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About Sunday’s Music – Judica-Fifth Sunday in Lent (Passion Sunday)

O Man, Bewail Thy Grievous Sin   The PRELUDE is Johann Sebastian Bach’s (1685-1750) setting of “O Mensch, bewein dein Sünde groß” from the Orgelbüchlein (BWV 622).  The 1996 Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary offers this translation by J.T. Mueller (1885-1967):

O sinner, come thy sin to mourn, So vast and vile that it has borne Christ to this vale of anguish;

Son of a Virgin, sweet and mild, In poverty the Holy Child, Thy Substitute, did languish;

Behold, with faith, God’s only Son! Come nigh and see what Love has done, To save thee from damnation;

The Father cast on Him thy guilt, For thee His precious blood was spilt,

To bless thee with salvation.


O meditate, how painfully, the Lamb of God, on Calvary Has died for thy transgressions;

How dreary was that awful night, Of agony, how great the fight Of His most wondrous Passion!

O Son of God, eternal Word, Divine Redeemer, dearest Lord We marvel at Thy suffering,

For Thy disgrace, and pain, and shame, We’ll ever magnify Thy name,

And praise Thy glorious offering.

Therefore I will forever, Give glory unto Thee   In thanksgiving to Our Lord for the gift of forgiveness through His Son, Christians continually give Him glory.  The ENTRANCE HYMN, “When O’er My Sins I Sorrow” (The Lutheran Hymnal 152) by Justus Gesenius (1601-1673), leads us in thankful praises to Our Lord.  From His throne on high, He becomes a man to shed His blood and die.

Gesenius, after graduating from the University of Jena in 1628, became pastor of St. Magnus Church in Brunswick and later the Cathedral in Hildsheim.  An accomplished theologian and influential, famous preacher, he was the editor of a number of hymnals that served the area around Hanover.





The tune is by renowned musician Michael Praetorius (1571-1621), kantor in Lüneberg, and later served the Duke of Brunswick at Wolfenbüttel.   His major work was a three-volume encyclopedia on the art and practice of music entitled Syntagma Musicum.  It is considered one of the most remarkable examples of musical scholarship in existence.




Where deep for us the spear was dyed, Life’s torrent rushing from His side, To wash us in the precious flood, Where flowed the water and the blood.

The HYMN OF THE DAY, “The Royal Banners Forward Go” (Lutheran Worship 104) is a sixth-century hymn by bishop Venantius Fortunatus (530-609).  This magnificent hymn calls Christians to meditate on Jesus on the cross.  The mystery of the incarnation finds its fulfillment in the atonement: God reigns in triumph from the tree.

The tune is an ancient plainsong Vexilla Regis.

From Depths of Woe I Cry To Thee   The CHORAL VOLUNTARY is Martin Luther’s hymn (607) on Psalm 130, with settings by Benedictus Ducis (1492-1544) and Caspar Othmayr (1515-1553).  Ducis was a composer who served as musician in Antwerp, and as pastor in Geislingen and Ulm.  Othmayr served as pastor in Ansbach, and is known for his arrangements of Reformation-era chorales.

Lamb of God, that takest away the sin of the world   The choral setting of the AGNUS DEI is by Hans Leo Hassler (1564-1612).  Hassler studied in Venice, where he became friends with Giovanni Gabrieli (1557-1612). Returning to Germany, he served as musician in Augsburg, Nuremberg, and Dresden.  His study in Italy led him to join a number of composers to blend Italian musical styles with traditional German ones.

The lessons are Genesis 22.1–14; Hebrews 9.11–15; and St. John 8.42–59.
The hymns are: TLH 152 When O’er My Sin I Sorrow; LW 104 The Royal Banners Forward Go; 610 Lord Jesus, Think on Me; 450 O Sacred Head, Now Wounded; 655 Lord, Keep Us Steadfast in Your Word; 571 God Loved the World So That He Gave
Prelude: O Man, Bewail Thy Grievous Sin (BWV 622) -Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Choral Voluntary: From Depths of Woe I Cry to Thee -Benedictus Ducis (1492-1544) / Caspar Othmayr (1515-1553)
Agnus Dei: Hans Leo Hassler (1564-1612)
The Fifth Sunday in Lent (Passion Sunday) takes its name “Judica” from the first word of the Introit in Latin, “Judge” (Psalm 43.1) (also translated Vindicate). Today begins Passiontide, the final two weeks of Lent. Crucifixes are veiled in violet to teach that, in suffering, Our Lord hides His glory. Also during Passiontide, the Gloria Patri “Glory be to the Father…” is omitted.

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