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 Johann Gottfried Walther (1684-1748). Walther, a cousin of J.S. Bach (1685-1750), wrote over 130 chorale preludes for organ and is well known for his 1732 Musicalisches Lexicon, an exhaustive dictionary of music and musicians, the first in the German language.