Tuesday, November 22, 2011

"While Slumber Binds Our Breasts"

Our hymn this week is "The Bridegroom Soon Will Call Us." I am, naturally, stumbling over the LSB translation. Normally, I sing the words I can, and hush up in chapel for the lines that have changed, hoping that listening to the kids sing all week will somehow get into my head so that my mouth becomes capable (in time) of shaping the words that live in the new hymnal.

This hymn has an interesting adjustment.

TLH: The Bridegroom soon will call us,
"Come all ye wedding guests!"
May not His voice appall us
while slumber binds our breasts!

LSB: The Bridegroom soon will call us,
"Come to the wedding feast."
May slumber not befall us
nor watchfulness decrease.

Now, I'm not saying there's anything wrong with the LSB words: there are many places in the Scriptures where we are called to "watch and pray" and not to sleep.

But in the story of the five wise and five foolish virgins (Matthew 25) upon which this hymn is based, all ten virgins fell asleep waiting for the bridegroom. It seems like the TLH version is a more accurate picture of the parable. And I like that, because it's a good reminder that it is the Lord --not my watchfulness-- that preserves me in the faith. But I will get used to the new words eventually.

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