Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Word Becomes Incarnate (Day Five)

A great and mighty wonder,
A full and holy cure:
A Mother bears the Infant
With virgin honor pure!

Proclaim the Savior's birth:
"To God on high be glory
And peace to all the earth!"

The Word becomes incarnate
And yet remains on high,
And cherubim sing anthems
To shepherds from the sky.

While thus they sing your Ruler,
Those bright angelic bands
Rejoice, ye vales and mountains,
Ye oceans, clap your hands.

And ancient forms shall perish,
And error shall decay,
And Christ shall wield his scepter,
Our Living God for aye.

St. Germanus, c. 7th cent.
tr. John Mason Neale, 1862; alt.
Tune: ES IST EIN ROS' ( with refrain)
Alte Catholische Geistliche Kirchengasäng, 1599

This hymn is still sung in some places, having survived mostly in Lutheran hymnals, though it predates Martin Luther by several centuries. Germanus, Patriarch of Constantinople, is a saint in both the Eastern and Western churches. Some of his hymns, including this one, were translated from Greek by John Mason Neale in his Hymns of the Eastern Church (1862).

The tune is much better known for its match with Lo, how a rose e'er blooming, which still does appear in most modern hymnals. This popularity is at least partly responsible for the loss of Neale's translated text, as we rarely sing two different texts to the same tune for the same occasion.

Seven Years Ago: Go, tell it on the mountain

One Year Ago: All praise to thee, O Jesus Christ

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