Hymn #74: We Have Gathered, Jesus Dear

Tobias Clausnitzer (1619-1684) wrote these words in German in 1663 as a predigtlied, or sermon hymn.  It was the tradition in German churches to sing part of a hymn before the sermon and the rest as the minister descended from the pulpit at the conclusion of the sermon.

Tobias Clausnitzer was a German Lutheran pastor who served as chaplain to the Swedish army at Leipzig.  As such, he preached the thanksgiving sermon in St. Thomas’ Church, Leipzig, when Queen Christina assumed the throne of Sweden.  Later he served churches at Weiden and Pergstein.

Johann Rudolph Ahle (1625-1673) called this tune LIEBSTER JESU after the first words of the German text.  When the tune was brought to the United States the name was changed to NUREMBERG or DESSAU, which was a city important to the Lutheran religious movement.

 Johann R. Ahle was born on Christ Eve Day, 1625, at Mühlhausen in Thuringia (now part of Germany).  He was a distinguished German church organist influenced by Heinrich Schütz and the Italian school of music.  Ahle’s career also included terms as city council member and mayor.