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Music for the Martyrdom of St. John the Baptizer (August 29)

God never yet forsook in need; The soul that trusted Him indeed.   Hymnologist W. G. Polack (1890-1950) gives a summary outline of today’s HYMN OF THE DAY, “If Thou But Trust in God to Guide Thee” (750), as follows:

The Christian’s Joyful Trust in God under the Cross

1. How it should manifest itself

A. in the joyous certainty of God’s unchanging love

B. in refraining from all needless care and complaints

C. in patient resignation to the divine will

2. On what it is based

A. On the certainty that God knows our need

B. On the certainty that he will help in His own time

C. On the certainty that our times are in His hand

Both text and tune are by Georg Neumark (1621-1681), who wrote the hymn following a time of great anxiety and unemployment, in the midst of the Thirty Years War (1618-1648).  He wrote this hymn after receiving a job as a tutor.  He recalled:

“This good fortune, which came so suddenly, as it were, from heaven, gladdened my heart so that I, on the first day, to the glory of my God, composed the well-known hymn ‘If Thou But Trust in God to Guide Thee,’ for I had ample reason to thank God heartily for this unexpected grace, both then and to the end.”

Neumark’s hymn was published in the Fortgepflantzter Musikalisch-Poetischer Lustwald in 1657.  The English translation is by Catherine Winkworth (1827-1878), published is the Chorale Book for England in 1863.

Neumark wrote this tune to go with his text in 1642.  Over 100 other texts were written to go with this tune, and it is set for voices and instruments by composers over various centuries.

Iniquity is forgiven   The HYMN TO DEPART, “Sing Praise to the God of Israel” (936), is a versification of the Benedictus, the hymn of Zechariah, John’s father, sung at his birth.  This metrical version of the hymn is by Pastor Steven Starke (b. 1955).

The lessons are Revelation 6.9-11; Romans 6.1-5; and St. Mark 6.14-29.
The hymns are: 667 Saints, See the Cloud of Witnesses Surrounded
750 If Thou But Trust in God to Guide Thee
518 (s. 1, 24, 3) By All Your Saints in Warfare
756 Why Should Cross and Trial Grieve Me
936 Sing Praise to the God of Israel
Prelude: Partita on “If Thou But Trust in God to Guide Thee” -Georg Böhm
Voluntary: If Thou But Trust in God to Guide Thee (BWV 642) -Johann Sebastian Bach
Introduction to “If Thou But Trust in God to Guide Thee” by Johann Gottfried Walther

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