Monday, May 24, 2010

O Love, How Deep

Monday after Pentecost
May 24, 2010

The Lord be with you

At Lamb of God Lutheran (LC-MS), we use The Lutheran Service Book (LSB), published in 2006. Before we switched to this hymnal, a worship committee thoroughly reviewed LSB. Part of that review was singing through the entire hymnal. In the process of singing through the hymns, the committee selected quite a few hymns which were unknown at Lamb of God but well worth learning. We started an intentional effort to learn these hymns last year. One of the hymns is selected and we sing it each Sunday for a month. This coming Sunday, Trinity Sunday, we will begin learning “O Love, How Deep” (LSB 544).

“O Love, How Deep” was written by the monk Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471). He is most famous today for his devotional book, The Imitation of Christ. The lyrics of “O Love, How Deep” were translated by Benjamin Webb with a “Long Meter” pattern. “Long Meter” refers to how many beats there are in each line of the hymn. Long Meter has eight beats in each of four lines and is VERY popular. No less than seventy hymns in LSB are Long Meter. That means that the music for any of these hymns is interchangeable. An index of the tunes, listed according to their meter, can be found in LSB beginning on page 1007. Sometimes I might want to use a hymn with a tune that is unknown to the congregation and so I go to this index and pick a tune the congregation does know. Sometimes it is just fun to sing a familiar hymn with a different tune. Perhaps the most famous Long Meter melody is the common Doxology, “Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow” (LSB 805).

The name of the tune used in LSB for “O Love, How Deep” is “Deo Gracias.” One other hymn in LSB uses the same tune, the Transfiguration hymn “O Wondrous Type! O Vision Fair” (LSB 413). In essence, then, we will be learning the tune for two hymns. You can hear the tune on Better Noise. The link is on the right-hand side-bar of this blog. Or you could just sing “O Love, How Deep” with the tune you know for “Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow.”

O Love, How Deep

O love, how deep, how broad, how high,
Beyond all thought and fantasy,
That God, the Son of God, should take
Our mortal form for mortals’ sake!

He sent no angel to our race,
Of higher or of lower place,
But wore the robe of human frame,
And to this world Himself He came.

For us baptized, for us He bore
His holy fast and hungered sore;
For us temptation sharp He knew;
For us the tempter overthrew.

For us He prayed; for us He taught;
For us His daily works He wrought,
By words and signs and actions thus
Still seeking not Himself but us.

For us by wickedness betrayed,
For us, in crown of thorns arrayed,
He bore the shameful cross and death;
For us He gave His dying breath.

For us He rose from death again;
For us He went on high to reign;
For us He sent His Spirit here
To guide, to strengthen, and to cheer.

All glory to our Lord and God
For love so deep, so high, so broad;
The Trinity whom we adore
Forever and forevermore.

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert

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