763

Blessed Jesus, at Your Word

Scripture References

Further Reflections on Scripture References

Essentially a prayer asking for illumination by the Holy Spirit as the Christian communi­ty gathers around the Lord's Word, "Blessed Jesus" is a pre-sermon hymn by Tobias Clausnitzer (b. Thum, Saxony, Germany, 1619; d. Weiden, Upper Palatine, Germany, 1684). It was first published in the Altdorffisches Gesang-Buchlein (1663) and first attrib­uted to Clausnitzer in the Nüremberg, Germany, Gesangbuch (1676). Catherine Winkworth (PHH 194) translated the text and published it in English in her Lyra Germanica (2nd series, 1858).
 
Bert Polman, Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

This song emphasizes our need to listen well, and includes a call to ourselves and others to receive it as God’s truth. Such prayers and exhortations implement the convictions of Belgic Confession, Article 24 and Our World Belongs to God, paragraph 32: “The Bible is the Word of God, the record and tool of his redeeming work. It is the Word of truth, breath of God, fully reliable in leading us to know God and to walk with Jesus Christ in new life.”
763

Blessed Jesus, at Your Word

Additional Prayers

A Prayer of Acclamation
Blessed Jesus, at your word demons scattered. At your word crowds gasped. At your word a widow’s son came back from the dead. Blessed Jesus, at your word we are gathered all to hear you. Amen.
— Cornelius Plantinga, Jr.
763

Blessed Jesus, at Your Word

Tune Information

Name
LIEBSTER JESU
Key
G Major or modal
Meter
7.8.7.8.8.8
763

Blessed Jesus, at Your Word

Hymn Story/Background

Essentially a prayer asking for illumination by the Holy Spirit as the Christian community gathers around the Lord's Word, "Blessed Jesus" is a pre-sermon hymn by Tobias Clausnitzer. It was first published in the Altdorffisches Gesang-Buchlein (1663) and first attributed to Clausnitzer in the Nüremberg, Germany, Gesangbuch (1676). Catherine Winkworth translated the text and published it in English in her Lyra Germanica (2nd series, 1858).
 
LlEBSTER JESU is a rather serene German chorale that is ideally sung in three long lines and in parts with light organ accompaniment. In rounded bar form (AABA') LIEBSTER JESU (also called DESSAU and NURENBERG) was originally one of Johann R. Able's “sacred arias,” first published with Franz J. Burmeister's Advent hymn text “Ja, er ist's, das Heil der Welt" in the Mühlhausen, Germany, Neue geistliche auf die Sonntage…Andachten (1664). The tune was later modified and published in the Darmstadt, Germany, Das grosse Cantional (1687) as a setting for a baptism hymn by Benjamin Schmolck that had the same first line as Clausnitzer's text: "Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier." Because several sources say that LIEBSTER JESU was first associated with Clausnitzer's hymn in the 1671 Altdoifer Gesangbuch, it seems probable that the tune name derives from that hymn text.
— Bert Polman

Author Information

Tobias Clausnitzer (b. Thum, Saxony, Germany, 1619; d. Weiden, Upper Palatine, Germany, 1684) graduated from the University of Leipzig and became a chaplain in the Swedish army. He preached two sermons at memorable occasions: when Queen Christina ascended the Swedish throne in 1645 and when the Peace of Westphalia, which ended the Thirty Years War, was celebrated in 1648. Clausnitzer became a pastor in Weiden in 1648, where he remained until his death. In addition to "Blessed Jesus, at Your Word," his creedal hymn, “We Believe in One True God,” is found in many modern hymnals.
— Bert Polman

Catherine Winkworth (b. Holborn, London, England, 1827; d. Monnetier, Savoy, France, 1878) is well known for her English translations of German hymns; her translations were polished and yet remained close to the original. Educated initially by her mother, she lived with relatives in Dresden, Germany, in 1845, where she acquired her knowledge of German and interest in German hymnody. After residing near Manchester until 1862, she moved to Clifton, near Bristol. A pioneer in promoting women's rights, Winkworth put much of her energy into the encouragement of higher education for women. She translated a large number of German hymn texts from hymnals owned by a friend, Baron Bunsen. Though often altered, these translations continue to be used in many modern hymnals. Her work was published in two series of Lyra Germanica (1855, 1858) and in The Chorale Book for England (1863), which included the appropriate German tune with each text as provided by Sterndale Bennett and Otto Goldschmidt. Winkworth also translated biographies of German Christians who promoted ministries to the poor and sick and compiled a handbook of biographies of German hymn authors, Christian Singers of Germany (1869).
— Bert Polman

Composer Information

While studying at the university in Erfurt, Johann R. Ahle (b. Miihlhausen, Thuringia, Germany, 1625; d. Miihlhausen, 1673) was a cantor at St. Andrew Church and director of the music school. In 1654 he became organist at St. Blasius Church in Mühlhausen, a position he held until his death. During those years Ahle also served as a councilman and mayor of the city. Ahle's compositions, often ornate and strongly dramatic, reflected some of the features of Italian opera; he called his religious vocal pieces "sacred arias." Although sometimes scorned by more traditional musicians, Ahle's music helped to revitalize the church music of his day.
— Bert Polman
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