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Christian Hearts in Love United

Scripture References

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

It is vitally important that worshipers understand the role of God’s law among us. God gives his law to us, not so that we can earn his favor by full obedience, for even those converted to God cannot obey this law perfectly. Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 44, Question and Answer 114 says, “In this life even the holiest have only a small beginning of this obedience.” Instead, says Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 2, Question and Answer 3, through this law “we come to know [our] misery.” 
 
Yet in their new life of gratitude, God’s children “with all seriousness of purpose, do begin to live according to all, not only some, of God’s commandments” (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 44, Question and Answer 114). They measure their good works of gratitude as “those which are done out of true faith, conform to God’s law, and are done for God’s glory” (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 33, Question and Answer 91). 
 
In other words, though Christ has fulfilled the law for us, “The truth and substance of these things remain for us in Jesus Christ…[and] we continue to use the witnesses drawn from the law and prophets to confirm us in the gospel and to regulate our lives with full integrity for the glory of God according to the will of God” (Belgic Confession, Article 25). Therefore, the Ten Commandments with explanation are included in the third section, “gratitude,” (Lord’s Days 34-44) of Heidelberg Catechism.

Additional Prayers

A Prayer to Jesus Christ to Exemplify his Love
O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, fountain of love, your feet took you to the hovels of lepers, and your hands touched there what used to be untouchable.  Your knees bent before your disciples to wash feet they would not have washed for each other.  Your back writhed under the lash and your arms stretched to be pinned to a beam—all for love of sinners.  Now we who have been loved want to show love, but it must be your love we show or else it will not do.  It will never do.  So unite our hearts in your love, we pray.  Amen.
— Cornelius Plantinga, Jr.

Tune Information

Name
O DU LIEBE MEINER LIEBE
Key
G Major or modal
Meter
8.7.8.7 D

Hymn Story/Background

The three stanzas come from a composite translation that depends on English versions by Frederick W. Foster and John Miller (Johannes Muller) in the Moravian Hymn Book (1789, with revisions in the 1886 ed.) and by Walter Klaassen in The Mennonite Hymnal (1969). This text gained great significance at the Herrnhut settlement, where it was often used after the healing of internal conflict.
 
This distinguished text about the church's "communion of saints" proclaims that Christians live in union with Christ (st. 1), love each other (st. 2), and serve and witness in the world (st. 3).
 
Originally a folk song ("Sollen nun die grünen Jahre") dating from around 1700, O DU LIEBE MEINER LIEBE was used as a hymn tune in the Catholic hymnal Bambergisches Gesangbuch (1732). The tune name is the incipit of the text to which it was set in Johann Thommen's Erbaulicher Musicalischer Christen-Schatz oder 500 Geistliche Lieder (1745). This version is from a manuscript chorale book of the Moravian Brethren compiled in Herrnhut in 1735.
 
The rounded bar form (AABA) tune, with mostly stepwise motion, has a harmonization that invites part singing. Because the middle stanza is a sung prayer to God, try singing it unaccompanied.  
— Bert Polman

Author Information

In 1723 Count Nicolaus L. von Zinzendorf (b. Dresden, Germany, 1700; d. Herrnhut, Germany, 1760) wrote an extended poem, "Die letzten Reden unsers Herrn," of 320 stanzas on the teachings of Jesus found in John 14-17. A hymn text beginning "Herz und Herz vereint zusammen" was taken from this work and published in various early Moravian hymnals.
 
Zinzendorf’s career, achievements, and influence were of great importance, both in his own community and worldwide. Although his family insisted that he be trained in law, his inclination was always toward religious matters. A devout youth who was influence by Philipp Spener and the Pietists, he wrote his first hymn at the age of twelve. After his graduation from Wittenberg University in 1719, he became the official poet for the Saxon court.
 
His life took focus in 1722 when a small group of persecuted Bohemian Brethren, or Moravians (spiritual descendants of John Hus), sought a place of refuge. Zinzendorf granted them protection on his estate in Bertelsdorf; they called their new home "Herrnhut," or "the Lord's shelter." The settlement grew to over two hundred homes and became an outstanding Christian community of piety, worship, and mission. Some of these missionaries influenced John and Charles Wesley. Zinzendorf became their bishop in 1737 but then was banished for a decade from Saxony by Saxon officials because of his evangelical convictions; he returned to Herrnhut in 1748. During his banishment he traveled throughout Europe, to St. Petersburg in Russia, and to the United States and the West Indies in order to establish and encourage Moravian mission centers.
 
He promoted the tradition of congregational singing at Herrnhut and elsewhere and frequently led long hymn sings in an improvised medley format, which included hymn fragments or choruses. Some two thousand hymn texts are attributed to him, but many are judged to be too subjective for congregational use today. Das Gesang-Buch der Gemeine Herrnhut (1735), with its almost one thousand texts, was compiled under his supervision and contained some two hundred of his own hymns. He also produced a two-volume hymnal in London, Alt- und Neuer Bruder-Gesang (1753-1754), which contained over three thousand German hymn texts grouped in chronological order.
— Bert Polman