All Glory Be to God on High The PRELUDE is a setting of Nicolaus Decius’ (c. 1485-c. 1546) “All Glory Be to God on High” (947). Written in 1522 or 1523, it is one of the earliest Reformation hymns and is based on words and interpretations unique to Luther’s translation of the Scriptures. It is a versification of the Gloria in Excelsis of the Divine Service, and was identified as Decius’ work in 1710. The third stanza ends with, “Have mercy on us, Amen,” which indicates that the fourth stanza was likely added later, perhaps by Joachim Slüter in 1525. Today’s setting (BWV 711) is one of multiple organ settings by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) on this tune.
O Lord, let this Your little flock, Continue in Your loving care The HYMN OF THE DAY, “Lord Jesus Christ, the Church’s Head” (647) is part of a longer hymn by Johann Mentzer (1658-1734). It was first published in the Reibersdorfer Gesang Buch of 1726. Notice its unusual rhyme pattern: ABCBDDEEF. The tune, while having the character of a seventeenth-century chorale, was written in the twentieth century.
Mentzer, who studied in Wittenberg, was a pastor in Merzdorf, Hauswalde, and Chemnitz. He was the author of over thirty hymns. This text reminds the Church to cling to Christ in the means of grace: “Your Sacraments, O Lord, and Your saving Word, to us, Lord, pure retain. Grant that they may remain our only strength and comfort.”
God’s Word is our reliance as Christians. As we sing in stanza four, we put aside the things of the world, bear the cross of Christ, and—by grace—find in Him our “endless joy and gladness.”
The introduction is by Benjamin M. Culli, who serves as keyboard productions editor at Hal Leonard Corporation, and organist at Peace—New Berlin, Wisconsin.
Holy Zion’s help forever, And our confidence alone The HYMN TO DEPART “Christ is Made the Sure Foundation” (909) is a translation by John Mason Neale (1818-1866) of medieval Latin hymn Urbs beata Jerusalem. The tune is adapted from an anthem by Henry Purcell (1659-1695), an English composer who served at Westminster Abbey (fittingly, the name of the hymn tune) and the Chapel Royal. The doxology is a fitting conclusion for both this hymn and the Divine Service for this Feast:
Praise and honor to the Father,
Praise and honor to the Son,
Praise and honor to the Spirit,
Ever three and ever one:
One in might and one in glory
While unending ages run! Amen.
The introduction to the hymn is by Charles Callahan (b. 1951).
The VOLUNTARY is a setting of “Built on the Rock” by Robert J. Powell (b. 1932).