Hymn Notes

Weekly Hymn Notes

Learn about the origin of  hymns, lyrics, and melodies, and other music that will be used during Sunday worship service. Contact Don De Bruin, Director of Music Ministries for more information at 608.233.9751.

Hymn Notes for January 20, 2019

From The New Century Hymnal Companion, Copyright 1998, The Pilgrim Press.

#158 O Morning Star, How Clear and Bright

Philipp Nicolai (1556-1608) wrote this text, based on Psalm 45, in seven ten-line stanzas and published it in 1599.  The beginning letters of each stanza formed an acrostic, which referred to one of Nicolai's students.  Catherine Winkworth translated the German text "Wie schon leuchtet der Morgenstern" in 1863.

Philipp Nicolai was born i Waldeck (now part of Germany) on August 10, 1556, and was an outstanding Lutheran preacher of his time.  He served parishes in Herdecke in the Rhineland, Cologne, Unna in Westphalia, and Hamburg, where he died October 26, 1608.

Philipp Nicolai (1556-1608) composed this tune, WIE SCHON LEUCHTET, during a time of plague while he was a minister in Westphalia.  It became widely popular throughout Germany and was used for many occasions, especially weddings.

Philipp Nicolai changed his surname for Rafflenboel to Nicolai, using a form of his father Nicolas's first name.  As a child he anticipated his life's work by "playing church" and officiating at funerals for pets who died.  When Nicolai was ordained to the ministry he was only twenty years old.

#60 O Spirit of God

Johann Niedling (1602-1668) included this hymn and other anonymous texts in his 1651 hymnal Lutherische Handbuchlein.  It is now believed that Niedling was the author of the original German Text, "O Heiliger Geist, o heiliger Gott," as well as many of the other texts in that collection.

 

Johann Niedling was a schoolteacher in Altenburg, Saxony (now a part of Germany), in addition to being a hymnwriter.  His six collections of hymns used in the Lutheran tradition did much to promote hymn singing in the church, and his 1651 Lutherische Handbuchlein was widely used.

This tune by an unknown composer takes its name from the opening line of the hymn, O HEILIGER GEIST, meaning "O Holy Ghost."  Another name used in some hymnals is O JESULEIN SUSS, for the German Christmas text with which it is more frequently sung.

 

The Geistliche Kirchengesang was a German hymnal printed in Cologne in 1623.  This particular tune was reprinted in a number of other hymnals and included by J.S. Bach in Musikalisches Gesangbuch (1736), which he edited for Georg Christian Schemelli in Leipzig.

#582 O God of Earth and Altar

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) wrote the poem on which this hymn was based, and it appeared in The Commonwealth and in The English Hymnal (1906).  Jane Parker Huber (1926-2008) updated stanza 2 and added stanza 3 in the version provided here.

G. K. Chesterton is better known for his literary career than for his hymnwriting.  A friend of George Bernard Shaw, Chesterton published more than one hundred volumes of stories, novels, plays, biographies, and verse.  He converted to Roman Catholicism in 1922 and espoused a return to the trade practices of the Middle Ages as a cure for the ills of industrialization.

LLANGLOFFAN is a traditional Welsh melody.  Its first publication has been traced to Llwybrau Moliant (1872), a Baptist tune collection.  Some scholars believe that the tune may have spread from England to Wales in the eighteenth or nineteenth century.  The title may refer to the “Church of St. Gloffan.”

The harmonization of this popular Welsh folk melody should be attributed to The English Hymnal (1906) and may have been the work of Ralph Vaughan Williams.  Welsh hymnbook editor and composer David Evans made a different arrangement of the tune for The Church Hymnary (1927).

Hymns by Title

Hymn Number Title Service Date
#158 O Morning Star, How Clear and Bright January 20, 2019
#60 O Spirit of God January 20, 2019
#582 O God of Earth and Altar January 20, 2019
#328 Wonder of Wonders, Here Revealed January 13, 2019
#177 God of Change and Glory January 13, 2019
#154 Go Tell It on the Mountain January 6, 2019
#584 I Am the Light of the World January 6, 2019
#524 This Little Light of Mine January 6, 2019
#138 Jesus, Our Brother, Strong and Good December 30, 2018
#552 From the Crush of Wealth and Power December 30, 2018
#129 Good Christian Friends, Rejoice December 30, 2018
#132 Joy to the World! December 24, 2018
#134 Silent Night, Holy Night December 24, 2018
#124 Away in a Manger December 24, 2018
#121 Toda la Tierra (All Earth Is Waiting) December 24, 2018
#128 In the Bleak Midwinter December 24, 2018
#126 Angels, from the Realms of Glory December 24, 2018
#131 It Came upon the Midnight Clear December 24, 2018
#127 Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming December 24, 2018
#145 Once in Royal David's City December 24, 2018
#130 From Heaven unto Earth I Come December 24, 2018
#144 Hark! The Herald Angels Sing December 24, 2018
#135 Adeste Fideles (O Come, All You Faithful) December 24, 2018
#102 O How Shall I Receive You December 23, 2018
#109 With Joy Draw Water December 23, 2018
#124 Away in a Manger December 23, 2018
#107 Awake! Awake, and Greet the New Morn December 16, 2018
#128 In the Bleak Midwinter December 16, 2018
#323 Little Children, Welcome December 16, 2018
#104 We Hail You God’s Anointed December 16, 2018
#120 There's a Voice in the Wilderness December 9, 2018
#114 Return, My People December 9, 2018
#121 Toda la Tierra (All Earth Is Waiting) December 9, 2018
#103 Watcher, Tell Us of the Night December 2, 2018
#101 Comfort, Comfort O My People December 2, 2018
#436 God of Grace and God of Glory December 2, 2018
#335 Come, Gather in This Special Place December 2, 2018
#461 Let Us Hope When Hope Seems Hopeless November 25, 2018
#593 Lift Every Voice and Sing November 25, 2018
#584 I Am the Light of the World November 25, 2018
#22 Sing Praise to God, Who Has Shaped November 18, 2018
#25 O God, Our Help in Ages Past November 18, 2018
#459 Come, O Fount of Every Blessing November 18, 2018
#42 O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing November 11, 2018
#81 God Be with You November 11, 2018
#89 Awake, Awake to Love and Work November 4, 2018
#299 For All the Saints November 4, 2018
#342 Be Known to Us in Breaking Bread November 4, 2018
#298 O Savior, for the Saints November 4, 2018
#73 Enter, Rejoice, and Come In October 28, 2018

Hymns by Date

Service Date
January 20, 2019
January 13, 2019
January 6, 2019
December 30, 2018
December 24, 2018
December 23, 2018
December 16, 2018
December 9, 2018
December 2, 2018
November 25, 2018
November 18, 2018
November 11, 2018
November 4, 2018
October 28, 2018
October 21, 2018
October 14, 2018
October 7, 2018
September 30, 2018
September 23, 2018
September 16, 2018
September 9, 2018
September 2, 2018
August 26, 2018
August 19, 2018
August 12, 2018
August 5, 2018
July 29, 2018
July 22, 2018
July 15, 2018
July 8, 2018
July 1, 2018
June 24, 2018
June 17, 2018
June 10, 2018
June 3, 2018
May 27, 2018
May 20, 2018
May 13, 2018
May 13, 2018
May 6, 2018
April 29, 2018
April 22, 2018
April 15, 2018
April 8, 2018
April 1, 2018
March 29, 2018
March 25, 2018
March 18, 2018
March 11, 2018
March 4, 2018
February 28, 2018
February 25, 2018
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