Category Archives: Hymns

Thoughts on “A Mighty Fortress”

In many cases, key thoughts and insights are lost in translation. This is especially true when translating poetry while at the same time trying to maintain the original poem’s meter and rhyme scheme. A case in point is Martin Luther’s popular Reformation hymn “A Mighty Fortress,” of which there are numerous English translations. The first line is fairly easy to translate into English: “Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott” literally… Read More »

Thoughts on “Hope of the World”

The thoughts below were prepared for the “Devotions on the Hymn of the Day” project of the Center for Church Music at Concordia University, Chicago. This devotion is on “Hope of the World,” the Hymn of the Day for the Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 24B) on Sunday, October 18, 2015. For additional devotions, click here. For a downloadable PDF version of this devotion, click here. “Hope” is an optimistic word… Read More »

Thoughts on “My Song is Love Unknown”

The hymn “My Song is Love Unknown” features a text from the 1600s coupled with a melody composed in the early 1900s by the English composer and church musician John Ireland (1879-1962). This haunting and beautiful melody was apparently composed casually one day over lunch at the suggestion of fellow church musician and composer Geoffrey Shaw (1879-1943). The poet of this hymn, Samuel Crossman (c. 1624-1683), was a pastor who… Read More »

Thoughts on “O Morning Star, How Fair and Bright”

For the Twelfth and last Day of Christmas and for the Feast of Epiphany let us examine the “Queen of Chorales,” “O Morning Star, How Fair and Bright” (“Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern”). Composed by the Reverend Philip Nicolai (1556-1608), it is often sung as an Epiphany hymn although it can be sung on other occasions as well. For this post, I simply wish to share two settings of this hymn by… Read More »

Thoughts on “O Wondrous Type! O Vision Fair”

The thoughts below were prepared for the “Devotions on the Hymn of the Day” project of the Center for Church Music at Concordia University, Chicago. This devotion is on “O Wondrous Type! O Vision Fair,” the Hymn of the Day for the Transfiguration of Our Lord on Sunday, February 15, 2015. For additional devotions, click here. The four Gospels reveal how important Moses and Elijah were to Jesus. Altogether the Gospel writers… Read More »

Thoughts on “Our Father, By Whose Name”

The thoughts below were prepared for the “Devotions on the Hymn of the Day” project of the Center for Church Music at Concordia University, Chicago. This devotion is on “Hope of the World,” the Hymn of the Day for the Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 22B) on Sunday, October 4, 2015. For additional devotions, click here. For a downloadable PDF version of this devotion, click here. So, who gets to decide what… Read More »

Thoughts on “Son of God, Eternal Savior”

The thoughts below were prepared for the “Devotions on the Hymn of the Day” project of the Center for Church Music at Concordia University, Chicago. This devotion is on “Son of God, Eternal Savior,” the Hymn of the Day for the Fourth Sunday after Epiphany on Sunday, February 1, 2015. For additional devotions, click here. For a downloadable PDF version of this devotion, click here. Since the beginning of His ministry, although the… Read More »

Thoughts on “When Morning Gilds the Skies”

“When Morning Gilds the Skies” was originally the German hymn “Beim frühen Morgenlicht” (literally “By the Early Morning Light”) that first appeared around 1744. In the mid 1800s, an English translation was made by the Reverend Edward Caswall (1814-78), an Anglican priest and in 1899 another appeared by the famous poet and playwright Robert Bridges (1844-1930). The original hymn has 15 stanzas, only five of which are included in our… Read More »