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New Hymn

New Hymn:  Blessed Jesus, at Your Word
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This Sunday, we continue introducing excellent but unfamiliar hymns into our worship.  It would be a misnomer to use the word “new” in this instance, as this hymn was penned over 350 years ago.

For some of you, particularly those coming from a Lutheran background, it is likely a familiar and well-loved hymn.  What is most striking about this hymn is the pause that is rendered after the first line of text.  Whether or not it was the composer’s intention, there is certainly a rhetorical logic to having a rest following the text, “we are gathered all to hear you.”

The original text is three stanzas, and this style of hymn is called a chorale, as it has the musical form AAB (also known as bar form).

MUSICAL FORM    TEXT    METER (syllables per line)
A Blessed Jesus, at your word 7
  We are gathered all to hear you 8
A Let our hearts and souls be stirred 7
  Now to seek and love and fear you, 8
B By your teachings sweet and holy, 8
  Drawn from earth to love you solely. 8

You will notice on the bottom right hand side of the hymn page, that the title of the tune of this hymn is in capital letters (LIEBSTER JESU), and that it is followed by the numbers 7.8.7.8.8.8.

These numbers correspond to the meter of each line of one stanza, as indicated above.

Most of the choir was unfamiliar with this hymn.  By the time we sang the final stanza the choir was immediately taken with the beautiful marriage of text, tune, and harmony that has kept this hymn alive for over three centuries.  We pray that it will bless you and, as this particular hymn is intended to do, help prepare your hearts and minds to receive the word of God as it is preached to us.

Daniel Cole