False, evil world, farewell. Christians must constantly confess that our home is not on this earth. The HYMN OF THE DAY, “Farewell I Gladly Bid Thee” (The Lutheran Hymnal 407; insert) was written with this in mind by Pastor Valerius Herberger (1562-1627), who described the hymn:
“A devout prayer with which the Evangelical citizens of Frawenstadt in the autumn of the year 1613 moved the heart of God the Lord so that He mercifully laid down His sharp rod of wrath under which nearly two thousand fell on sleep. And also a hymn of consolation in which a pious heart bids farewell to this world.”
Concerning himself in the writing of the hymn, Pastor Herberger wrote:
“The farewell of Valerius Herberger that he gave to this world in the autumn of the year 1613, when he every hour saw death before his eyes, but mercifully and also as wonderfully as the three men in the furnace at Babylon was nevertheless spared.”
In addition to this hymn, he published many collections of sermons to help Christians remember the troubles of this earthly life are not comparable to the eternal life of heaven.
The tune was written for Herberger’s text by his kantor, Melchior Teschner (1584-1635).
The PRELUDE is a setting of “Farewell I Gladly Bid Thee” by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) (BWV 736). The melody is played by the pedal, while the hands play the repetitive motif tying the phrases of the hymn together.
The KYRIE is sung today by the choir in a setting by Hans Leo Hassler (1564-1612). Hassler was a composer, organist, and organ consultant, and served as Kapellmeister in Nuremberg and Dresden. He was an acquaintance of Giovanni Gabrieli (1557-1612) in Venice. Hassler is known for being one composer who brought the Venetian music style to Germany.
O Lord, I love the habitation of Your house and the place where Your glory dwells. Forever, O Lord, Your Word is firmly set in the heavens.
O Lord, I love the habitation of Your house and the place where Your glory dwells. Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
O Lord, I love the habitation of Your house and the place where Your glory dwells. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
O Lord, I love the habitation of Your house and the place where Your glory dwells. [Psalm 26.8; 119.89, 105]