Category Archives: Blog Posts

“And Take They Our Life” – More Thoughts on “A Mighty Fortress”

The short phrase “and take they our life” is the fifth line of the fourth and final stanza of one of the greatest Christian hymns in all of sacred music, “A Mighty Fortress” (EIN FESTE BURG) by Martin Luther (1483-1546). This phrase consists of five words in English and only four in the original German, “nehmen sie den Leib,” but behind it lies Luther’s entire Theology of Martyrdom which points… Read More »

“How Beautiful the Feet”

On Thursday evening our choir rehearsed the great Martin Franzmann hymn “O God, O Lord of Heaven and Earth” for Reformation Sunday. Among the many powerful phrases and metaphors are these lines drawn almost directly from Scripture: How beautiful the feet that trod the road that leads us back to God! How beautiful the feet that ran to bring the great good news to man! (Lutheran Service Book #834 – St. 3)… Read More »

“Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” and the Advent Season

“Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” is one of most popular musical works of all time. However, what are its origins? Interestingly, it has a connection to the Church Year and the Season of Advent. Let’s begin in the little village of Nazareth in the region of Galilee around the year 1 AD.

“Now No Condemnation”

On July 28, 1750 the great man of faith and church musician Johann Sebastian Bach entered eternal glory. His music reveals to us that he was not afraid of death, but rather welcomed it because he knew it was the door to eternal life with his Savior, Jesus Christ. The Lutheran church pauses on July 28 to commemorate his life, music, and faith. In case you missed it, here is… Read More »

“Soli Deo Gloria” – The Fifth Sola

Earlier this month we were able to personally thank over 60 of the musicians, volunteers, and supporters of the Peoria Bach Festival at our annual Peoria Bach Festival Appreciation Party. This blog is dedicated to them and all those who make the Peoria Bach Festival possible. As you may know, Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) concluded all of his sacred compositions and many of his secular works with the phrase “Soli Deo… Read More »

“Welcome” to Jubal’s Lyre!

Jubal’s Lyre is my personal blog plus a way for me share my music with everyone on my own timetable. A lot of it is still on my computer. In time I hope to share most of it with you. Please contact me if you have any questions. Soli Deo Gloria!

“Wolcum Yole”: A Carol for the Seasons of Christmas and Epiphany

On this, the Twelfth Day of Christmas, I thought you might enjoy the carol “Welcome Yole!” It is one of the few that mentions the Twelve Days of Christmas and its Feast Days specifically. The text is relatively simple enjoining us to celebrate Christmas, its Feast Days, and the New Year together. The most well-known setting is the second movement of A Ceremony of Carols by Benjamin Britten (1913-76). Below… Read More »

A Christmas with Paul Gerhardt in 1659

I pray that you enjoyed a Merry Christmas, even in these difficult and strange times, and were blessed by a lot of sacred music. I came across a story about the 1659 Christmas Day service at the Nikolaikirche (Church of St. Nicholas) in Berlin, Germany that I thought I would share. One of the pastors at the church at that time was Paul Gerhardt (1607-76), one of the great hymn… Read More »

A Lament? At Easter?

One aspect of the Resurrection story that is difficult for many of us to appreciate is the depth of the sorrow and grief that the followers of Jesus must have felt after His crucifixion. No doubt this would have amplified the confusion, disbelief, and ultimately the joy that they experienced upon hearing that He had risen from the dead. There is a section at the beginning of Bach’s Easter Oratorio that… Read More »

A Lesson from King Nebuchadnezzar

In our daily devotions this week, my wife and I have been reading the Book of Daniel. After reading Chapter 3, it occurred to me that for some reason we have a tendency to turn the gifts God gives us into idols. This seems to be what King Nebuchadnezzar did in Daniel 3. In the previous chapter, God gave him a dream about a statue that only Daniel could interpret.… Read More »