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Music for the First Sunday after Epiphany

Upon a manger filled with hay, In poverty content He lay;

With milk was fed the Lord of all, Who feeds the ravens when they call.

    Luther’s magnificent hymn “Now Praise We Christ, the Holy One” (The Lutheran Hymnal 104), the HYMN TO DEPART, expresses the mystery of the Incarnation.

God, who created all things, and cares for all things, even seemingly small, insignificant things (cf. St. Matthew 6.26), is made small, becomes poor, and nurses at His mother’s breast.

This hymn is a German translation based on the hymn at Lauds (Morning Prayer) for Christmas Day “A solis ortus cardine” by Coelius Sedulius, a sixth-century bishop.  Although Luther wasn’t the first to write a translation of the Latin, his significantly rearranged the first stanza so that the opening focus is clearly on Christ.

The tune is based on the traditional plainsong melody.

The VOLUNTARY is a setting of this hymn by Healey Willan (1880-1968).

O ye heights of heaven, adore Him!   The HYMN OF THE DAY, “Of the Father’s Love Begotten” (384), is by Aurelius Clemens Prudentius (348-413).  A Spanish scholar, he is known for two major works: the Preistephanon, a collection of poems honoring martyrs of Spain, Rome, and Africa; and the Cathemerinon, a series of hymns for the various hours of the day.  It is from the ninth poem of this latter work that “Of the Father’s Love Begotten” originates.

The English translation is by Henry W. Baker (1821-1877) from Hymns Ancient and Modern (1861).

Singing the Creed   Throughout much of the history of the Church, the Nicene Creed was one of the sung portions of the liturgy of the Divine Service.  On festival days, we sing the plainsong setting that is found in Lutheran Worship # 4.  During the Epiphany season, we will use a simple method to sing the Creed together in monotone.  Pastor will begin the singing with “I believe in one God,” on one note, and then everyone will join in together on the same note for the rest of the Creed: “the Father Almighty…”.

The lessons are 1 Kings 8.6–13; Romans 12.1–5; and St. Luke 2.41–52.
The hymns are: 399 The Star Proclaims the King is Here
384 Of the Father’s Love Begotten
401 From God the Father, Virgin-Born
523 O Word of God Incarnate
410 Within the Father’s House
TLH 104 Now Praise We Christ, the Holy One
Prelude: O Morning Star, How Fair and Bright -Johann Pachelbel

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