Commemoration: Philipp Nicolai, Johann Heermann, and Paul Gerhardt

Yesterday was the commemoration of three faithful women in the Church, and because our calendar stacks these things on top of each other, today we commemorate three hymnwriters, Philipp Nicolai, Johann Heermann and Paul Gerhardt.

Some highlights: Nicolai wrote the tune to “Allelulia! Let Praises Ring”/”O Holy Spirit Enter In,” and the other two wrote the text to a couple of my favorite Lenten hymns, “O Dearest Jesus, What Law Hast Thou Broken” (Heermann) and “O Sacred Head, Now Wounded” (Gerhardt). However, since neither are in season I’ll leave you with an Easter hymn by Gerhardt instead (LSB 467):

Awake, my heart, with gladness,
See what today is done;
Now, after gloom and sadness,
Comes forth the glorious sun.
My Savior there was laid
Where our bed must be made
When to the realms of light
Our spirit wings its flight.
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The foe in triumph shouted
When Christ lay in the tomb;
But lo, he now is routed,
His boast is turned to gloom.
For Christ again is free;
In glorious victory
He who is strong to save
Has triumphed o’er the grave.
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This is a sight that gladdens–
What peace it doth impart!
Now nothing ever saddens
The joy within my heart.
No gloom shall ever shake,
No foe shall ever take
The hope which God’s own Son
In love for me hath won.
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Now hell, its prince, the devil,
Of all their pow’r are shorn;
Now I am safe from evil,
And sin I laugh to scorn.
Grim death with all his might
Cannot my soul affright;
It is a pow’rless form,
Howe’er it rave and storm.
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The world against me rages,
Its fury I disdain;
Though bitter war it wages,
Its work is all in vain.
My heart from care is free,
No trouble troubles me.
Misfortune now is play,
And night is bright as day.
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Now I will cling forever
To Christ, my Savior true;
My Lord will leave me never,
Whate’er He passes through.
He rends death’s iron chain;
He breaks through sin and pain;
He shatters hell’s dark thrall;
I follow Him through all.
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He brings me to the portal
That leads to bliss untold,
Whereon this rhyme immortal
Is found in script of gold:
“Who there My cross has shared
Finds here a crown prepared;
Who there with Me has died
Shall here be glorified.”