Sunday, January 6, 2013

Hymn of the Month - "O Morning Star, How Fair and Bright"

Happy Epiphany!  Yes, on Epiphany we celebrate the coming of the Magi to worship the Christ Child.  However, Epiphany is not just a day on the calendar, but a whole season of the church year.  The season of Epiphany is a season of light.  It is a season where we celebrate God's glory coming into the world.
With those things in mind, this month's hymn is "O Morning Star, How Fair and Bright" by Philipp Nicolai.  Nicolai was a German Lutheran pastor around the time of the Formula of Concord (which was written as a statement of faith to unite Lutherans).  He was also a pastor during an outbreak of the Plague and was burying hundreds of Plague victims.  That is when he wrote "O Morning Star, How Fair and Bright."  This hymn celebrates the light of Christ that has come into the world, remains with us, and will come again on the last day.  (While I like the entire hymn, stanzas 5 and 6 are my favorite.)

O Morning Star, how fair and bright!
You shine with God's own truth and light,
Aglow with grace and mercy!
Of Jacob's race, Kind David's son,
Our Lord and master, You have won
Our hearts to serve You only!
Lowly, holy!  Great and glorious;
All victorious, rich in blessing!
Rule and might o'er all posessing!

Come, heav'nly Bridegroom, Light divine,
And deep within our hearts now shine;
There light a flame undying!
In Your one body let us be
As living branches of a tree,
Your life our loves supplying.
Now, though daily Earth's deep sadness
May perplex us and distress us,
Yet with heavn'ly joy You bless us.

Lord, when You look on us in love,
At once there falls from God above
A ray of purest pleasure.
Your Word and Spirit, flesh and blood
Refresh our souls with heav'nly food.
You are our dearest treasure.
Ley Your mercy warm and cheer us!
O draw near us! For You teach us
God's own love through You has reached us.

Almighty Father, in Your Son
You loved us when not yet begun
Was this old earth's foundation!
Your Son has ransomed us in love
To live in Him here and above:
This is your great salvation.
Alleluia!  Christ the living,
To us giving life forever,
Keeps us Yours and fails us never!

O let the harps break forth is sound!
Our joy be all with music crowned,
Our voices gladly blending!
For Christ goes with us all the way -
Today, tomorrow, ev'ry day!
His love is never ending!
Sing out! Ring out! Jubilation!
Exultation!  Tell the story!
Great is He, the King of Glory!

What joy to know, when life is past,
The Lord we love is first and last,
The end and the beginning!
He will one day, oh, glorious grace,
Transport us to that happy place
Beyond all tears and sinning!
Amen!  Amen!  Come, Lord Jesus!
Crown of gladness!  We are yearning
For the day of Your returning!

(LSB 395)