Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Advent 1 Hymn: In Memory of John Gerhard

1.What King now comes to save you,
O Zion, Church of God?
He is the Lord who gave you
And wears your flesh and blood.
No power and no glory
Comes Jesus to display,
But Zechariah’s story
Is seen fulfilled today:

Rejoice, O Zion’s daughter,
Behold, your King has come:
The Lamb ordained for slaughter,
The humble, righteous One;
And having free salvation,
He speaks eternal peace,
And ruling every nation,
His reign will never cease.

His crown and strength are hidden
In sorrows that he feels;
The throne to which he’s bidden
A cross of pain reveals.
All innocent and holy,
He bears our guilt within
And thus he calls the lowly
To find release from sin.

Has darkness come upon you?
Are you in sin’s control?
This Light from Light has won you
Forgiveness for your soul;
Nor find Him in your effort,
Nor seek Him in your will,
His Gospel is your comfort
That bids your sins be still.

He wields His Spirit’s scepter
With grace and mercy pure,
His Word dispels the Tempter,
And by it we endure,
And wait in expectation
For Christ to come again
And bring us full salvation
From sin and death and pain. 

Let Zion sing Hosanna
And lift her heart to Him,
Whose body is her Manna,
Whose blood absolves her sin;
On earth she here rejoices
To find her Lord and King,
To whom, with heavn’ly voices,
Her praises ever ring.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Creation's Hope

On this creation of futility
Shines down the Light of Light – to us is born
A Child who shares our full humanity,
God’s Son for those who in the darkness mourn. 

The yoke of death, the Law’s accusing rod,
That burdened life to nothing more than dust,
That kept us guilty in the sight of God,
Is broken by this Savior born for us;

For angels sing what men could not conceive,
And glory shines into unknowing night,
The angels shout the Gospel, we believe,
And Midian and Satan take to flight,

As flesh and blood no more in darkness grope,
For in our flesh now shines creation’s Hope. 

New Song

There is no song my heart could ever raise,
Which, if it didn't point to Christ in praise,
Would not be worthless, like a covered flame,
Which sinners hide to revel in their shame.

Not so be what we sing, dear Christian friends;
Upon the psalm the Church's life depends,
And with the glorious newer Testament,
We sing of Christ, His word and sacrament.

Don't let this world with soft and naked tune,
Bring what God gave His holy Church to ruin.
Sing out with all your heart mild Mary's song,
And cling to Hannah's words your whole life long.

What David sang is water to the soul,
It kills the flesh and makes the spirit whole,
And Miriam taught us well when to exult:
When Satan threatens, God will drive him out.

And I have hope that when this English dies,
Another tongue will read these words then dead,
And as my heart with Kingo's spirit cries,
So may his spirit Heavenward be led,

To laud and magnify the glorious name,
Of Him who gave us music to declare
That He who bore our sin and death and shame,
Is the new song, both here and everywhere.

Monday, September 12, 2016

The Bittersweet Root

Compassion is a root that's hard to taste,
   So bitter is it to Dame Reason's tongue,
   If once it calls her perfect prudence wrong,
   She spits it out in self-defensive haste.

   The Suffer-With-Another Root is sweet -
   If you have too long tasted Reason's fare,
   That leaves her neighbor wounded, dying there,
   Compassion is a rare and wholesome treat.

   Some try to call this root emotive food,
   Pathetic, bound to Pathos' mobs and charm;
   But it defies Dame Logos' false alarm,
   And with its nutrients it feeds the good,
    But savors still as bitterness to those
    Who cannot take their keisters off their nose.

Psalm 134: Hymn for ULC

You servants of the Lord,
Bless him whose gracious Word
Preserves you from disaster,
For Christ, your Lord and Master,
Delivers you from evil,
And saves you from the devil.

You stand both day and night
In God the Father’s sight,
Enthroned in holy places,
Where angels hide their faces,
Where Christ lifts up the lowly,
And makes them pure and holy.

Lift up your hands and hearts
To Him whose grace imparts
Forgiveness for transgression,
And covers with compassion
The sins that still infect us,
But soon He will perfect us.

Bless Him whose flesh and blood
Are given you for food,
Where you may always gather
And cling to Christ, your Brother,
And put on Him your burden,
And take from him His pardon.

For He who made the earth,
And gave you second birth,
Will all his children cherish;
Though brick and mortar perish, 
The word still sounds from Zion,
The truth the poor rely on.

Will he not judge for us,
Who gives us righteousness?
Who made the ear will hear us,
Who gave us life is near us,
And he will soon translate us
To joys that now await us.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

On Matthew Six: For Stuart Floyd

Come, sing the praise of God the Father,
Who made us and sustains His own,
Let all God’s children sing together,
Lift up your voice to Him alone,
Who keeps us throughout all our days,
And only He deserves our praise.

Why give your heart to love an idol,
Who cannot give a single thing?
To leave your God is suicidal -
What good can Mammon-worship bring?
What wound can money ever heal?
What truth can food or clothes reveal?

Consider once the birds of heaven,
They don’t plant grain to store away;
Yet God to them their food has given,
Are we not worth much more than they?
Our worry cannot make us grow,
Or any other good bestow.

Consider flowers of the meadow,
That neither toil nor sell their wares,
Yet Solomon is but a shadow
Compared to glory that is theirs;
If God clothes grass that fades away,
Will he not give you clothes today?

How blindly does the world go straying!
She clings to what her hands have made;
Her confidence in money laying,
Her glory short and soon to fade;
Dear God, save us from trusting in
What only leads our hearts to sin!

Our need is known to God our Father;
He sent His Son from realms above,
To take our flesh, become our Brother,
And show the Kingdom of His love,
Where sinners find a gracious God,
And help upon the narrow road.

Was Jesus fed upon the mountain,
When He was starved of Heav’nly love?
And yet his body is a fountain,
That pours down pardon from above;
Unclothed and shamed he met the cross
With innocence to cover us. 

So seek first what our Father gives us,
The righteousness of Christ, His Son,
That calls us righteous and revives us
To trust in what our Lord has done,
Which saves us from idolatry,
As from our sins it sets us free.

Psalm 137: For Hans

Sing, dear Christians, songs of Zion,
Don't forget the poor and weak.
Sing the doctrine of the Spirit,
Sing the truth that sinners seek;
While you wander by the river
Of a Babylonian land,
Sing of Him sent to deliver
Captives from the devil's hand.

True, the world still serves the devil,
Yes, she flaunts her wealth and pride,
True, our flesh still longs for evil,
Still it casts the truth aside;
Stronger is the truth of Jesus,
And His wounds this truth maintain:
By His death he will release us
From the shackles of our sin.

Far more beauteous than the heaven,
That declares God's glory here,
Are the souls by God forgiven
When before Him they appear;
For the Christ, their God and Brother
Purifies them with his Word,
He alone, and there's none other,
Is the Man whom they call Lord.

Vengeance soon will come, my brothers,
When our enemies and foes
See their daughters and their mothers
See the evil they impose;
What was once a sweet seduction,
What they sang to mock our grief,
Now becomes their souls' destruction,
Judgment on their unbelief.

5. Don't forget, my soul, the mercy
That was shed by Christ my God!
Jesus, make my spirit thirsty
For Your rich, forgiving blood.
You have faced the condemnation
That all unbelievers see;
Sing to me Your free salvation
In the death you died for me.

O Jerusalem, my mother,
If for Christ no song I bring,
If my tongue should praise another,
Let my mouth then cease to sing;
What but Jesus' precious merit

Keeps us trusting Him through death?
He will also give His Spirit,
Teaching us to sing the faith.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Trinity 17: For Becky

God grant us to walk worthily
In kindness and humility,
To take on earth the lowest seat
And serve with patience at His feet.

What has this world of pomp and pride?
She casts God's word of truth aside.
She always seeks the highest place,
But soon will fall into disgrace.

Christ, as You left Your praise above
To serve us here in humble love,
So let us cast our pride away
And glory in Your cross today.

If now Your blood for sinners pleads,
And satisfies the hungry's needs,
Then You will also honor them
Who carry one another's shame.

Your gentle voice can but invite
An easy yolk, a burden light,
For You who give the weary rest
Bring comfort also to th' oppressed.

Our works cannot bring unity,
Your Word alone joins us to be
One body by one Spirit's bath,
That saves us all from sin and wrath.

One Lord has called us into light
And makes us righteous in His sight;
One faith knows God who rules all things,
One Church in earth and heaven sings:

Glory to God, the Father, Son,
And Holy Spirit, Three in One;
To You, O blessed Trinity,
Be praise now and eternally.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Fallen Star: By Pr. Tim Rake

Chrismed cherub wondrous made, 
master creature with gems inlaid, 
tapestry of life celestial, 
set o'er powers of the heavens and terrestrial, 
finest art of heaven's craft, 
gleaming tip of the guardian shaft, 
with voice symphonic, 
sounding an instrumental melody harmonic, 
crowned with wisdom's sacred sum, 
and chief of all His works so begun, 
why, with such adornment, curved you inward? 
Why, in pride self-loving, turned you sinward? 
Why, to Jehovah, your Creator, 
did you become His accuser and His traitor? 

In your ambition jealous driven, 
grasping for what could be only given, 
you sought the Northern Summit for your throne, 
to claim God's likeness for your own, 
and take from His true heir and Son, 
all that was to come and done. 

One third of heaven's princes you did entice, 
turning flaming winds of virtue into vice, 
and with that rabble rouged and ready, 
you aimed to overthrow foundations sure and steady, 
succeeding only there to find, 
it was the folly of a maddened mind. 

O Lucifer, brightest of the heavenly host, 
by pride, by pomp and by benighted boast, 
(having walked among the first Eden's fiery coals), 
your beauty you corrupted whole, 
you lost your station as the morning star, 
and received at justice's righteous bar, 
judgment and the thunderbolt that thrust you down so far. 

Rage unquenched, you seduced His mortals, 
and entering them through auditory portals, 
pulled them to the dust of death, 
sucking from them life and breath. 

Despite the works of darkness you have wrought, 
their woeful end shall come to naught, 
since in the trap you laid for those you sought, 
your own cloven hoof has been secured and caught, 
and they, by blood that freedom bought, 
have been granted heaven's holy and eternal lot.

Pentecost Hymn: with a verse against the fanatics

Praise the Spirit of our Savior,
Giver of eternal life;
Lord, adored by all forever,
Counselor in shame and strife.
He gives gifts no man can merit:
Faith and fruits that faith will show;
Only God the Holy Spirit
Plants the seed and makes it grow.
From the Son and from the Father
He proceeds to call the lost;
Nations, tongues and tribes to gather
In the name of which we boast;
Now to us is freely offered
All the good that Christ has done,
Since the death that Jesus suffered
Pardon for our sins has won.
Let fanatics flaunt their spirit,
Claiming gifts as faith’s reward;
Why should heretics inherit
What confirmed th’ apostles’ word?
Tongues shall end and knowledge falter,
Prophesies in time will cease,
But the gifts of font and altar
Still give guilty sinners peace.
Even in the midst of sorrow,
Love will rule and comfort us,
Joy will wake us in the morrow,
Peace will follow Jesus’ grace.
In the midst of pain comes patience;
Kindness speaks the Spirit’s word;
Goodness grows from every conscience
That through faith has grasped our Lord.
Gentle was our Lord and lowly,
So is every Christian soul
Whom the Holy One makes holy,
Freely giving self control,
All to serve and help our neighbor,
All in faith toward God above;
Faith alone can work such labor,
God alone can give such love.
Holy Spirit we adore You,
Comforter, to you we cry;
Paraclete, we fall before you,
On your promise we rely.
Take our prayers to God in heaven;
To the Father, to the Son,
To you, Lord, be glory given,
While unending ages run.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Sin and Righteousness

What righteousness does God demand,
That is not good and precious?
How can the guilty hope to stand
While mired in vices vicious?
For with a heart that flees from God
Man always takes the wider road,
Led on by sin's seduction
To death and to destruction.

As dogs return to their own filth,
A fool returns to folly,
But never could his works or wealth
Give help to make him holy.
For by his pow'rs alone he must
Be bound to sin and then to dust,
And find for his transgression
God's righteous condemnation.

Nor let the fool think that his guilt
Is but a fleeting feeling,
All flesh is grass and soon must wilt
When God speaks wrath, revealing
The secrets of our hearts inside,
The sins we thought that we could hide -
Then shall the unbelieving,
Exchange their joy for grieving.

Lord God, I scarcely lift my eyes,
For shame has filled my spirit,
For sins I know that You despise
I grieved Your Holy Spirit,
I cast Him out and let him in
Who is the author of my sin,
The devil who deceives me
And then in judgment leaves me.

Will you forgive the sin that taints
My soul with fear and sorrow?
Will You revive the soul that faints,
Despairing of tomorrow?
Have you the pow'r that I do not
To wash and cleanse each sinful blot
For which I beg remission
In tears and in contrition?

There is a righteousness for you
That you could not discover,
Revealed apart from what you do,
Apart from what you suffer.
It is the righteousness of God,
Who took on flesh and shed his blood,
To save his lost creation
From sin and from damnation.

Yes, Lord, I've known it once before,
And gladly did believe it,
But now again I've closed the door -
How can I still receive it?
I've crucified my Lord again,
How can a sacrifice remain
For me, who gave up heaven
So freely to me given?

The sin you've  done is deep and sore,
I know the guilt you suffer;
But I have grace and mercy more
Than sins that you could offer.
What sin is there in you to see
That did not pierce and torment me?
What guilt is on your conscience
I did not bear with patience?

But Lord, too often I have strayed,
And now I see inside me
No faith to grasp what you have said -
All comfort is denied me.
And my experience will tell
That I am destined still for hell,
My faith is surely taken,
And I must be forsaken.

What, will you anger God some more,
Or tell Him He is lying?
Will you despise the pain I bore,
The peace I won by dying?
Or don't you think I know your grief?
So give Me now your unbelief,
And take My Holy Spirit,
Who clothes you with My merit.

Is this pure robe for me to wear,
Who am impure by nature?
Yes, it is yours with Me to share,
You are a new-born creature.
But what of all my sin and shame?
It is no more, you bear My name,
And with God's sons can gather
To call My God your Father.  

What love is this that gives me tears
To weep with joy and gladness?
It is the love that stills your fears
And comforts you in sadness.
This mercy that no end can see
Still sets the burdened conscience free,
Declaring you forgiven,
A child and heir of heaven. 

Rogate Sunday: We Know That God Will Hear Our Prayer

We know that God will hear our pray’r,
When we ask through Christ our Lord. 
His command is clear and sure,
He is faithful to His Word.
All we ask the Father for
He will give to us and more.

The world is full of sin and need;
Christ is full of grace and pow’r;
Let the wicked flaunt their greed,
God will feed us every hour.
Seek we first His righteousness,
He will give all things to us.

Yes, how could He who did not spare
His own Son for sinners’ sakes,
Fail to save us from despair,
When our heart for sorrow breaks?
How could He who gave His Son
Fail to let His will be done?

There’s nothing that this world can give
That will last beyond the grave;
Nothing that can make us live;
Nothing that has pow’r to save;
Only Jesus’ precious blood
Brings us pure before our God.

It is His good and gracious will
That we turn from sin each day,
Trusting Christ our Savior still.
If we fall and go astray
Still He calls us back again
To forgive us of our sin.

Lord God, our Father, answer us
For the sake of Christ, Your Son;
Let us all that peace possess
Which His wounds and stripes have won.
Let Your Spirit guide us on,
Till our prayers on earth are done.

Ascension Day Hymn

O Christ, our God,
Your flesh and blood
Fill all of earth and heaven,
Ascended now,
Still here below,
You speak our sins forgiven.
And Satan must
Now lick the dust
And Hell before you cower;
And we by faith
Will conquer death,
By your own grace and power.

Believers, why,
Look to the sky,
As if your Lord were leaving?
He still is here,
And will appear,
But now His gifts is giving.
His holy Word,
The Spirit’s sword,
Still pierces through our spirit,
Rebukes our sin,
And enters in
With Jesus’ blood and merit.

True God of God,
He climbed the road
That led him to the Father,
Whose law and will
He did fulfill,
Our servant and our brother.
Sin must retreat
Beneath his feet,
As he sends strength from Zion:
Apostles teach,
And pastors preach
The truth the poor rely on. 

So fear no harm -
See Christ disarm
The power of the devil.
At God’s right hand
Our Lord will stand
And rescue us from evil.
He fills all things
And thus he brings
His sacraments of healing,
His Gospel’s pow’r,
Which every hour,
His mercy is revealing. 

Cry out to him,
Let doubt not dim
The praises of your Savior!
The means of grace,
His Holy Place,
Assure you of his favor;
And seated there
With Christ you share
A heritage unfading,
Which through all tears,
And pains and fears
In Heav’n for you is waiting.