Sunday, April 24, 2016

The Gifts Christ Freely Gives

Johann Walter, Kantor (1496-1570), is remembered today as the first Lutheran kantor and composer of church music. In 1524, Walter published a collection of hymns arranged according to the Church Year.  It was well received and served as a model for many subsequent hymnals.  In addition to serving thirty years as kantor (church musician) in the German cities of Torgau and Dresden, he also assisted  Martin Luther in the preparation of the Deutsche Messe, or "German Mass" (1526).  [Divine Service Setting 5 in Lutheran Service Book, 2006]  We are blessed with so many fine church musicians who fill the role of kantor in our parishes.  One kantor who has touched the lives of so many Lutheran pastors is Kantor Richard Resch, emeritus kantor of Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne and St. Paul Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne.  His text on the means of grace, "The Gifts Christ Freely Gives," is a great addition to Lutheran Service Book.

The gifts Christ freely gives
He gives to you and me
To be His Church, His bride,
His chosen, saved and free!
Saints blest with these rich gifts
Are children who proclaim
That they were won by Christ
And cling to His strong name.

The gifts flow from the font
Where He calls us His own;
New life He gives that makes 
Us His and His alone.
Here He forgives our sins
With water and His Word;
The triune God Himself
Gives pow'r to call Him Lord.

The gifts of grace and peace
From absolution flow;
The pastor's words are Christ's
For us to trust and know.
Forgiveness that we need
Is granted to us there;
The Lord of mercy sends 
Us forth in His blest care.

The gifts are there each day
The holy Word is read;
God's children listen, hear,
Receive, and they are fed.
Christ fills them with Himself,
Blest words that give them life,
Restoring and refreshing
Them for this world's strife.

The gifts are in the feast,
Gifts far more than we see;
Beneath the bread and wine
Is food from Calvary.
The body and the blood
Remove our ev'ry sin;
We leave His presence in
His peace, renewed again.

All glory to the One
Who lavishes such love;
The triune God in love
Assures our life above.
His means of grace for us
Are gifts He loves to give;
All thanks and praise for His
Great love by which we live!

1 comment:

Witness said...

This hymn so clearly proclaims the faith. It has become one of our favorites. We have been blessed to have Pastor Resch as our vacancy pastor. We "found" this congregation three months ago, after a long search for a faithful congregation. We now realize what a treasure we are given when the Word of God is truly proclaimed in word and song.