Hymn Notes (3rd to Last Sunday of the Church Year)

LSB 655 Lord, Keep Us Steadfast in Your Word is a children’s hymn that Martin Luther composed in 1541-42. At that time, the Evangelical (later called Lutheran) church was under ongoing threat by those loyal to the pope. In addition, the advancement of the Turks into the region of Budapest brought war to the eastern border of the Empire. In the original text of stanza 1, we beseech God to “curb the Turks’ and papists’ sword” (later a more general and mild “by deceit or sword”) so that the Gospel of Christ may be preached and believed in spite of its devilish enemies.

LSB 496 Holy Spirit, Light Divine was written in 1817 by Dr. Andrew Reed in London. During his ministry in the Congregational church, Dr. Reed had a heart for orphans and the mentally ill. This hymn was penned as a prayer to the Holy Spirit, who alone can enlighten the darkness of our guilty hearts and sanctify us to fully know and trust in Jesus Christ.

TLH 650 Joseph Grigg was a Presbyterian pastor in London and composed this hymn in 1765.  Behold, a Stranger at the Door, based on Revelation 3:20 expands on the Lord Jesus’ call for spiritual renewal and perseverance within His Church.  Aware of how easy it is for us sinners to become spiritual indifferent and not pay attention to our Shepherd’s voice, this hymn rather bluntly admonishes us to realize this and repent of it, and then to be forgiven and renewed in devoted serve to our Lord and Savior.

LSB 718 Jesus, Lead Thou On, composed in 1721, has long been a favorite among Lutheran Christians.  Nicolaus von Zinzendorf, its composer, was born of royalty and had strong roots in the Pietist revival movement in Halle, Germany. He zealously left everything to become a missionary and travelled around Europe, the British Isles, and America. Although during his lifetime, von Zinzendorf caused trouble by inserting himself into established congregations, he left a beneficial legacy of several hymns and spiritual songs.

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