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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.

Johann Gottfried Walther
Johann Gottfried Walther

The PRELUDE is based on this hymn by Johann Gottfried Walther (1684-1748).   Walther compiled the first German-language musical encyclopedia Musicalisches Lexicon, published in 1732.  It was a magnificent compilation of music and musicians with over 3000 entries.

Walther belonged to a family of musicians, Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) being both his contemporary and his cousin.  Walther made a significant contribution to church music, writing over 130 organ compositions based on Lutheran hymn tunes.  These are known as “chorale preludes.” (“Chorale” is the German word for “hymn”).

 

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.”

Come, Holy Ghost, God and Lord   The VOLUNTARY is a setting of Martin Luther’s Pentecost Hymn (497).  This setting for three voices is by Johann Hermann Schein (1586-1630) from his collection Opella Nova II of 1626.  The bass sings the melody of the hymn, while the soprano and alto have a lively duet with imitative patterns.  The organ plays the continuo (accompaniment) that would have originally been played by instruments.

Schein was a noted composer of the early Baroque era in Germany, and is known for bringing Italian musical styles into German music.  Schein was Kapellmeister in Weimar and cantor at St. Thomas Church in Leipzig.

Carl Schalk describes the importance of Schein in “Music in Early Lutheranism” (Concordia Publishing House, 2001):

“Within the span of three short years—between 1585 and 1587—three men were born who were to significantly affect the course of Lutheran church music. Johann Hermann Schein, Samuel Scheidt, and Heinrich Schuetz were to bring the music of Lutheran worship in touch with the new musical developments of their day in a way that had not been done before.  None of these men abandoned the earlier heritage… but a matter of receiving the heritage and building on to it as the music of the church moved into the future.”

“Johann Hermann Schein stands out as one of the greatest among the generation of German composers slightly younger than Praetorius who brought the new Italian style to its first peak of greatness on German soil… He lived only to the age of 44.  Yet the impact of this illustrious predecessor of Johann Sebastian Bach in Leipzig was significant.  Schein’s contribution was both musical and literary, his literary skills reflected in the large number of his texts which he set to music.”

The Divine Service is at 8:30 & 10:30am.

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

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