Oh, How Blest Are They

 

LSB 679:1

Oh, how blest are they whose toils are ended.

Who through death have unto God ascended!

They have arisen

From the cares which keep us still in prison.

 

I picked LSB 679 as the Hymn for the Day on All Saints Sunday.  On the way out of church, Mrs. Harms, her husband had been a pastor, said that hymn was new to here.  I said it was new to me.  But she went on to say that she will have to become more familiar because they were quite meaningful.

This hymn was written by Simon Dach in the first half of the 17th century.  Dach was a professor at Konigsberg university in what is now Lithuania.  He wrote more than 150 hymns a large and large number of poems.  Born in 1605, he died at age 53 in 1659.  The hymn was translated into English by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in the 19th century.  Of course we, Longfellow for “The Ride of Paul Revere” and “Song of Hiawatha.”

Stanza 3, reminds me of my daily walk through the St. Lucas cemetery.

They meanwhile are in their chambers sleeping,

Quiet and set free from all their weeping;

No cross or sadness

There can hinder their untroubled gladness.

 

In stanza 5 we add our prayer that Christ would come and lead us to where God wipes away tears and where we will join them in, “Songs that ne’er to mortal ears were granted.” (stanza 4)

Stanza 5,

Come, O Christ, and loose the chains that bind us;

Lead us forth and cast this world behind us.

With You, the Anointed,

Finds the soul its joy and rest appointed.

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