Hymn #102: O How Shall I Receive You

Paul Gerhardt (1607-1676) based this hymn on Matthew 21:1-9 for the first Sunday in Advent, but it is often used for Palm Sunday when called for by the lectionary readings. The translation is a compilation from several sources, including Catherine Winkworth (1827-1878).

Paul Gerhardt, in addition to his pastoral duties, composed many hymns. His work marked the transition from the old style confessional hymns used in the Lutheran church to more devotional hymns. Gerhardt stressed the God of love rather than the wrathful God that Luther wrote about.

Melchior Teschner (1584-1635) composed this and another melody for a hymn by Valerius Herberger in the early seventeenth century. This tune name, VALET WILL ICH DER GEBEN, is from the opening of that text. ST. THEODULPH derives from the tune’s association with a different Latin hymn.

Melchior Teschner studied philosophy and theology in addition to music at the University of Franfurt-an-der-Ober. This training served him well in a career that included positions as cantor, teacher, and pastor. Teschner died in 1635 as a result of an attack by the Cossacks.