A blessed third Sunday in Advent to my readers. Today is Rejoice Sunday. There is (at least for me) a small and interesting liturgical puzzle about it, which I wrote about here.
This morning we sang in church "How Bright Appears the Morning Star," another Nicolai-Bach hymn and a great success. I defy anyone to be gloomy while singing "Incarnate God, put forth thy power. Ride on, ride on, great conqueror, till all know thy salvation. Amen, amen. Alleluia, alleluia, praise be given." And so forth.
My readers, especially my Protestant readers unfamiliar with this song, should note that it gives the whole Gospel. The words are great--note especially the second verse. And the line in the third verse (my favorite), "With praise ye sinners fill the sky." Not "with praise ye angels" or "with praise ye people" or anything dull like that. It's the sinners who are to fill the sky with praises to Christ for our redemption. (Reminds me of an old Philips, Craig, and Dean song, "Favorite Song of All," which contains the line, "His favorite song of all is the song of the redeemed."
Here are the words to "Wie Schon Leuchtet Der Morgenstern" (How Bright Appears the Morning Star).
How bright appears the Morning Star,
with mercy beaming from afar;
the host of heaven rejoices;
O righteous Branch, O Jesse's Rod!
Thou Son of Man and Son of God!
We, too, will lift our voices:
Holy, holy, yet most lowly, draw thou near us;
great Emmanuel, come and hear us.
Though circled by the hosts on high,
he deigned to cast a pitying eye
upon his helpless creature;
the whole creation's Head and Lord,
by highest seraphim adored,
assumed our very nature;
Jesus, grant us,
through thy merit, to inherit
hear, O hear our supplication.
Rejoice, ye heavens; thou earth, reply;
with praise, ye sinners, fill the sky,
for this his Incarnation.
Incarnate God, put forth thy power,
ride on, ride on, great Conqueror,
till all know thy salvation.
Praise be given
evermore, by earth and heaven.
And as a bonus, here is an organ version. It starts a little slow, but wait--it picks up after the introduction.