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Music for the Ninth Sunday after Trinity

What is the world to me?   Compared to the riches of our inheritance in Christ, the world is nothing and has nothing to offer.  Jesus is “my Treasure, my Life, my Health, my Wealth, my Friend, my Love, my Pleasure, my Joy, and my Crown” – indeed: “my All.”

The HYMN OF THE DAY, “What is the World to Me” (730), is by Georg Michael Pfefferkorn (1645-1732).  The son of a Lutheran pastor in Ifta, he was a teacher in Altenburg and later became pastor in Friemar.

The English translation is by August Crull (1845-1923), who served as pastor in Milwaukee and Grand Rapids before becoming professor at Concordia College—Fort Wayne.  He was a significant contributor in translating Lutheran hymns from German to English for the 1912 Evangelical Lutheran Hymn Book, the first official English hymnal of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Many of his translations were included in predecessor hymnals in 1879, 1886, and 1889.  He translated 38 hymns, 16 of which are in our hymnal.

Each of the hymn’s eight stanzas makes the point clear with the refrain: “What is the world to me!”  Lutheran Service Book includes stanzas 1, 3, 5, and 8.

The omitted stanzas include:

2. The world is like a cloud                  4. The world is sorely grieved

And like a vapor fleeting,                    Whenever it is slighted

A shadow that declines,                       Or when its hollow fame

Swift to its end retreating.                   And honor have been blighted.

My Jesus doth abide,                           Christ, Thy reproach I bear

Though all things fade and flee;           Long as it pleaseth Thee;

My everlasting Rock—                        I’m honored by my Lord—

What is the world to me!                     What is the world to me!


6. The world with wanton pride         7. The world abideth not;

Exalts its sinful pleasures                   Lo, like a flash ‘twill vanish;

And for them foolishly                       With all its gorgeous pomp

Gives up the heavenly treasures.       Pale death it cannot banish;

Let others love the world                   Its riches pass away,

With all its vanity;                              And all its joys must flee;

I love the Lord, my God—                 But Jesus doth abide—

What is the world to me!                    What is the world to me!

The lessons are 2 Samuel 22.26–34; 1 Corinthians 10.6–13; and St. Luke 16.1–9.
The hymns are: 902 Lord Jesus Christ, Be Present Now
730 What is the World to Me
622 Lord Jesus Christ, You Have Prepared
726 Evening and Morning

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