Within the liturgy for each Lord’s day, we receive the Word of God through uniquely appointed readings, psalms, hymns, and prayers. This week we will pray the Divine Service Setting One (audio of this liturgy). The following guide will help you to prepare to hear and sing the Propers, i.e. the varied texts and hymns for this week.
Those Who Wait on the Lord Shall Rejoice
The people of God are pilgrims and sojourners in this world, looking ahead to a destination yet to come (1 Peter 2:11–20). Though we are now children of God, the fullness of what we shall be has not yet been revealed (1 John 3:1– 3). We are those who wait on the Lord. “The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him” (Lam 3:25). Jesus tells us that the wait is just a little while. “A little while, and you will see me no longer; and again a little while, and you will see me” (John 16:16). Though you must experience sorrow for a time, though you must live as strangers in a world that is at enmity with Christ, yet your sorrow will be turned to joy when He returns. “But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength” (Is. 40:31). The little while of weeping shall be replaced with an eternity of rejoicing in the presence of Christ the crucified and risen Savior. “And no one will take your joy from you” (John 16:22).
Collect of the Day: Almighty God, You show those in error the light of Your truth so that they may return to the way of righteousness. Grant faithfulness to all who are admitted into the fellowship of Christ’s Church that they may avoid whatever is contrary to their confession and follow all such things as are pleasing to You; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Old Testament: Isaiah 40:25-31
Epistle:1 Pet. 2:11-20
Holy Gospel:John 16:16-23
The hymn is the sonic equivalent of a Renaissance painting where “the eye can think of the orders of the angels and saints, rank upon rank.” Raphael’s “The Crowning of the Virgin” (1502-1503) displays the connection between the sonic and visual symbolism of heaven and earth. Undoubtedly, Riley was influenced by his study of Greek liturgy and the Theotokion, “Hymn to the Mother of God.” The hymn was first matched to the tune LASST UNS ERFREUEN (“Let us rejoice”), a German tune from the 17th century, by Ralph Vaughan Williams for the English Hymnal (1906). For over 100 years, this pairing of text and tune, as well as Vaughan Williams’ arrangement, has been standard for many hymnals.
The delight we experience as Christians comes from the faith given to us by the Holy Spirit. After His resurrection Jesus meets two of his disciples on the road to Emmaus where he opens the Scriptures to them.
William Nelle, a German hymn commentator, said of this hymn: “Gerhardt has experienced the fatherly love of God in Christ, the Holy Spirit has transfigured Jesus in his heart and testified to him that we are the children of God. At is the center of his life. In this center he stands firm. And because he cannot be moved from this position, he can let his eye sweep freely, without fear of limitation, over all areas of divine and human life.”
“Come, Ye Faithful, Raise the Strain” is a Greek Resurrection hymn written by John of Damascus (c. 675-749) in the 8th century. The translation by John Mason Neale (1818-1866) first appeared in Christian Remembrance (April 1859) in an article on “Greek Hymnody” and then in Hymns of the Eastern Church(1862) in four stanzas.
The tune is by an unknown composer. The original text was written around 1567 by Martin Schalling, who was born in 1532 in Strasbourg (just two years after the presentation of the Augsburg Confession). He was a student of Philip Melanchthon at the University of Wittenberg and served for much of his life as a pastor in Germany, in the midst of significant religious turmoil.
In the hymn, we confess our faith in God and in his word of promise to bless and keep us. We pray that God would preserve us in the faith, despite the trials of this life, even despite death, and that He would give us a blessed rest while we await the reappearing of Christ, when we will see him face to face and praise him forevermore.