, and hopefully will lead to more congregations sing "Jerusalem, O City Fair and High" as well.

PMagness said...

I was wondering if the hymn was translated into French for the LCL (Liturgies et Cantiques Luthériens, the "French LSB") so I just discovered that, oui, it made the book. Both hymns, same tune.

Don't you just love Lutheran catholicitiy? ;)

IggyAntiochus said...

A fine hymn indeed!

A few things I've noted:

1) I am having trouble finding the German text. LSB does not list the original titles of the texts if they do not match the title of the tune. My German is not *that* good. If I saw the title I could figure it out, but going from English into German is quite another story. (I'll see if I can check the German hymnal tomorrow for it).

2) It took GIA to translate this to English??? only cites LSB as a resource for this text, so I wonder where they might have published it? Perhaps only in sheet music. Just pondering ...