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Category Archives: Hymnody

Easter 5 – “One Way” (John 14:1-14)

Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father, and from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, amen. The text for the sermon is the Gospel, which was read earlier.

God’s Word says that there are two paths in life: the way of life and the way of death. The way of life is traveled only by faith in one individual, Jesus Christ, our Savior. To believe in any other God that the one triune God, to trust in any other Savior than the only Son of God, Jesus Christ, is to travel the wrong way in life. So today we hear Jesus’ words: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Jesus is very clear and explicit in His words: He is the one and only way to the Father.

If Jesus is truly the only way to the Father, what does that mean? It means that Jesus’ way to the Father is the way of God’s will, that is, the way of grace, not the way of our human will, the way of works. There is a huge difference between the two ways once we look at what each way gets us.

Our sinful nature wants to get us to the Father our way, not God’s way. Our will is to think that we can earn our way to God because we’re “pretty good.” But when you are “pretty good,” it means that you’re not what God desires and that is perfect. That is what Jesus says to do: You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. But being perfect isn’t possible for us, so we will settle for “pretty good.” We use our merits as some sort of bargaining chip with God to gain our entry into heaven. But there is one point we fail to take into consideration – there is no bargaining with God.

To understand the one, singular way of salvation, we need to understand God the Father’s will. The will of God the Father is that all be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. Jesus came to do the Father’s will, not His own. The Father’s will is the way of salvation by grace through faith in Christ – the only way of redemption.

For you and I, there is indeed hope. Our hope lies not in this world, but it lies in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and what He has done for us. Jesus tells the disciples, “In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.”

            Our hope lies in the promises that God has made to us through His Son Jesus Christ. Instead of reasons for despair, the disciples realize the good news that the cross of Jesus Christ overcomes troubled hearts with the promises, assurances, and benefits of our great God.

There is no need for troubled hearts, as they are overcome by the Lord’s amazing promise of what God has in store for us. We look at this world and we see how much it has suffered because of sin. We have wars. We have disease. We have death. We all have seen the effects of sin on this world and we ask ourselves, “Is this it? Is there more to this thing called life?” There is more to this thing called life, or at least life as we know it. There is salvation. There is forgiveness. There is everlasting life. No matter how good or how bad your life may be on this earth, there is more waiting for you. There is a room in heaven that your Savior has prepared for you. If that isn’t good enough, Jesus also tells us, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” Jesus will personally take us to our eternal rooms, rooms prepared by Jesus when He said from the cross, “It is finished” because there at the cross, Jesus paid for your sin, giving to you that key to your room in heaven.

Then Jesus speaks the all-familiar words to Thomas and the other disciples. “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” If you want words of assurance and comfort, then these are the words for you. Jesus comforts the disciples with what they had previously learned and experienced.  With these words, He reminds us that He is the world’s one Lord and Savior.

These words, Jesus also speaks to you. He spoke these words to you on the cross. He spoke these words to you at your baptism. He speaks these words to you this morning. He speaks these words when you feast upon His body and blood. He speaks these words to you each and every day of your life, and He will speak these words to you as you draw your final breath.

Christ is the one and only source of blessed existence and life for us. In our sin is death, the separation from God. Left to ourselves, we should remain in this separation forever, dead beyond hope. In the person of Jesus, God sent us “the life.” Take away Jesus, and the way, truth, and the life are gone. All hope of God and heaven outside of Jesus is vanity and worse. “Except through me” is absolute and final. Despair would be the order of the day for this world, except for this wonderful news that our Lord declares. Despite the sin and evil of the world, there is a Way. The way is not what we would expect. The way is not a route or a set of directions. Instead, it is a person – Jesus Himself. We cannot travel this route. Instead Jesus must take us. In fact, that is exactly what He promised when He said, “I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.”

This sentiment of Jesus, this truth of His Easter victory, is brought to light in the words of the hymn sung earlier: Mighty Victim from the sky, Hell’s fierce powr’s beneath You lie; You have conquered in the fight, You have brought us life and light. Alleluia! Now no more can death appall, Now no more the grave enthrall; You have opened paradise, And Your saints in You shall rise. Alleluia! The hymnist writes in the only way he knows how, the only way that is true. It has nothing to do with our posturing to God. It has nothing to do with whatever accomplishments we can show off to God. Our salvation, our victory over sin and death, has been accomplished for us by Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.

Through the blood that flowed from His body on the cross, Jesus is the way. Through the Scriptures which testify He is the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world, Jesus is the truth. Through His taking our sin and our curse upon Himself, Jesus is the life. What comfort this is to our troubled hearts! In the name of Jesus, amen. Now the peace of God which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds through faith in Christ Jesus, amen.

 
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Posted by on May 14, 2017 in Easter, Hymnody, Sermons

 

“O Sacred Head, Now Wounded”

 
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Posted by on April 18, 2014 in Good Friday, Hymnody, Music

 

O Sacred Head, Now Wounded

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7HP0gpnicg]
 
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Posted by on April 6, 2012 in Good Friday, Hymnody, Video

 

Stricken, Smitten, and Afflicted

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J69Cvd9Tq8k&hl=en&hd=1]

Stricken, smitten, and afflicted,
See Him dying on the tree!
‘Tis the Christ by man rejected;
Yes, my soul, ’tis He, ’tis He!
‘Tis the long-expected Prophet,
David’s Son, yet David’s Lord;
Proofs I see sufficient of it:
‘Tis the true and faithful Word.

Tell me, ye who hear Him groaning,
Was there ever grief like His?
Friends through fear His cause disowning,
Foes insulting His distress;
Many hands were raised to wound Him,
None would interpose to save;
But the deepest stroke that pierced Him
Was the stroke that Justice gave.

Ye who think of sin but lightly
Nor suppose the evil great
Here may view its nature rightly,
Here its guilt may estimate.
Mark the sacrifice appointed,
See who bears the awful load;
‘Tis the Word, the Lord’s anointed,
Son of Man and Son of God.

Here we have a firm foundation;
Here the refuge of the lost;
Christ, the Rock of our salvation,
His the name of which we boast.
Lamb of God, for sinners wounded,
Sacrifice to cancel guilt!
None shall ever be confounded
Who on Him their hope have built.

 
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Posted by on April 22, 2011 in Church Year, Hymnody, Lent

 

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O Sacred Head, Now Wounded

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQSc4RpFuxU]

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O sacred Head, now wounded,
    With grief and shame weighed down,
Now scornfully surrounded
    With thorns, Thine only crown.
O sacred Head, what glory,
    What bliss, till now was Thine!
Yet, though despised and gory,
    I joy to call Thee mine.

How pale Thou art with anguish,
    With sore abuse and scorn!
How doth Thy face now languish
    That once was bright as morn!
Grim death, with cruel rigor,
    Hath robbed Thee of Thy life;
Thus Thou hast lost Thy vigor,
    Thy strength, in this sad strife.

What Thou, my Lord, hast suffered
    Was all for sinners’ gain;
Mine, mine was the transgression,
    But Thine the deadly pain.
Lo, here I fall, my Savior!
    ’Tis I deserve Thy place;
Look on me with Thy favor,
    And grant to me Thy grace.

My Shepherd, now receive me;
    My Guardian, own me Thine.
Great blessings Thou didst give me,
    O Source of gifts divine.
Thy lips have often fed me
    With words of truth and love;
Thy Spirit oft hath led me
    To heav’nly joys above.

What language shall I borrow
    To thank Thee, dearest Friend,
For this Thy dying sorrow,
    Thy pity without end?
O make me Thine forever!
    And should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never,
    Outlive my love for Thee.

My Savior, be Thou near me
    When death is at my door;
Then let Thy presence cheer me,
    Forsake me nevermore!
When soul and body languish,
    O leave me not alone,
But take away mine anguish
    By virtue of Thine own!

Be Thou my consolation,
    My shield, when I must die;
Remind me of Thy passion
    When my last hour draws nigh.
Mine eyes shall then behold Thee,
    Upon Thy cross shall dwell,
My heart by faith enfold Thee.
    Who dieth thus dies well.

Hymn Study: O Sacred Head, Now Wounded

 
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Posted by on April 22, 2011 in Church Year, Hymnody, Issues, Etc, Lent, Video

 

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A Christmas hymn–“Of the Father’s Love Begotten”

This afternoon, I played this hymn, “Christians to the Paschal Victim” and “We Praise You and Acknowledge You” on repeat for at least a good 45 minutes. Yes, two out of three hymns are out of season. But I don’t care, they’re good hymns.

I know we’re in the season of Epiphany, but I love the hymn, “Of the Father’s Love Begotten.” The text is great, the tune is great. Below are the words of the hymn as they appear in our latest hymnal, Lutheran Service Book.

1 Of the Father’s love begotten
Ere the worlds began to be,
He is Alpha and Omega,
He the source, the ending He,
Of the things that are, that have been,
And that future years shall see
Evermore and evermore.

2 Oh, that birth forever blessed,
When the virgin full of grace,
By the Holy Ghost conceiving,
Bore the Savior of our race,
And the babe, the world’s Redeemer,
First revealed His sacred face
Evermore and evermore.

3 This is He whom seers in old time
Chanted of with one accord,
Whom the voices of the prophets
Promised in their faithful word.
Now He shines, the long-expected;
Let creation praise its Lord
Evermore and evermore.

4 O ye heights of heav’n adore Him;
Angel hosts, His praises sing,
Pow’rs, dominions, bow before Him
And extol our God and King.
Let no tongue on earth be silent,
Ev’ry voice in concert ring
Evermore and evermore.

5 Christ, to Thee, with God the Father,
And, O Holy Ghost, to Thee
Hymn and chant and high thanksgiving
And unending praises be,
Honor, glory, and dominion,
And eternal victory
Evermore and evermore.

Amen.

To hear an excellent hymn study of this, click here.

 
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Posted by on January 19, 2011 in Christmas, Epiphany, Hymnody

 

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O Emmanuel

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.

Rejoice!  Rejoice!  Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel!

O Emmanuel, our king and our Lord, the anointed for the nations and their Savior:
     Come and save us, O Lord our God.

 
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Posted by on December 23, 2010 in Advent, Church Year, Hymnody

 

O King of the nations

O Come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease,
And be Thyself our King of Peace.

Rejoice!  Rejoice!  Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel!

O King of the nations, the ruler they long for, the cornerstone uniting all people:
     Come and save us all, whom You formed out of clay.

 
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Posted by on December 22, 2010 in Advent, Church Year, Hymnody

 

O Dayspring

O come, Thou Dayspring from on high,
And cheer us by Thy drawing nigh;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.

Rejoice!  Rejoice!  Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel!

O Dayspring, splendor of light everlasting:
     Come and enlighten those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.

 
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Posted by on December 21, 2010 in Advent, Church Year, Hymnody

 

O Key of David

O Come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heav’nly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.

Rejoice!  Rejoice!  Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel!

O Key of David and scepter of the house of Israel, You open and no one can close, You close and no one can open:
Come and rescue the prisoners who are in darkness and the shadow of death.

 
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Posted by on December 20, 2010 in Advent, Church Year, Hymnody

 
 
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