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Tuesday, December 1, 2015

LSB 360 All My Heart Again Rejoices


LSB 360 All My Heart Again Rejoices







Softly from His lowly manger

   Jesus calls
   One and all,
“You are safe from danger.
Children, from the sins that grieve you
   You are freed;
   All you need
I will surely give you.”

Come, then, banish all your sadness!
   One and all,
   Great and small,
Come with songs of gladness.
We shall live with Him forever
   There on high
   In that joy
Which will vanish never.

Public domain


I had never heard this hymn before committing to meditate on it.  My guess is that "All My Heart Again Rejoices" is brand new to most of my North American friends. However, judging by the number of excellent renditions in Germany, it is well known across the pond (the Atlantic Ocean).

Lutheran Service Book promotional material claims that 200 hymns are introduced here for the first time for use in our congregations. The best hymns from the two most recent Synodical hymnals have been retained.  Getting familiar with these "new" hymns is another reason I embarked on this project. They stretch me. Stretching feels sore at first, but feels good as you get used to it.

I appreciate the simple MIDI tracks included with the Lutheran Service Builder. I can at least hear the simple melody line. Still, nothing prepared me for the youtube presentations of this tune I have been listening to from across Germany. Full Christmas Eve congregations with full organ and full orchestra belting out a hymn they obviously know well and love deelply. Beautiful.

A very important beginning to reflecting on Christmas begins with "Peace." The angels are famous for their proclamation of peace. Getting peace right requires that we first appreciate who and what the enemy is. Then, recognize how we are complicit with those enemies.

This is one of the real dangers of skipping Advent in favor of jumping right to Christmas. Advent, the penitential Advent, took a hard look at lawlessness, chaos, evil, sin, death, and hell. Advent marked the enemy targets and appreciated all the many ways that fallen human beings had turned traitor against their God, against each other, and against their own desire to do good.

Advent marked the enemy during these fasting days and loaded the ammo of each Feast Day.
Fire one: Christmas (God the Father gives the Son)
Fire two: Easter (God the Son gives His Life)
Fire three: Pentecost (God the Holy Spirit call, gathers, enlightens, and makes people holy)

Sin, Woe (suffering), death, and hell are in the cross-hairs from the start. Jesus didn't come to teach evil people how to be nice by being nice and then encouraging us with lots of "you-can-do-its." Jesus came to be the Truth. Truth is, the only thing to do with all that evil is kill it.  The good news is not that everything is "ok" now.  The good news is that Jesus has put all the enemies to death by his death and left them all in the grave when He rose.  The evil in our hearts, minds, souls, flesh and blood is included. Jesus' "Follow Me" is all inclusive.  The good news is that we have Jesus' death and resurrection to do the dying and rising for and in us by baptism into Christ and trust in the Truth.

Basic issues still remain - imagining everything is fine and dandy is delusional. Far too many things go terribly wrong to even keep track from one moment to the next. Imagining that some human effort of education, or science, or applied technology, or exploration, or diplomacy, or, or, or --- is finally going to make the difference, lets the real enemy hideout while we treat symptoms. If our appreciation of the enemy is too small, our solutions will never satisfy.  Evil is real; it needs to be cut off.  Death is real; it needs to be swallowed up in victory.

Come, then, banish all your sadness!
   One and all,
   Great and small,
Come with songs of gladness.
We shall live with Him forever
   There on high
   In that joy
Which will vanish never.



Luke 2:8-14
And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. 10And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people. 11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
14“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

Hebrews 2:14
Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil,

Revelation 12:9-11
And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. 10And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. 11And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death."

John 3:16-17
[Jesus said:] “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

John 1:29
The next day [John] saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

John 5:24
Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.