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Music for Cantate-Fifth Sunday of Easter

Proclaim the wonders God hath done!   It is fitting on Cantate (Latin: “sing”) Sunday to sing Luther’s (1483-1546) first congregational hymn, “Dear Christians, One and All, Rejoice” (556) as the HYMN OF THE DAY.  Having rediscovered the Gospel and the joy that comes through Christ’s salvation, Luther wrote this hymn in 1523.  It likely also had as its inspiration “Salvation Unto Us Has Come” (555).

Stanza nine fits well with today’s Gospel from St. John 16.5-15:

Now to My Father I depart, From earth to heaven ascending; And heavenly wisdom to impart, The Holy Spirit sending;

In trouble He will comfort you, And teach you always to be true; And into truth shall guide you.

The tune is said to have been transcribed by Luther after he heard it sung by a traveling artisan.

The PRELUDE is a setting of “Dear Christians, One and All, Rejoice” by Matthias Weckmann (1621-1674).  Weckmann was a student of Heinrich Schütz and Jacob Praetorius, and spent his career in Dresden and Hamburg.  He founded an orchestral ensemble known as Collegium Musicum.  His music – written for organ, orchestra, and voice – includes Italian and French styles.  In today’s Prelude, you will hear the melody of the hymn played in longer notes on the pedal.

At the Lamb’s High Feast We Sing   The DISTRIBUTION HYMN (633) is a Latin hymn from the sixth-ninth centuries.  Bringing in Old Testament imagery, the hymn is a rich portrayal of joy in Christ emphasized in the Easter season.

F. Samuel Janzow (1913-2001), professor at of theology and English at Concordia University Chicago and member of the hymnal committee for the 1982 Lutheran Worship, summarizes:

“The Easter joy of faith’s feeding upon Christ and his sin-and-death-and-hell-conquering crucifixion and resurrection is poetically pictured in this hymn as a feast at which the blood of the Lamb is the wine that faith drinks, and the Lamb’s flesh, or body, is the food upon which it feeds during this victory banquet.”

The lessons are Isaiah 12.1–6; James 1.16–21; and St. John 16.5–15.
The hymns are: 458 Christ Jesus Lay in Death’s Strong Bands
556 Dear Christians, One and All, Rejoice
487 Come, You Faithful, Raise the Strain
633 At the Lamb’s High Feast
484 Make Songs of Joy to Christ our Head
TLH 202 Welcome, Happy Morning
Prelude: Dear Christians, One and All, Rejoice – Matthias Weckman
Choral Voluntary: O Sing unto the Lord and New Song -Healey Willan
Choral setting of “Christ Jesus Lay in Death’s Strong Bands” by J.S. Bach from Cantata 4
Choral setting of “Come, You Faithful, Raise the Strain” by Jan Bender

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