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Music for St. Peter and St. Paul (Friday, June 29)

In Holy Faith Your Church Unite   The PRELUDE is Johann Sebastian Bach’s Fantasia Super on “Come, Holy Ghost, God and Lord” (BWV 651) from a collection known as “The Great Eighteen Chorale Preludes,” a series of organ compositions from Bach’s final decade.  You will hear the chorale melody (LSB 497) in the long notes played in the pedal.

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.”

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 Ralph C. Schultz (b. 1932), professor of music and president emeritus of Concordia College—Bronxville, New York.

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