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Music for the Third Sunday after Trinity

I trust, O Lord, your promise true.   Described as “a presentation of the Christian life in a nutshell,” the HYMN OF THE DAY, “I Trust, O Christ, in You Alone” (972, insert) was first published in 1542 in the Gesangbuch in Magdeburg.

This hymn was written by Johannes Schneesing (d. 1567), pastor in Friemar, Germany.  He authored a catechism for the children of his parish, where he also taught them through the singing of hymns.

The hymn makes a clear confession of the Gospel in the Christian life.  Plagued by our sin and guilt, we pray: “O grant me true contrition; And by Your death upon the tree, Your pardon and remission.”  We stand, freed from sin, before the Father’s throne because of Christ’s atonement.  The forgiveness we receive through His Word keeps us each hour of life.   The tune was written for this text by an anonymous composer.

Let me know Your gracious pardon   The ENTRANCE HYMN, “Lord to You I Make Confession” (608), is by Johann Franck (1618-1677).  He studied at Königsberg with two hymnwriters, Simon Dach and Heinrich Held.

This text is a fine Christian prayer for repentance and forgiveness, with tune by Johann Crüger, a kantor who wrote or arranged over 120 chorale tunes.  It is our prayer each day, and certainly at the beginning of the Divine Service as we enter Our Lord’s presence: “Let me know Your gracious pardon, Cleanse me from iniquity.  Let Your Spirit leave me never; Make me only Yours forever.”

Save us from hardship, war, and strife; In plague and famine, spare our life.   Martin Luther’s hymn on the Our Father, “Our Father, Who from Heaven Above” (766), is one of the final hymns he wrote based on the catechism.  The text of the stanzas carefully corresponds to Luther’s teaching in the Small Catechism, with a stanza for each petition, introduction, and conclusion of the prayer.  The tune was adapted from a melody with a previous German hymnic versification on the Our Father.  The tune was perhaps adapted by Luther and was associated with Luther’s text by 1537.

Our Immanuel Vacation Bible School students sang this hymn as part of our teaching on the Our Father this past week.  Today’s PRELUDE includes four organ settings based on this chorale tune, with the students singing stanzas 1, 4, and 9 of the hymn in between.

Singing the Our Father

There are numerous different chant tones to sing the Our Father.  The setting found in our hymnal (957) is one of the earliest from ancient times, predating the development of musical notation.  The English text was set to this ancient melody in 1916 by Charles Winfred Douglas (1867-1944).  This melody connects us to some of the earliest Christian chants used by Christians from many places for centuries.  This setting is often used after the Kyrie in Matins and Vespers.  Today we include it as part of Divine Service since the Vacation Bible School students learned it as part of the catechesis on the Our Father this week.

The lessons are Micah 7.18–20; 1 Peter 5.6–11; and St. Luke 15.1–10.
The hymns are: 608 Lord, to You I Make Confession
972 I Trust, O Christ, in You Alone
716 I Walk in Danger All the Way
737 Rejoice, My Heart, Be Glad and Sing
618 I Come, O Savior, to Thy Table
719 I Leave All Things to God’s Direction
Prelude: Settings of “Our Father, Who from Heaven Above” (Vacation Bible School students and organ) –Johann Krieger; Ronald Nelson; Hermann Grabner; Heinrich Scheidemann
Choral Voluntary: Cantate Domino -Giuseppe Pitoni

Cantate Domino canticum novum,                          Sing to the Lord a new song,

laus ejus in ecclesia sanctorum.                                  His praise in the congregation of saints.

Laetetur Israel in eo, qui fecit eum,                          Let Israel rejoice in Him that made him.

et filii Sion exsultent in rege suo.                              and the children of Zion be joyful in their King. [Psalm 149.1-2]

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