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Music for the Presentation of Our Lord and the Purification of the BVM

For the Lord has promised me that death is but a slumber.   Of Martin Luther’s almost forty hymns, twenty-four of them were written early in his career in 1523-24.  “In Peace and Joy” is based on the Nunc Dimittis (Latin: “Now dismiss…”), the Song of Simeon in St. Luke 2.29-32.  Kantor Johann Walter included this in his 1524 hymnal Geistliche gesangk Buchleyn. It is also included in a hymnal for funerals in 1542.

Luther’s great skill as a hymn writer to confess the Gospel is evident in that he goes beyond a simple paraphrase of the biblical text, providing a sermon in song unpacking themes throughout the Scriptures as they are fulfilled in Christ.

And present us in Your glory, To Your Father, cleansed and pure.   The Anglican clergyman Henry John Pye (1825-1903) served as pastor in Staffordshire, England, where, in 1851, he published a collection of his hymns for the use for his parish, including the HYMN TO DEPART “In His Temple Now Behold Him” (519).

Pye applies the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple to each Christian, presented before Our Father in heaven through Christ’s fulfillment of the Law for us with his brilliant final stanza:

Jesus, by Your presentation, When they blessed You, weak and poor, Make us see Your great salvation, Seal us with Your promise sure; And present us in Your glory to Your Father, cleansed and pure.

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