Hymn stanzas based on J.S. Bach’s Cantata for Quasimodo Geniti Sunday

The following stanzas are based on the words from
BWV 67 – “Halt im Gedächtnis Jesum Christ“, J.S. Bach’s Cantata for Quasimodo Geniti Sunday.  Drawing from the Gospel lesson (John 20:19-31) as well as the Epistle lesson (1 John 5:4-10), Bach emphasizes the peace, which Jesus announces from his resurrection, and our faith’s assurance even in the midst of the fear of death.  Christ, who has overcome the world, has given this victory to us, which we possess by faith.

The tune, Du Friedefürst, Herr Jesu Christ, is from the last chorale of Bach’s piece. I have included that stanza’s translation by Catherine Winkworth as the last stanza. In these stanzas I have attempted to grasp the theology of J.S. Bach’s text. Although I have admittedly taken some liberty with some of the stanzas.

You can listen to the Cantata here.

Based on Chorus
Keep Jesus Christ in mind, my soul,
And think upon His Name!
He died to meet the Father’s goal
To rescue all from blame.
Now from the tomb
Your heav’nly Groom
And Savior has arisen.

Based on Aria T
My Jesus Christ was raised from death.
So what still frightens me?
When I shall face my dying breath,
My faith finds victory.
Though on me press
My sin’s distress,
My faith still finds its Savior.

Based on Recitative A
He is the poison and demise
Of death and hell for aye.
Thus when such foes against me rise,
And bring to night my day,
He frees my tongue
And fills each lung
To sing His praise forever.

Based on Erschienen ist der herrlich Tag, by Nikolaus Herman
Revealed is now the glorious day
O’er which no songs suffice
To shout my joy and to display
My thanks to Jesus Christ.
Raised from the dead
My death He led
As captive. Allelulia!

Based on: Recitative A
And yet the remnant of the foe
Moves swiftly to deceive.
I find that death and all its woe
Still make my spirit greave.
But as You won,
Dear Jesus, own
My conscience and my spirit!

As You ascend triumphantly
O’er death and hell this day
So fight in me the tyranny
Of sin’s deceitful sway.
Grant me surcease,
O Prince of Peace,
Your Word and work fulfilling!

Based on: Aria B and Chorus
“Peace be with you,” says Christ my Lord,
Who dampens Satan’s flame.
With sweetest comfort in His Word
His peace He does proclaim.
In death’s dark hour,
Lord, by Your pow’r
To Heaven’s Kingdom bring me!

Du Friedefürst, Herr Jesu Christ, stanza 1, Jakob Ebert; trans. Catherine Winkworth alt.
Lord Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace,
True God and Man, we bow!
Mighty to help in life and death,
O hear and help us now!
‘Tis thro’ Your name
Alone we claim
The mercy of the Father!

About Pastor Andrew Preus

Pastor Andrew Preus is the pastor of Trinity Lutheran/St. Paul Lutheran, Guttenberg/McGregor, IA. He is the eighth of eleven sons, with one sister. He received his seminary training at Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary, St. Catharines, ON (MDiv) from 2009 to 2013, and Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, IN (STM) from 2013 to 2014. His main theological interests include Justification and Church and Ministry. He is married to Leah Preus (nee Fehr), and they have four children: Jacob, Solveig, Kristiana, and Robert.

Comments

Hymn stanzas based on J.S. Bach’s Cantata for Quasimodo Geniti Sunday — 3 Comments

  1. Pop music has lyrics. Although a paraphrase of a translation “based on” a biblical text, in better music schools sacred pieces, especially pieces of serious artistic merit, i.e., art music, are still said to have texts, not lyrics. A lot of work went into this. Bach did not sit around with his guitar dreaming up ‘inspired’ lyrics. Like you, he did his best to present the text.

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