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.
Communio: Hoc Corpus (“This Body”)
Historically, there are five Propers of the Divine Service: Introit, Gradual, Alleluia, Offertory, and Communio. Following the Reformation, it was often a custom to replace the Communio (sung at the conclusion of the distribution) with the Nunc Dimittis, the Song of Simeon.
Today, the choir sings the historic proper Communio for Passion Sunday from 1 Corinthians 11.24-25, a setting by Heinrich Issac (1450-1517). This setting is from his collection—together with pupil Ludwig Senfl (1483-1543)—Choralis Constantinus, 375 plainsong chant-based motets.