Archive for the ‘The Lutheran Hymnal (1941)’ Tag

Feast of Johann Cruger (April 8)   Leave a comment

 

Above:  Johann Cruger

Image in the Public Domain

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As a writer and editor of tunes this distinguished musician occupies a special niche in the hymnic hall of fame.

–Armin Haeussler, The Story of Our Hymns:  The Handbook to the Hymnal of the Evangelical and Reformed Church (1952)

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Johann Cruger ranks among the greatest composers in the Lutheran Church.  He, born at Gross-Breesen, Brandenburg, on April 9, 1598, studied at Guben, Sorau, and Breslau before studying at the Jesuit school at Olmutz then the Poets’ School at Regensburg.  At Regensburg Cruer studied music under Paul Homberber, who had been a student of Giovanni Gabrieli.  Next our saint traveled in Austria, Hungary, Bohemia, and Moravia before settling in Berlin in 1615.  Then he worked as a private tutor until 1620, when he began to study music and theology at the University of Wittenberg.

Cruger settled at Berlin again in 1622, when he became the cantor (organist and choirmaster) at St. Nicholas Church and a teacher at the Gray Cloister.  Our saint held both posts for the rest of his life–about 40 years.  Cruger composed at least 122 chorale tunes, 18 of which remained in widespread use at the times of the publication of The Lutheran Hymnal (1941) and Lutheran Worship (1982).  In 1657 Paul Gerhardt became the deacon at St. Nicholas Church.  They became friends and Cruger set 21 texts by Gerhardt to music.

Cruger edited and published five important volumes:

  1. Neues vollkommliches Gesangbuch (1640), with 161 hymns;
  2. Praxis Pietatis Melica (first edition, 1644; forty-fourth edition, 1736); the twenty-third edition (1688) included 1114 hymns; the forty-third edition had 1316 hymns;
  3. Geistliche Kirchenmelodien (1649), with 161 hymns;
  4. Geistliche Lieder und Psalmen (1653), with 92 tunes and no texts; and
  5. Psalmodia Sacra (1657), with 319 texts; intended for Huguenot immigrants.

Cruger died at Berlin on February 23, 1662.  He was 63 years old.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 16, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT ADALBALD OF OSTEVANT, SAINT RICTRUDIS OF MARCHIENNES, AND THEIR RELATIONS

THE FEAST OF SAINT ABRAHAM KIDUNAIA, ROMAN CATHOLIC HERMIT, AND SAINT MARY OF EDESSA, ROMAN CATHOLIC ANCHORESS

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN CACCIAFRONTE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK, ABBOT, BISHOP, AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF SAINT MEGINGAUD OF WURZGURG, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK AND ABBOT

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Holy God, whose majesty surpasses all human definitions and capacity to grasp,

thank you for those (especially Johann Cruger)

who have nurtured and encouraged the reverent worship of you.

May their work inspire us to worship you in knowledge, truth, and beauty.

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

1 Chronicles 25:1-8

Psalm 145

Revelation 15:1-4

John 4:19-26

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 27, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JAMES INTERCISUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYR

THE FEAST OF HENRY SLOANE COFFIN, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN THEOLOGIAN

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Feast of Petrus Nigidius and Georg Nigidius (November 25)   Leave a comment

Allendorf (1655)

Above:  Allendorf in 1655, by Matthaus Merian

Image in the Public Domain

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PETRUS NIGIDIUS (1501-1583)

German Lutheran Educator and Composer

perhaps the father of

GEORG NIGIDIUS, A.K.A. GEORG NIEGE (NOVEMBER 25, 1525-JULY 4, 1588)

German Lutheran Composer and Hymn Writer

The relationship (if any) between Petrus and George Nigidius is uncertain, but both men were from Allendorf, Hesse, and had connections to nearby Marburg.

Petrus Nigidius (1501-1583) was a professional educator.  He studied at the University of Erfurt and served as rector at Eschwege, Allendorf, and Gottingen.  Once he visited Wittenberg, where he heard Martin Luther (1483-1546) and Philipp Melanchthon (1497-1560) speak.  Our saint served briefly as rector in Darmstadt and Luneburg before returning to Allendorf to teach.  Then he taught at Cassel from 1539 to 1549.  From 1549 to 1561 our saint worked as the superintendent at Marburg.  There he remained, teaching history then physics starting in 1561.  Nigidius retired in 1575.

Among his non-academic contributions were at least one melody and a German-Latin catechism.  The catechism dated to 1554.  The melody became the basis for a hymn tune, DIE NACHT IST KOMMEN.

Georg Nigidius, born on November 25, 1525, spent most of his life as a soldier and filling civil offices.  At the age of nine years he became a pupil of cantor Georg Kern at Cassel.  Thus his musical education began.  Our saint graduated with his bachelor’s degree from the University of Marburg in 1546.  Then he entered the military.  Nigidius spent the rest of his life alternating between military and civil positions, settling down at Rintelin in 1587.  There he died of a stroke on July 4, 1588.

His hobbies included composing poems and music.  Nigidius had sent The Seven Penitential Psalms Together with All Manner of Christian Hymns of Praise and Thanksgiving, and Also Prayers and Passages of Scripture Composed and Compiled by Georg Niege of Allendorf, a Captain to Nicolaus Selnecker (1532-1592), theologian and hymn writer.  Selnecker attempted unsuccessfully to find a publisher for it.  Nevertheless, some of the texts in that volume appeared in hymnals during the 1500s.  The great bulk of our saint’s compositions remained forgotten in the royal library in Berlin until Dr. P. Althaus rediscovered them.

Among the texts by Georg Nigidius in circulation since the 1500s was Aus meines Herzens Grunde.  Stanzas #1, 2, 5, and 6 of the translation from The Lutheran Hymnal (1941) follow:

My inmost heart now raises

In this fair morning hour

A song of thankful praises

To Thine almighty pow’r,

O God, upon Thy throne.

To honor and adore Thee,

I bring my praises before Thee

Thro’ Christ, Thine only Son.

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For Thou from me hast warded

All perils of the night;

From ev’ry harm hast guarded

My soul till morning light.

To Thee I humbly cry,

O Savior, have compassion

And pardon my transgression;

Have mercy, Thine only Son.

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God shall do my advising,

Whose might with wisdom blends;

May the bless rest and rising,

My efforts, means, and ends!

To God, forever blest,

Will I with mine confide me,

And willing let Him guide me

As seemeth to Him best.

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Amen I say, not fearing

That God rejects my prayer;

I doubt not He is hearing

And granting me His care.

Thus I go on my way

And do not look behind me,

But ply the task assigned me;

God’s help shall be my stay.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 23, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT DESIDERIUS/DIDIER OF VIENNE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF SAINT GUIBERT OF GORZE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN BAPTIST ROSSI, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST

THE FEAST OF NICOLAUS COPERNICUS, SCIENTIST

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Almighty God, you have surrounded us with a great cloud of witnesses:

Grant that we, encouraged by the good examples of your servants

Petrus Nigidius and Georg Nigidius,

may persevere in running the race that is set before us,

until at last we may with them attain to your eternal joy;

through Jesus Christ, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Micah 6:6-8

Psalm 15

Hebrews 12:1-2

Matthew 25:31-40

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 724

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Feast of Johann(es) Matthaus Meyfart (November 9)   Leave a comment

Fort, Coburg

Above:  The Fort, Coburg, Thuringia, Germany, 1890

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-ppmsca-01086

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JOHANN(ES) MATTHAUS MEYFART (NOVEMBER 9, 1590-JANUARY 26, 1642)

German Lutheran Educator and Devotional Writer

I grew up in rural United Methodist congregations in southern Georgia, U.S.A., in the 1980s and early 1990s.   The dominant form of piety in those churches was akin to that one found in neighboring Southern Baptist churches.  It was like that old joke that Methodists are Baptists who can read.  Then, in late 1991, I became an Episcopalian, for my inherent piety was closer to Roman Catholicism yet somewhat Protestant.  Five years later, shortly before the presidential election, I watched a dual biography of President Bill Clinton and Senator Robert Dole on public television.  The narrator described the nature of United Methodism in Kansas, prompting me to think that I preferred that to the character of United Methodism in rural southern Georgia.  A few years ago I started exploring Lutheranism via books, such as the Book of Concord and various service books-hymnals.  I have enjoyed this ongoing process, which has convinced me that German and Scandinavian hymnody is superior to the one inflicted upon me as a child.  Unfortunately, that inferior hymnody has been pursuing me even into The Episcopal Church during the last few years, prompting me sometimes to resort to speaking in two languages within one conversation, using French strategically.  On other occasions I have maintained a passive-aggressive silence instead.  But I digress, as much as I remain an unrepentant European classicist.

Johann(es) Matthaus Meyfart (1590-1642) contributed to the treasures of Lutheran hymnody.  His father was a Lutheran pastor at Wahlwinkel, near Gotha, in the Holy Roman Empire.  Our saint’s mother was visiting her parents at Jena when she gave birth on November 9, 1590.  Meyfart studied at the Universities of Wittenberg and Jena (M.A., 1611; D.D. 1624).  His career was mainly an academic one.  He taught philosophy at Jena for a few years before moving to Coburg in 1616.  There he served as a professor at the gymnasium until becoming director in 1623.  At that school, as The Handbook to the Lutheran Hymnal (1942) informs me,

he had great moral power.

–Page 546

To state that differently, in the words of The Hymnal 1940 Companion (1949),

he exerted a remarkable influence on all his pupils.

–Page 504

Our saint’s tenure at Coburg ended due to his dissertation on church discipline, De Disciplina Ecclesiastica (1633).  Many of his colleagues complained to the government because they disagreed with the dissertation’s contents.

The future Duke Ernst I of Gotha came to Meyfart’s rescue, offering him a new position.  Our saint became a professor of theology at the University of Erfurt.  In 1634 he became the Rector of the University.  And, starting in 1636, Meyfart served as the pastor of the Prediger Church in town.  Controversy followed our saint, for another writing on the subject of church discipline caused problems for him at Erfurt.  These controversies affected Meyfart adversely.

Meyfart seemed drawn to controversies.  He wrote a text, Anti-Becanus, in the context of a debate with Martin Becanus (1563-1624), a Jesuit, regarding Socinianism.  Becanus condemned not only Socinianism but all Protestant theology.  He and Meyfart, therefore, had the denunciation of Socinianism in common.  Our saint, however, was a Lutheran, therefore in a position to argue against Becanus.

Socinianism is multi-faceted; here is a partial explanation:

  1. The Roman Catholic Church condemns Socinianism as a heresy.
  2. Socinianism teaches that Jesus was purely human nature, that God adopted him as the Son of God, that Jesus embodied the Word or will of God, that Jesus is nevertheless worthy of adoration, and that God bestowed the government of the world on him after the Ascension.
  3. Therefore Socinianism denies the Holy Trinity.  In fact, Socinianism influenced the development of Unitarian theology, especially with regard to the nature of Jesus.

Meyfart wrote devotional works, from which hymns came.  These books indicated great literary skill and a firm grasp of theology.  Eduard Emil Koch (1809-1871) wrote of Meyfart in 1871.  Our saint was

a German Dante, full of learning and fantasy, an individual that one would seldom encounter anywhere.

The Handbook to the Lutheran Hymnal (1941) indicated that these devotional books were

noted for their vivid portrayals and their earnest calls to repentance and amendment of life.

–Page 546

One of Meyfart’s hymns, drawn from Tuba Novissima (1626), exists in English in various translations and altered forms thereof.  Catherine Winkworth (1827-1878) published her translation in the second volume of her Lyra Germanica (1858).  (Consult pages 237-239, O reader.)  The Lutheran Hymnal (1941) contains an altered version of the Winkworth translation as “Jerusalem, Thou City Fair and High.”  The Lutheran Book of Worship (1978) calls the hymn “Jerusalem, Whose Towers Touch the Skies.”  Lutheran Worship (1982) and the Lutheran Service Book (2006) list the hymn as “Jerusalem, O City Fair and High.”  William Rollinson Whittingham (1805-1879), Episcopal Bishop of Maryland from 1840 to 1879, prepared his own translation, which debuted in Hymns for Church and Home, Compiled by Members of the Protestant Episcopal Church, as a Contribution to Any Addition That May Be Made to the Hymns Now Attached to the Prayer-Book (1860):

Jerusalem! high tower thy glorious walls,

Would God I were in thee!

Desire of thee my longing heart enthralls,

Desire at home to be;

Wide from the world outleaping,

O’er hill and vale and plain,

My soul’s strong wing is sweeping

Thy portals to attain.

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O gladsome day and yet more gladsome hour!

When shall that hour have come

When my rejoicing soul its own free power

May use in going home,

Itself to Jesus giving

In trust to his own hand,

To dwell among the living

In that blest fatherland?

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A moment’s time, the twinkling of an eye

Shall be enough, to soar

In buoyant exultation, through the sky

And reach the heavenly shore.

Elijah’s chariot bringing

The homeward traveller there;

Glad troops of angels winging

It onward through the air.

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Great fastness thou of honor! thee I greet!

Throw wide thy gracious gate,

An entrance free to give these longing feet;

At last released, though late,

From wretchedness and sinning,

And life’s long weary way;

And now, of God’s gift, winning

Eternity’s bright day.

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What throng is this, what noble troop, that pours,

Arrayed in beauteous guise,

Out through the glorious city’s open doors,

To greet my wondering eyes?

The host of Christ’s elected,

The jewels that he bears

In his own crown, selected

To wipe away my tears.

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Of prophets great, and patriarchs high, a band

That once has borne the cross,

With all the company that won that land,

By counting gain for loss,

Now float in freedom’s lightness,

From tyrant’s chains set free;

And shine like suns in brightness,

Arrayed to welcome me.

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Once more at last arrived they welcome there,

To beauteous Paradise;

Where sense can scarce its full fruition bear

Or tongue for praise suffice;

Glad hallelujahs ringing

With rapturous rebound,

And rich hosannahs singing

Eternity’s long round.

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Unnumbered choirs before the Lamb’s high throne

There shout the jubilee,

With loud resounding peal and sweetest tone,

In blissful ecstasy:

A hundred thousand voices

Take up the wondrous song;

Eternity rejoices

God’s praises to prolong.

Meyfart died at Erfurt on January 26, 1642.

Reading about Meyfart reminds me of the fact that many gems of German Lutheran hymnody do not exist in any English-language translation.  That fact makes me with that the opposite were true.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 22, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF RICHARD BIGGS, ACTOR

THE FEAST OF GEORG GOTTFRIED MULLER, GERMAN-AMERICAN MORAVIAN MINISTER AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF JULIA BULKLEY CADY CORY, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN HYMN WRITER

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Johann(es) Matthaus Meyfart and others, who have composed hymn texts.

May we, as you guide us,

find worthy hymn texts to be icons,

through which we see you.

In the Name of God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 44:1-3a, 5-15

Psalm 147

Revelation 5:11-14

Luke 2:8-20

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 20, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS AMATOR OF AUXERRE AND GERMANUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; SAINT MAMERTINUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT; AND SAINT MARCIAN OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK

THE FEAST OF JOHANNES BUGENHAGEN, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARCELLINUS OF EMBRUN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF OLAVUS AND LAURENTIUS PETRI, RENEWERS OF THE CHURCH

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Feast of Albert E. R. Brauer (October 16)   Leave a comment

Australian Flag

Above:  The Flag of Australia

Image in the Public Domain

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ALBERT ERNEST RICHARD BRAUER (AUGUST 1, 1866-OCTOBER 16, 1949)

Australian Lutheran Minister and Hymn Translator

Albert E. R. Brauer was a minister of the old Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Australia, which changed its name to the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Australia in 1944 before merging into the Lutheran Church in Australia in 1966.

Southern Australia 1967

Above:  Southeastern Australia, 1967

Image Source = Rand McNally World Atlas–Imperial Edition (1967)

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

Brauer entered the world near Blumberg (Birdwood since World War I), South Australia, Australia.  (Birdwood is immediately west of Adelaide, South Australia, Australia.  He worked as a clerk in an office in Adelaide before studying law at Prince Alfred College (Wesleyan), Adelaide.  Our saint never became an attorney, for he discerned that the ordained ministry was his vocation.  He began to study theology under the tutelage of Pastor (Carl Friedrich) Adolph Strempel (1831-1908).  The Prussian-born Strempel, who had lived in Australia since 1847, was a physician and a minister at Hahndorf.  (Hahndorf, which became Ambleside during World War I, has reverted to its former name.  The town is immediately west of Adelaide, east of Murray Bridge and Tailem Bend, and south of Birdwood.)  Strempel had become the pastor at St. Michael’s Lutheran Church, Hahndorf, in 1855.  Brauer completed his theological education at Concordia Theological Seminary, Springfield, Illiniois, an institution of the Missouri Synod, from 1887 to 1890.  Then he returned to Australia.

Brauer served God ably as a minister in Australia.  From 1890 to 1896 our saint served at Dimboola, Victoria.  (Dimboola is northeast of Horsham.)  He also founded congregations for settlers and taught part-time at Murtoa College, Murtoa, Victoria.  (Murtua is immediately east of Horsham.)  In 1893 he married Ottlie Lydia Strempel (1867-1947), daughter of Adolph Strempel.  In 1896 Brauer started teaching at the Lutheran school at Hahndorf, the town where his father-in-law was still the minister of St. Michael’s Church.  Strempel became the President of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Australia in 1897, serving until 1903, two years after he retired from St. Michael’s Church.  Brauer became the assistant pastor of St. Michael’s Church in 1897.  Four years later, when Strempel retired, our saint became the senior pastor, a position he held until 1922.  That year he transferred to St. John’s Lutheran Church, Melbourne.  In the Melbourne area he also served at the associated parishes at Bacchus Marsh and Clarkefield, and as a city missionary, working among migrants.  Brauer retired in 1942.

Brauer also served on the denominational level.  He served as Strempel’s secretary when his father-in-law was the synodical president.  In 1913, when the Synod started publishing The Australian Lutheran, a church journal in the English language (as opposed to the traditional German), Brauer served as its first editor.  He had completed that assignment by 1918.  Our saint also chaired the committee for the first English-language Australian Lutheran hymnal, the Australian Lutheran Hymn-Book (1925), to which he contributed translations.  Brauer also researched and wrote Under the Southern Cross, a history of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Australia.  The publication of the book occurred in 1956, seven years after the author had died.

The Lutheran Hymnal (1941) contains an altered version of Brauer’s 1925 translation of a text by Johann D. Herrnschmidt (1675-1723) from 1714.  I have sought the unaltered translation unsuccessfully, so the altered version follows:

Praise the Almighty, my soul, adore Him!

Yea, I will laud Him until death.

With songs and anthems I’ll come before Him

As long as He doth give me breath.

From Him my life and all things came;

Bless, O my soul, His holy name.

Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

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Trust not in princes, they are but mortal;

Earth-born they are and soon decay.

Naught are their counsels at life’s last portal,

When the dark grave doth claim its prey.

Since, then, no man can help afford,

Trust he in Christ, our God and Lord.

Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

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Blessed, yea, blessed is he forever

Whose help is in the Lord most high,

Whom from the saving faith naught can sever

And who in hope to Christ draws nigh.

To all who trust in Him, our Lord,

Counsel and aid He doth afford.

Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

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God the Almighty, the great Creator,

Ruler of sky and land and sea,

All things ordained, and sooner or later,

They come to pass unfailingly.

His rule is over rich and poor,

His promises ever standeth sure.

Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

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Penitent sinners, for mercy crying,

Pardon and peace from Him obtain;

Ever the wants of the poor supplying,

Their faithful God He doth remain.

He helps His children in distress,

The widows and the fatherless.

Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

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Praise, O mankind, who the name so holy

Of Him, who doth such wondrous things!

All that hath being, to praise Him solely,

With happy heart, its “Amen” sings!

Children of God, with angel host

Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!

Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

Our saint died at Melbourne, Victoria, on October 16, 1949.  His son, Albert Ernest Brauer (1903-1972), was a physician, as Adolph Strempel had been.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 13, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT SYLVESTER II, BISHOP OF ROME

THE FEAST OF ISAAC WILLIAMS, WELSH ANGLICAN PRIEST, SCHOLAR, AND HYMN WRITER

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Holy God, whose majesty surpasses all human definitions and capacity to grasp,

thank you for those (especially Albert E. R. Brauer)

who have nurtured and encouraged the reverent worship of you.

May their work inspire us to worship you in knowledge, truth, and beauty.

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

1 Chronicles 25:1-8

Psalm 145

Revelation 15:1-4

John 4:19-26

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 27, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JAMES INTERCISUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYR

THE FEAST OF HENRY SLOANE COFFIN, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN THEOLOGIAN

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Feast of Birgitte Katerine Boye (October 16)   1 comment

Copenhagen 1807

Above:  A Map of Copenhagen, 1807

Image in the Public Domain

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BIRGITTE KATERINE JOHANSEN HERTZ BOYE (MARCH 7, 1742-OCTOBER 17, 1824)

Danish Lutheran Poet, Playwright, Hymn Translator, and Hymn Writer

Birgitte Katerine Johansen, born in Gentofte, Denmark, on March 7, 1742, was the eldest of seven children of Jens Johansen, who was in the royal service, and Dorotea Henriksdatter.  In 1763 our saint married Herman Hertz (1734-1775), the newly appointed forester of the Vordingborg district.  The couple had four children in five years.  Birgitte still found time to study German, French, and English, mastering the written forms of those languages and enjoying literature in them.  She also began to compose and translate hymns.

Our saint contributed 124 original hymns and 24 translations to what became A Hymnal, or a Collection of Old and New Hymns, for the Honor of God and the Edification of His Church (1778), or Guldberg’s Hymnal, a project of Bishop Ludwig Harboe and Ove Guldberg, secretary to Crown Prince Frederik, later King Frederik VI (reigned 1808-1839).  The purpose of Guldberg’s Hymnal was to replace The Ordained New Church Hymnbook (1699), or Kingo’s Hymnbook.  The hymnal of 1778, like Erik Pontoppidan‘s Den nye Psalmebog (1740) and Bishop Balle’s Evangelisk-Kristelig Salmebog (1797), failed to replace Kingo’s Hymnbook.  Guldberg’s Hymnbook did, however, introduce many fine hymns to Danish Lutherans.

Our saint began to submit original and translated texts to Guldberg’s Hymnbook in 1773.  During the preparation of that hymnal the Crown eliminated Herman Hertz’s forestry position, harming the family’s finances.  Birgitte wrote to Bishop Harboe, who spoke to Guldberg, who interceded with Crown Prince Frederik, who paid for the education of the Hertzes’ sons for a few years.  And, after Herman Hertz died in 1775, the Crown Prince supported the family financially for three years, until Birgitte married Hans Boye (1745-1815), a customs inspector and judicial advisor in Copenhagen.

Birgitte was also a poet and a playwright.  She composed nationalistic poems, and performances of many of her plays occurred at royal events.  Her translations of Psalms 1-89 debuted in three volumes from 1781 to 1785.  To many English-speaking Christians, however, her hymns have proven most famous among her works.  The Service Book and Hymnal (1958) includes the following translation (by Fred C. M. Hanson, 1888-1965) of an Easter hymn:

Our Lord is risen from the dead,

And rays of glory crown his head,

New hope has come to mortals.

O sing, our King now is risen!

Come and listen

To the story,

Christ the Lord is risen in glory!

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He rose in power to smite his foes,

He lives to free us from our woes

And open heaven’s portals.

O sing, our King now is risen!

Come and listen

To the story,

Christ the Lord is risen in glory!

The Lutheran Hymnal (1941) offers the following Christmas text, in an English translation by Carl Doving (1867-1937) from 1911:

Rejoice, rejoice, this happy morn,

A Savior unto us is born,

The Christ, the Lord of Glory.

His lowly birth in Bethlehem

The angels from on high proclaim

And sing redemption’s story.

My soul, extol God’s great favor,

Bless Him ever

For salvation,

Give Him praise and adoration.

Our saint died at Copenhagen, Denmark, on October 17, 1824.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 13, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT SYLVESTER II, BISHOP OF ROME

THE FEAST OF ISAAC WILLIAMS, WELSH ANGLICAN PRIEST, SCHOLAR, AND HYMN WRITER

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Birgitte Katerine Boye and others, who have composed and translated hymn texts.

May we, as you guide us,

find worthy hymn texts to be icons,

through which we see you.

In the Name of God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 44:1-3a, 5-15

Psalm 147

Revelation 5:11-14

Luke 2:8-20

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 20, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS AMATOR OF AUXERRE AND GERMANUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; SAINT MAMERTINUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT; AND SAINT MARCIAN OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK

THE FEAST OF JOHANNES BUGENHAGEN, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARCELLINUS OF EMBRUN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF OLAVUS AND LAURENTIUS PETRI, RENEWERS OF THE CHURCH

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Feast of Kaspar Bienemann (September 12)   Leave a comment

Altenburg Circa 1650

Above:  Altenburg, Circa 1650

Image in the Public Domain

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KASPAR BIENEMANN (JANUARY 3, 1540-SEPTEMBER 12, 1591)

German Lutheran Minister and Hymn Writer

One of the pleasures of consulting hymnals of different denominations is expanding my grasp of hymnody.  Not surprisingly, hymnals of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS) contain translations of German hymns–fine ones.

Kaspar Bienemann (1540-1591), a native of Nuremburg, was a son of a burgess of that city.  Our saint studied at Leipzig, Jena, and Tubingen.  Emperor Maximilian II (reigned 1564-1576) sent our saint to Greece, the part of the Ottoman Empire, as the translator for a diplomatic mission.  In Greece Bienemann took the alternative surname Melissander, or “Bee man.”  Upon his return to Germany our saint became a professor at Lauingen, Bavaria.  Later he served as the abbot at Lahr then as the pastor and General Superintendent at Pfalz, Neuberg.  The Synergistic Controversy forced his resignation.

The Synergistic Controversy focused on the role of human free will in salvation.  The official position of the Lutheran Church was that three causes–God’s Word, the Holy Spirit, and human free will not resisting God’s Word–cooperate to convert a person.  Other Lutherans–Gnesio-Lutherans, or Flacians–so named after Matthias Flacius (1520-1575)–affirmed total depravity (in the style of Double Predestinarian Calvinists), therefore the inability of human free will to respond positively to God’s beckon.  The term “synergistic” referred to the incorporation of human free will into the process of salvation, as in the Formula of Concord, Article II, which makes clear that this theological position is not Semi-Pelagianism.  (I read the germane text in my copy of the Book of Concord.)  Bienemann was a Flacian.

This argument sounds like one between Double Predestinarian Calvinists and Arminians or Single Predestinarian Lutherans or Calvinists, does it not?  As for me, I grew up a United Methodist (therefore a proponent of free will as an agent in salvation or damnation) and have become a Single Predestinarian Anglo-Lutheran.

Bienemann’s life continued.  He received his D.D. from the University of Jena in 1571, the same year he became tutor to Crown Prince Friedrich Wilhelm of Sachsen Weimar.  Two years later, however, the Crown Prince’s father, Duke Johann Wilhelm, died, and the Crown Prince was a minor.  A regent controlled the ducal court from 1573 to 1583, when Friedrich Wilhelm began to rule.  With the regency came the influence of Calvinists in the ducal court, so our saint lost his tutoring job.  By 1578 he was pastor and General Superintendent at Altenburg, where he died in 1591.

The English translation of the first stanza of one of our saint’s hymns, Herr, wie du willst, so schick’s mit mir, as The Lutheran Hymnal (1941) contains it, reads:

Lord, as Thou wilt, deal Thou with me;

No other wish I cherish.

In life and death I cling to Thee;

Oh, do not let me perish!

Let not Thy grace from me depart

And grant an ever patient heart

To bear what Thou dost send me.

That text fit well into the life of Kaspar Bienemann.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 13, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT HERMENEGILD, VISIGOTHIC PRINCE AND ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYR

THE FEAST OF SAINT HUGH OF ROUEN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP, ABBOT, AND MONK

THE FEAST OF MIKAEL AGRICOLA, FINNISH LUTHERAN BISHOP OF TALLINN

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Kaspar Bienemann and others, who have composed hymn texts.

May we, as you guide us,

find worthy hymn texts to be icons,

through which we see you.

In the Name of God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 44:1-3a, 5-15

Psalm 147

Revelation 5:11-14

Luke 2:8-20

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 20, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS AMATOR OF AUXERRE AND GERMANUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; SAINT MAMERTINUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT; AND SAINT MARCIAN OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK

THE FEAST OF JOHANNES BUGENHAGEN, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARCELLINUS OF EMBRUN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF OLAVUS AND LAURENTIUS PETRI, RENEWERS OF THE CHURCH

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Feast of William Morton Reynolds (September 5)   Leave a comment

Pennsylvania College, Gettysburg, August 1863

Above:  Pennsylvania College, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, August 1863

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-ppmsca-35100

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WILLIAM MORTON REYNOLDS (MARCH 4, 1812-SEPTEMBER 5, 1876)

U.S. Lutheran Minister, Episcopal Priest, Educator, and Hymn Translator

The name of William Morton Reynolds came to my attention via W. G. Polack, The Handbook to the Lutheran Hymnal, Second Edition (1942).  I am glad that it did.

Reynolds, son of a veteran of the U.S. War for Independence, was a native of Fayette County, Pennsylvania.  He attended Lutheran Theological Seminary, Gettysburg (1828-1830), and Jefferson College, Canonsburg (1830-1832).  Reynolds taught in New Jersey for a year (1832-1833) before becoming the principal of the preparatory department of and Professor of Latin at Pennsylvania College, Gettysburg (1833-1835).  He resigned due to concerns that his abolitionist stance on slavery would alienate Southern donors.  Thus our saint, licensed to preach in 1835 and ordained in the Ministerium of Pennsylvania the following year, served as the pastor of a Lutheran church in Deerfield, New Jersey, for about a year.

Our saint spent most of his career as an educator.  Pennsylvania College called him back to his old job in 1836; there he remained until 1850, when he became the President of Capital University, Columbus, Ohio, the seminary of the Joint Synod of Ohio and Other States.  In 1853 Reynolds left Capital University to become the principal of a female seminary in Easton, Pennyslvania.  After that he served as the principal of a classical school (a forerunner of Muhlenberg College) in Allentown, Pennsylvania.  From 1857 to 1860 our saint served as the President of Illinois State University.  His next post was principal of a female seminary in Chicago.

Reynolds–abolitionist, educator, and liturgist–supported progressive causes in the context of doctrinal orthodoxy.  (There were always prominent Lutherans to his right, however.  He was, therefore, slightly to the right of the Lutheran center at the time.)

  1. Abolitionism, although widely accepted today, was controversial in the 1800s.  It was, sadly, never a majority opinion (even in the North) during the antebellum period.  Other antislavery positions, such as colonization, free soil, and free labor, competed in the marketplace of antislavery arguments.  Many Northerners, however, did not object to slavery.
  2. As for internal Lutheran politics,  the relationship between the Ministerium of Pennsylvania (founded in 1748), the oldest Lutheran jurisdiction in the United States, and the General Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the U.S.A. (1820-1918) was tense.  The Ministerium, a charter member of the General Synod, departed in 1823, citing doctrinal concerns.  It returned thirty years later, only to leave again in 1864, citing doctrinal concerns.  The Ministerium helped to form the more conservative General Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in North America (1867-1918).  The General Synod and the General Council were two of the three bodies which reunited to form the United Lutheran Church in America (1918-1962).  Our saint’s ordination came via the Ministerium in 1836, as I have written already.  Six years later he was chiefly responsible for the formation of the East Pennsylvania Synod, which affiliated with the General Synod and covered the same territory as the Ministerium.
  3. Reynolds and Charles Philip Krauth founded and edited the Evangelical Review, the first issue of which rolled off the presses in July 1849.  The Review was a publication devoted to doctrinal orthodoxy, as Reynolds and Krauth understood it.  Many of our saint’s English-language translations of German hymns appeared in the Review.

Reynolds was a liturgist. He served on the committee which produced Hymns, Original and Selected, for Public and Private Use, in the Evangelical Lutheran Church (1850), a hymnal of the General Synod.  And, as I indicated above, he translated German hymns.  Locating unaltered versions of his translations in my large collection of hymnals (many of them old) has proven challenging.  Even The Lutheran Hymnal (1941) contains an altered translation.  I did find an unaltered text in The Lutheran Hymnary (1935), however.  The last three stanzas of a Christmas hymn, “Come, Thou Savior of Our Race,” a text originally in Latin, were, according to Reynolds:

From the Father forth He came,

And returneth to the same,

Captive leading death and hell:

High the song of triumph tell.

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Equal to the Father now,

Though to dust Thou once didst bow;

Boundless shall Thy kingdom be:

When shall we its glories see?

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Brightly doth Thy manger shine,

Glorious is its light divine:

Let not sin o’ercloud this light,

Ever be our faith thus bright.

Reynolds became an Episcopal priest in 1864 and spent the rest of his life in parish ministry.  He served as the Rector of St. Paul’s Church, Warsaw, Illinois (1865-1871), and Christ Church, Oak Park (then called Harlem), Illinois (1872-1876).  Our saint’s academic pursuits continued, as his annotated translation (1874) of A History of New Sweden; or, the Settlements on the River Delaware, by Israel Acrelius, attests.

The legacy of William Morton Reynolds is a fine one.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 12, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE SECOND SUNDAY OF EASTER, YEAR B

THE FEAST OF ALFRED LEE, PRESIDING BISHOP OF THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH

THE FEAST OF SAINT JULIUS I, BISHOP OF ROME

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM SLOANE COFFIN, SOCIAL ACTIVIST

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Holy God, whose majesty surpasses all human definitions and capacity to grasp,

thank you for those (especially William Morton Reynolds)

who have nurtured and encouraged the reverent worship of you.

May their work inspire us to worship you in knowledge, truth, and beauty.

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

1 Chronicles 25:1-8

Psalm 145

Revelation 15:1-4

John 4:19-26

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 27, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JAMES INTERCISUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYR

THE FEAST OF HENRY SLOANE COFFIN, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN THEOLOGIAN

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