Monday, November 1, 2010

Festival of Reformation Day

What a beautiful Divine Service yesterday!  Mary played wonderfully, the choir sang splendidly, and our Sunday School children belted out "Children of the Heavenly Father."  But, most importantly, our gracious and merciful Lord showed up with His Divine Gifts, as He always does.  The Festival of Reformation Day is always one of my favorite Services each year.  It's jam-packed with solid hymns, all pointing to Jesus and the salvation He's won for us.  It's one of those Services that runs long (almost an hour and a half yesterday), but no one really notices.  We sang all ten stanzas of both "Salvation Unto Us Has Come" and "Dear Christians, One and All, Rejoice," two hymns that tell you everything you need to know about Christianity, along with "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God" (of course!), and "Lord, Keep Us Steadfast in Your Word" (with text I wrote this year - see below).  We also replaced several elements of the liturgy with hymns, following LSB 5, which is based on Luther's Deutsche Messe.  Always love hearing the choir sing "Isaiah, Mighty Seer" (gives me goosebumps every time!).  Just a beautiful Service all around - can't wait till next year!

Here's the text I wrote for "Lord, Keep Us Steadfast in Your Word."  We used this as the Processional Hymn yesterday, the choir and congregation singing alternate stanzas.  Kinda neat to hear a hymn you wrote being sung. :) 

"Lord, Keep Us Steadfast in Your Word"
(Text:  Rev. Thomas C. Messer; Tune:  Erhault Uns Herr - Reformation Day 2010)  

Lord, keep us steadfast in Your Word;
Lead us to where it can be heard:
Within Your Holy Church that we
May hear how Christ has set us free.

We know that we are sinners sure,
And of ourselves we have no cure;
Only the Blood of Jesus will
Bring health to we who are so ill.

Baptized into Christ's death are we;
Thus, from us does the devil flee;
Set free from him and worldly strife,
In Jesus Christ we have new life.

Now clothed in Jesus' righteousness,
Our Father does not see the mess
Our sins make of our lives each day,
But only Jesus' perfect way.

And now Lord do You bid us, "Come!"
Into Your Holy House, our home,
That our Baptismal gowns You may
Cleanse with Your Blood again today.

Let us come to this Holy Feast,
From first to last, from great to least,
To sup' on His Body and Blood,
Which is for us the greatest Food.

These Blessed Gifts which we receive
Do fill us with peace as we leave,
And give us strength that as we go,
We tell how Christ o'ercame our woe.

All glory to the Father, Son, 
And Holy Spirit, Three in One!
Let all in heav'n and here on earth
Give praise to Him Who gives New Birth! 

No comments: