Saturday, May 22, 2010

Hail Thee, Festival Day!

Pentecost refrain:
Hail thee, festival day!
Blest day to be hallowed forever;
Day when the Holy Ghost
Shone in the world with His grace.

Bright and in likeness of fire,
On those who await His appearing,
He whom the Lord had foretold
Suddenly, swiftly descends:  Refrain

Daily the loveliness grows,
Adorned with the glory of blossom;
Heaven her gateway unbars,
Flinging her increase of light:  Refrain 

God the Almighty, the Lord,
The ruler of earth and the heavens,
Guard us from harm without;
Cleanse us from evil within:  Refrain

Jesus, the health of the world,
Creator of all and redeemer,
Son of the Father supreme,
Only-begotten of God:  Refrain

Spirit of life and of pow’r,
Now flow in us, fount of our being,
Light that enlightens us all,
Life that in all may abide:  Refrain

Praise to the giver of good!
O Lover and Author of concord,
Pour out Your balm on our days;
Order our ways in Your peace:  Refrain

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

See, the Lords Ascends in Triumph

This Ascension text by Christopher Wordsworth (1807-1885) highlights many Old Testament saints: Enoch, Aaron, Joshua, and Elijah.  All these find their perfect fulfillment in Jesus Christ, the greater Prophet, Priest, and King.

See, the Lord ascends in triumph;
    Conqu’ring King in royal state,
Riding on the clouds, His chariot,
    To His heav’nly palace gate.
Hark! The choirs of angel voices
    Joyful alleluias sing,
And the portals high are lifted
    To receive their heav’nly King.

Who is this that comes in glory
    With the trump of jubilee?
Lord of battles, God of armies,
    He has gained the victory.
He who on the cross did suffer,
    He who from the grave arose,
He has vanquished sin and Satan;
    He by death has crushed His foes.

While he lifts His hands in blessing,
    He is parted from His friends;
While their eager eyes behold Him,
    He upon the clouds ascends.
He who walked with God and pleased Him,
    Preaching truth and doom to come,
He, our Enoch, is translated
    To His everlasting home.

Now our heav'nly Aaron enters
    With His blood within the veil;
Joshua now is come to Canaan,
    And the kings before Him quail.
Now He plants the tribes of Israel
   In their promised resting place;
Now our great Elijah offers
    Double portion of His grace.

He has raised our human nature
    On the clouds to God’s right hand;
There we sit in heav’nly places,
    There with Him in glory stand.
Jesus reigns, adored by angels;
    Man with God is on the throne.
By our mighty Lord’s ascension
    We by faith behold our own.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Church's One Foundation

Frederick the Wise was Luther's political guardian who protected the Reformer, most notably when Frederick had Luther kidnapped and hidden at the Wartburg Castle after the Diet at Worms.    God used Frederick in His plan to protect Luther, who helped restore the truth of the Gospel to the Church.  The Church Militant is ever in the midst of her toil, tribulation and tumult of constant battle this side of the grave.  LSB commemorates Frederick the Wise on May 5th. 

The Church’s one foundation
    Is Jesus Christ, her Lord;
She is His new creation
    By water and the Word.
From heav’n He came and sought her
    To be His holy bride;
With his own blood He bought her,
    And for her life He died.

Elect from ev’ry nation,
    Yet one o’er all the earth;
Her charter of salvation:
    One Lord, one faith, one birth.
One holy Name she blesses,
    Partakes one holy food,
And to one hope she presses
    With ev’ry grace endued.

Though with a scornful wonder
    The world sees her oppressed,
By schisms rent asunder,
    By heresies distressed,
Yet saints their watch are keeping;
    Their cry goes up, “How long?”
And soon the night of weeping
    Shall be the morn of song.

Through toil and tribulation
    And tumult of her war
She waits the consummation
    Of peace forevermore
Till with the vision glorious
    Her longing eyes are blest,
And the great Church victorious
    Shall be the Church at rest.

Yet she on earth has union
    With God, the Three in One,
And mystic sweet communion
    With those whose rest is won.
O blessèd heav’nly chorus!
    Lord, save us by Your grace
That we, like saints before us,
    May see You face to face.