Jesus, Priceless Treasure The HYMN OF THE DAY (743) by Johann Franck (1618-1677), is a confession of faith in Christ throughout all situations of life. While studying at the University of Königsberg, Franck became acquainted with Lutheran hymn-writers Simon Dach (1605-1659) and Heinrich Held (d. 1659), who encouraged him in his poetic work. He wrote 110 hymns and is considered along with the great Paul Gerhardt (1607-1676) as a superb hymn-writer of his era.
The tune, by Johann Crüger (1598-1662) was written for Franck’s text. Crüger was one of the most distinguished church musicians of his time, and is the composer of 71 hymn tunes. He served as kantor of St. Nicholas Church in Berlin and was an instructor at the Greyfriars Gymnasium.
In Lent, Christians emphasize repentance and forgiveness that goes on continually in the Christian life. This hymn leads the Christian to sing about Jesus, our ever-present help in trouble (Psalm 46). Yet though sin and hell assail me, Jesus will not fail me.
The PRELUDE is a partita (multi-movement musical work with variations on a common theme) on “Jesus, Priceless Treasure” by Friedrich Wilhelm Zachau (1663-1712). Zachau was the kantor at the Market Church in Halle (pictured at right). His compositions include numerous organ settings of Lutheran chorales, and 24 surviving cantatas. His pupils include George Frideric Handel (1685-1759).
The text is St. John 1.29, followed by a hymn stanza from “O Perfect Life of Love” (The Lutheran Hymnal 170) by Henry W. Baker (1821-1877). Baker is perhaps best known for his paraphrase of Psalm 23, “The King of Love My Shepherd Is” (709).
Behold, the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world. In perfect love He dies; For me He dies, for me; O all-atoning Sacrifice, I cling by faith to Thee.