Friday, April 10, 2009


Just some random thoughts and observations:

O Sacred Head (stanza 4 of LSB 450)
Thy lips have often fed me
with words of truth and love.
Thy Spirit oft hath led me
to heavenly joys above.

Compare that to what Gerhardt wrote in another hymn three years earlier (TLH 228):
Thy gift is joy, O Spirit.
Thou wouldst not have us pine.
In darkest hours Thy comfort
doth ever brightly shine.
And, oh, how oft Thy voice
hath shed its sweetness o'er me
and opened heaven before me
and bid my heart rejoice!

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Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani.
My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?

The onlookers thought He was calling on Elijah for help. They didn't know their liturgy. They didn't know their psalter. They didn't recognize the words that they should've known. We see something similar today when we use a line from the liturgy or from the catechism, and it's got all that background & depth & meaning, and somebody else thinks we're just saying our own little made-up sentence.

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Tis the long-expected prophet,
David's Son, yet David's Lord.
Proofs I see sufficient of it --
tis the true and faithful Word.

The long-expected prophet. That'd be the prophet greater than Moses (Deut 18). I always thought "David's Son, yet David's Lord" was an appositive for the "prophet." I don't think so today. The gospel writers make a point of showing us how Jesus is like Moses, but greater. "David's Son" is the promised Messiah, and Jesus proved that He was the Messiah when He made the lame to walk, the deaf to hear, raised the dead, and preached the Gospel to poor, miserable sinners. But He's also the one greater than Moses, the One who shepherded His people, out of bondage, into the promised land. (This is the night when You brought our fathers, the children of Israel, out of bondage in Egypt and led them through the Red Sea on dry ground...)

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The soldiers put a robe of purple on Him. Purple. That was valuable. They put it on a beaten and bloody body. It had to have been ruined. I mean, would you want to put a very valuable piece of clothing on a person who was going to get it all bloody? (Maybe if you had to do it to make bandages or a tourniquet save somebody's life, but not just to mock somebody.) They had to be really really full of hate to waste a purple robe on making fun of this Jewish criminal.

Contrast that with Mary. There were complaints that she wasted the spikenard.

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