Saturday, October 19, 2013

Give Ear, O Zion, To God's Call

Written to the glory of God for the 150th anniversary of St. Paul Lutheran Church, Bonduel, WI under the anniversary theme: "To God Be the Glory--Yesterday, Today, and Forever."  Anniversary theme verse:  Isaiah 51:6-8.   Written to the tune NUN FREUT EUCH.

1.  Give ear, O Zion, to God's call,
     And hearken, chosen nation:
     God comes with righteousness for all,
     With mercy and salvation;
     God comes with comfort for your gloom,
     Until your desert places bloom
     With thankful songs of gladness.

2.  Behold, God bares His holy arm,
     His Servant to us sending;
     God clothed in flesh need not alarm,
     He comes our race befriending:
     A Lamb in whom no sin is found,
     Yet bearing ours, He makes no sound
     As He is led to slaughter.

3.  Our death upon the cross He died,
     Yet see--this Lamb is living!
     In Christ, we now stand justified,
     His guiltlessness us giving!
     Out of the anguish of His soul,
     We have been cleansed, restored, made whole;
     Baptized in Christ, made righteous!

4.  Each one of us is robed in white,
     Christ's holiness now wearing;
     Called out of darkness into light,
     God's love in Christ declaring;
     We live and die in Jesus' name;
     His grace from yesterday the same,
     Today, tomorrow--ever!

5.  Look to the heav'ns, lift up your eyes
     And understand this clearly:
     That this fair earth beneath those skies
     And all we love so dearly,
     Will one day face its fiery fate;
     Like smoke the heav'ns will dissipate
     At Jesus' reappaering!

6.  What kind of people ought you be
     As this Last Day approaches?
     In love, rebuke all blasphemy;
     Fear not the world's reproaches;
     Live godly lives of faithfulness;
     Christ's saving work to all confess;
     Thus hasten His returning.

7.  Sing God the Father's majesty:
     Of naught He made creation!
     To God the Son all glory be:
     His blood wrought our salvation!
     The Holy Spirit magnify:
     He dwells within to sanctify--
     One God Most High forever!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Seed That the Sower Sows

Written to the glory of God at the 150th anniversary of St. John Lutheran Church, Fraser, Michigan, under the anniversary theme:  "Rooted and Growing in Christ."  The text is set to the wonderful tune named 14 MILE, composed by Matthew Machemer.

1.  Seed that the sower sows,
     Tossed not in careful rows
     But broadly cast across the fertile acre;
     Seed scattered far and wide,
     Seed with its life inside--
     A miracle created by our Maker!

2.  God's Word has here been cast,
     Sown now as in the past,
     Sown into lives by parents, pastors, teachers;
     God's living seed imparts
     Faith, hope, and love in hearts:
     God's grace and mercy for His blood-bought creatures.

3.  Bought at a precious price,
     Christ Jesus' sacrifice;
     For us He faced our death and condemnation.
     Christ has the world redeemed,
     Our world God so esteemed
     That He would give His Son for its salvation!

4.  For in Christ bodily
     Dwells the full deity;
     From Him we now derive all we are needing.
     He is the Church's head,
     Our true and living Bread--
     His very flesh and blood His Body feeding!

5.  Therefore, dear holy ones,
     Beloved daughters, sons,
     Baptized, made new, God's triune Name receiving:
     Walk in the Lord each day;
     Rooted in Christ, the Way,
     So nothing harms the faith you are believing.

6.  Seed that the Sower sows,
     Seed to its harvest grows--  
     Full thirty, sixty, hundredfold maturing!
     God's work in us begun
     Will work till all is done,
     God's fruitful grace His promises assuring.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Come, Marvel at the Mercy of Our Maker

Written to the glory of God at the 175th anniversary of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis to the tune RED HILL ROAD (ELW 760) by Carl Schalk.

1.  Come, marvel at the mercy of our Maker,
     Who from the woman's seed has sent His Son,
     Born under law that each might be partaker
     Of full redemption treasures He has won!
     Proclaim the cross raised on that skull-like mountain
     Where justice falls, yet intersects with grace,
     For from that junction flows a living fountain,
     A crystal stream to green our desert race.

2.  Souls parched for grace where grit of sin is soiling,
     Hearts burdened by its foul and crushing weight,
     That heavy load of guilt and futile toiling
     Beneath the sun of vanity and hate:
     Come, bathe; be cleansed in pure baptismal waters!
     A false mirage?  No, true reality--
     A Word-drenched flood begetting sons and daughters,
     Heirs of God's love for all eternity!

3.  We, like Elijah, pass through barren places;
     With him confess, "My God is God the LORD."
     Yet as we journey God gives us oasis:
     His holy Supper and His holy Word.
     Come, feast; for Christ as manna truly feeds us,
     The Bread of Life, our reason to rejoice,
     While on the Way of Holiness God leads us:
     "Be strong; fear not!" He says with still, small voice.

4.  Though snares of sin the evil foe is laying,
     Though culture's sirens beckon us toward night,
     "Stand by the roads, and look," the LORD is saying;
     "Ask for the ancient pathways, good and right."
     Come, walk the Way that saints before have taken;
     The crown of life is theirs, the heaven-blest.
     Our God is faithful, we are not forsaken;
     Light from above will lead to Christ, our rest!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

You, My People, Shall Be Holy!

Hymn written to the glory of God in grateful thanksgiving for the teaching and ministry of Dr. John Kleinig, for his Festschrift.

1.  You, My people, shall be holy!
     I AM God, your holy LORD."
     Flawed all human thought and effort--
     God must holiness afford!
     "Make an Ark and Tabernacle."
     With His own the LORD would meet:
     Veiled within the cloudy pillar,
     Throned above the Mercy Seat.

2.  At the altar of burnt off'ring,
     In the daily sacrifice,
     There the LORD forgave His people,
     Cov'ring sin, removing vice;
     On the Day of the Atonement,
     Ent'ring that Most Holy Place,
     Cleansing blood the priest would sprinkle
     On the Ark before God's face.

3.  Christ, incarnate Tabernacle--
     With the world God deigned to dwell!
     Flesh disguised the LORD's high glory:
     Virgin-born Immanuel!
     Good that Friday of Atonement,
     When on Golgotha's dread hill,
     Christ upon the altar offered
     Priceless blood, God's wrath to still.

4.  Christ behind the veil then entered,
     Stood before the Father's throne,
     There His sacred lifeblood sprinkling,
     Which would ever all atone.
     God, the Temple curtain tearing,
     That division to erase;
     God, the veil forever op'ning--
     Nothing bars us from His face!

5.  Sinners--we in Christ have access
     To the holy Three in One!
     Saints--before the Father's Presence,
     We stand dazzling as His Son!
     Christ our birth-corruption covered;
     Blest that washing of rebirth!
     Baptized, saved, all filth removing,
     As the Flood once cleansed the earth!

6.  God the Holy Spirit calls us,
     Feeds us with the Sacrament--
     Bread and wine veil blood an body,
     Feeding all, yet never spent;
     Daily sanctifies and keeps us,
     Lives in us, His holy shrines,
     With His fruit each one He graces
     To accomplish God's designs.

7.  "You, My people, shall be holy!"
     God His holiness bestows!
     Royal priests--in Christ a nation
     From eternity God chose!
     Glory be, O holy Father;
     Glory be, O holy Son;
     Glory be, O Holy Spirit--
     Ever Three and ever One!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

For Barnabas We Praise You

I am a son of Barnabas dorm at Concordia, Ann Arbor (1973-1975).  (Barnabas=son of consolation, from the Hebrew: bar, "son," and nafesh, "recreate, revive, console")  June 11 is St. Barnabas, Apostle on the Church Year calendar.  He was a Jew, a Levite born in Cyprus, one of the first disciples of the apostles and St. Paul's traveling companion until the sixteenth year after Christ's resurrection.  Paul informs us that Barnabas was the cousin of John Mark (Col. 4:10) and it was the disagreement between Barnabas and Paul over whether or not to take John Mark on the second missionary journey that parted Barnabas from Paul.  Barnabas took John Mark and went to Cyrus; Paul took Silas and went to Syria and Cilicia (Acts 15:36-41).  Barnabas is mentioned in Acts 4, 9, 11, 13, 14, and 15.   Hymn text and verse on Barnabas was written by Horatio Bolton Nelson, 1823-1913.  (LSB 518 st. 1, 17, 3)

1.  By all Your saints in warfare,
     For all Your saints at rest,
     Your holy name, O Jesus,
     Forevermore be blest!
     For You have won the battle
     That they might wear the crown;
     And now they shine in glory
     Reflected from Your throne.

2.  For Barnabas we praise You,
     Who kept Your law of love
     And, leaving earthly treasures,
     Sought riches from above.
     O Christ, our Lord and Savior,
     Let gifts of grace descend,
     That Your true consolation
     May through the world extend.

3.  Then let us praise the Father
     And worship God the Son
     And sing to God the Spirit,
     Eternal Three in One,
     Till all the ransomed number
     Fall down before the throne,
     Ascribing pow'r and glory
     And praise to God alone.

Almighty God, Your faithful servant Barnabas sought not his own renown but gave generously of his life and substance for the encouragement of the apostles and their ministry.  Grant that we may follow his example in lives given to charity and the proclamation of the Gospel; though Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Did Not Brave Esther Speak

Esther's courage is needed by Christians today!  We are given so many fine examples of faith and faith active in love by faithful women in Holy Scripture.

1.  Did not brave Esther speak to free
     Her people from their doom?
     She dared confront a treachery
     That would her race entomb.
     Has God not brought you to this place
     For such a time as this,
     To speak His Word of light and grace
     So none its truth dismiss?

2.  What tender care the women showed
     When Christ was crucified!
     With tears and prayers their love bestowed
     As Jesus bled and died.
     Those faithful Marys shared the gloom
     Of Jesus' bitter strife;
     They came with spices to the tomb,
     Yet found Him raised to life!

3.  O sing of Anna, prophetess,
     The temple was her home;
     Of Phoebe, faithful deaconess,
     Who brought Paul's words to Rome;
     Of Lydia, whose cloth was dyed
     With hospitality;
     Their lives of service magnified
     The Holy Trinity.

4.  God summons you to truly care,
     To weep with those who cry,
     To take your cross and for Christ dare
     To live and self deny,
     To give till wealth is sacrificed
     For those in pressing need,
     That all may see in you the Christ--
     His love your living creed.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Bring All Your Fear

Written in 1994 and set to the tune EARTH AND ALL STARS.

1.  Bring all your fear,
     Bring all your sadness,
     Bring all your doubt and despair to the tomb.
     See the great stone
     Rolled from the entrance,
     Points to the end of our dark night of gloom!
Refrain:  Alleluia!  Alleluia!
             Christ has arisen!  Alleluia!

2.  Hear the good news--
     Jesus is living!
     Do you remember the words He once said:
     "Be crucified,
     Rise on the third day."
     He is not here in the graves of the dead!  Refrain

3.  God's rising Son
     Mourning eclipses,
     Shining on all those who sorrow and grieve;
     Calling by name
     All who are weeping,
     So they the light of His love might receive.  Refrain

4.  Where doors are locked
     And hearts are broken,
     Bruised and in need of the One crucified,
     Jesus appears;
     "Peace!" He says gently,
     Showing the marks in His hands and His side!  Refrain

5.  Sing to the Lord,
     Sing of His triumph:
     "Worthy is Jesus, the Lamb that was slain!"
     Jesus--our song,
     Jesus--our gladness,
     Jesus--our joyful and endless refrain!  Refrain

Rest, O Christ, from All Your Labor

By the late Herman G. Stuempfle.

1.  Rest, O Christ, from all Your labor;
     Sleep within Your borrowed tomb.
     Foes have crucified and bound You
     Fast within death's narrow room.
     Pilate's guards stand watching, waiting
     Where they rolled the sealing stone.
     All unseen another watches:
     God will not forsake His own.

2.  Peace at last from all Your anguish,
     Wounds in hands and feet and side.
     Enemies no longer mock You,
     Scourged, abandoned, crucified.
     Faithful women gather spices,
     Weep for You whom sin has slain.
     Though they mourn, the God who guards You
     Will not let Your death be vain.

3.  Help us keep this solemn sabbath
     As we wait for Easter dawn.
     Earth's dark night of sin is passing;
     Death's long reign will soon be gone.
     Christ, in whom the new creation
     Rises brighter than the sun:
     May we, as we watch for morning,
     Trust the vict'ry You have won.

4.  As, through parting Red Sea waters,
     Israel marched to liberty,
     So we pass through baptism's water,
     Washed by grace, from sin set free.
     Jesus, risen, living, reigning
     Now and through eternity:
     Grant that, through Your life undying,
     We may live victoriously.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Word of God Is Spoken

Hymn writer Mark Preus recently penned this fine Holy Communion text and composer Stephen Johnson recently composed a wonderful, and as yet unnamed, tune for it.  Our Lord be praised for His ongoing gifts to His Church!  "For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, 'This is my body which is for you.  Do this in remembrance of me.'  In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, 'This cup is the new covenant in my blood.  Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.'  For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes."  (1 Corinthians 11:23-26)

1.  The Word of God is spoken,
     And angels bend to see
     How hearts, once bound and broken,
     Are set a liberty.
     For Christ, the Lord of Glory,
     Proclaims His death again;
     No doubt can dim the story
     That pardons all our sin.

2.  With bread and wine are given
     Christ's body and His blood;
     The earthly hides the heaven
     As flesh encloses God;
     The right hand of the Father
     Is now the Holy Place
     Where Christ, our God and Brother,
     Bestows on sinners grace.

3.  Depart each unbeliever
     And those who live to sin!
     Nor let a false deceiver
     Dare here to enter in.
     Discern this gift of Jesus,
     His body and His blood,
     Lest righteous judgement seize us
     For not believing God.

4.  Blest is the hungry spirit,
     Who has no good to give,
     But clings to Jesus' merit--
     By faith this soul shall live;
     The Lord will not deceive him,
     As sin and Satan do,
     Nor will his Savior leave him,
     Whose Word cries out, "for you!"

5.  And kneeling at the altar
     United we shall be,
     Though we are weak, and falter,
     Strong is our unity.
     For Jesus' precious preaching
     Dispels the devil's pow'r,
     Nor will He let false teaching
     To ever win the hour.

6.  So we with gladness enter,
     And we with gladness leave;
     Christ's cross is at the center
     Of all that we believe.
     This sacrament will give us
     Abundant joy and peace
     Till angels will receive us
     In heaven's Holy Place.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Exalt 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.  A blessed Holy Week to you!

1.  Exalt 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!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

No Tramp of Soldiers' Marching Feet

Timothy Dudley-Smith's masterful Palm Sunday text set to the tune KINGSFOLD.  A blessed Palm Sunday to you!

1.  No tramp of soldiers' marching feet
     With banners and with drums,
     No sound of music's martial beat:
     "The King of glory comes!"
     To greet what pomp of kingly pride
     No bells in triumph ring,
     No city gates swing open wide:
     "Behold, behold your King!"

2.  And yet He comes. The children cheer;
     With palms His path is strown.
     With ev'ry step the cross draws near:
     The King of glory's throne.
     Astride a colt He passes by
     As loud hosannas ring,
     Or else the very stones would cry
     "Behold, behold your King!"

3.  What fading flow'rs His road adorn;
     The palms, how soon laid down!
     No bloom or leaf but only thorn
     The King of glory's crown.
     The soldiers mock, the rabble cries,
     The streets with tumult ring,
     As Pilate to the mob replies,
     "Behold, behold your King!"

4.  Now He who bore for mortals' sake
     The cross and all its pains
     And chose a servant's form to take,
     The King of glory reigns.
     Hosannas to the Savior's name
     Till heaven's rafters ring,
     And all the ransomed host proclaim
     "Behold, behold your King!" 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Cling Tightly to the Word of God

Written in 2005 for my niece Alicia's confirmation. To the tender tune O COME by Amanda Husberg.

Cling tightly to the Word of God
And Christ's disciple be;
For then, beloved, you will know
The truth that sets you free,
The truth that sets you free.

Recall in faith the precious gift
Of your baptismal day,
When you were joined to Jesus' death
That washed your sins away,
That washed your sins away.

For just as God raised up His Son
From death by His great might,
So too, in Christ, we now may live
As children of the light,
As children of the light.

Be strong! Stand firm! Come, walk the path
That saints before You trod,
With ready feet to bring good news
Of Christ--the Peace of God,
Of Christ--the Peace of God.

Know that His body and His blood
Will feed your hungry soul
Like manna in life's wilderness,
Until you reach your goal,
Until you reach your goal.

Now fix your eyes on Jesus Christ;
"Come, follow Me," says He;
"Deny yourself, take up your cross--
Come, lose your life for Me,
Come, lose your life for Me."