Author Topic: A now lost Easter hymn  (Read 1178 times)

Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

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A now lost Easter hymn
« on: March 15, 2021, 09:51:28 AM »
I remember singing this as a child from the 1941 Lutheran Hymnal, mostly because of the stark imagery. According to hymnary.org it has disappeared from recent hymnals though I find it always comes to mind for me in the Easter season. Apparently when it was published in 1809, it's violent imagery did not offend. We sang it to Unser Herrscher, a tune I love. The text is based on the conquering Messiah imagery in Isaiah 63.

1 Who is this that comes from Edom,
All His raiment stained with blood,
To the slave proclaiming freedom,
Bringing and bestowing good;
Glorious in the garb He wears,
Glorious in the spoils He bears?
2 'Tis the Saviour, now victorious,
Travelling onward in His might;
'Tis the Saviour, O how glorious,
To His people, is the sight!
Satan conquered, and the grave,
Jesus now is strong to save,
3 Why that blood His raiment staining?
'Tis the blood of many slain;
Of His foes there's none remaining,
None, the contest to maintain:
Fallen they are, no more to rise;
All their glory prostrate lies.
4 Mighty Victor, reign for ever;
Wear the crown so dearly won;
Never shall Thy people, never,
Cease to sing what Thou hast done;
Thou hast fought Thy people's foes;
Thou wilt heal Thy people's woes.
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peter_speckhard

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Re: A now lost Easter hymn
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2021, 09:56:28 AM »
I remember singing this as a child from the 1941 Lutheran Hymnal, mostly because of the stark imagery. According to hymnary.org it has disappeared from recent hymnals though I find it always comes to mind for me in the Easter season. Apparently when it was published in 1809, it's violent imagery did not offend. We sang it to Unser Herrscher, a tune I love. The text is based on the conquering Messiah imagery in Isaiah 63.

1 Who is this that comes from Edom,
All His raiment stained with blood,
To the slave proclaiming freedom,
Bringing and bestowing good;
Glorious in the garb He wears,
Glorious in the spoils He bears?
2 'Tis the Saviour, now victorious,
Travelling onward in His might;
'Tis the Saviour, O how glorious,
To His people, is the sight!
Satan conquered, and the grave,
Jesus now is strong to save,
3 Why that blood His raiment staining?
'Tis the blood of many slain;
Of His foes there's none remaining,
None, the contest to maintain:
Fallen they are, no more to rise;
All their glory prostrate lies.
4 Mighty Victor, reign for ever;
Wear the crown so dearly won;
Never shall Thy people, never,
Cease to sing what Thou hast done;
Thou hast fought Thy people's foes;
Thou wilt heal Thy people's woes.
I'm not sure I get it. Jesus slaughtered the Edomites? Why are they never more to rise even to face judgment? If nothing else, the bloodstains on Jesus being the blood of his slaughtered enemies seems confusing, since Satan has no blood.

Weedon

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Re: A now lost Easter hymn
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2021, 10:00:03 AM »
I remember it too, Edward. But I think we always sang it to Neander (“Open Now Thy Gates of Beauty”). Great text! Thanks for reminding us.

Peter, metaphor, of course. But I think of it not as demonic blood so much as DEATH’S blood. Slain in all its assaulting forms. He destroys them all and walks away victor. And not to be missed: Edomite - red...

peter_speckhard

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Re: A now lost Easter hymn
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2021, 10:26:04 AM »
I remember it too, Edward. But I think we always sang it to Neander (“Open Now Thy Gates of Beauty”). Great text! Thanks for reminding us.

Peter, metaphor, of course. But I think of it not as demonic blood so much as DEATH’S blood. Slain in all its assaulting forms. He destroys them all and walks away victor. And not to be missed: Edomite - red...
Hmmm. I can see that. But I still think it needlessly confusing to have metaphorical bloodstains on Jesus' garments when we make so much of the concrete reality of Jesus' blood on the cross and in the Sacrament.  "Tis the blood of many slain" doesn't take me mentally to death in all its assaulting forms, it takes me to the human enemies of Christ, which then ends up being a totally different idea than the hymn's intent, sort of like a Jihad. I can see why I would not have selected that one for inclusion in LSB. Not that I'm averse to martial imagery or poetic license, I just think the words lead to more confusion than clarity.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2021, 11:30:49 AM by peter_speckhard »

Weedon

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Re: A now lost Easter hymn
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2021, 10:29:19 AM »
But surely you grant that Isaiah 63 refers to Jesus, right? And that’s all the hymn is joying in: the image painted there.

Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

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Re: A now lost Easter hymn
« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2021, 10:29:33 AM »
I believe this is one of the texts behind the later "Battle Hymn of the Republic," which some congregations still sing.

Will, Neander and Unser Herrscher are one and the same tune.

Peter, I think Will is right about interpreting the text. Edom stands for God's enemies. The Messiah goes down to them alone (63:5) and vanquishes them. Church Father's would see this as the harrowing of hell.

It's ironic, I think, that we do not sing this hymn when our culture is filled with slasher films. The horrors of modern warfare have made war imagery both offensive and popular. In any case, the imagery would need explaining.
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J. Thomas Shelley

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Re: A now lost Easter hymn
« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2021, 11:11:15 AM »
The text is a marvelous conflation of the Orthodox Troparion of Pascha

"Christ is Risen from the dead,
trampling down Death by death..."

with the Christus Victor theology articulated by Gustav Aulen.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2021, 11:13:18 AM by J. Thomas Shelley »
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Weedon

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Re: A now lost Easter hymn
« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2021, 11:12:30 AM »
Thanks, Edward, for the tune info. I didn’t realize that.

peter_speckhard

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Re: A now lost Easter hymn
« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2021, 12:01:17 PM »
But surely you grant that Isaiah 63 refers to Jesus, right? And that’s all the hymn is joying in: the image painted there.
Is. 63:6 says "I trampled down the peoples in my anger," and "I poured out their lifeblood on the earth," but seems to be referring to the grapes in the winepress as the main metaphor, that the stains on the garments are the lifeblood of the grapes/peoples He trampled alone. I get that this refers to any and all enemies of God, including Satan and death itself in all its forms. But I don't get that without a lot of context. The imagery seems appropriate for a Bible study on Isaiah or perhaps as explained in a sermon. But I guess it isn't the sort of chapter I'd make a hymn out of without the winepress imagery because it suggests slaughtered human enemies of Jesus more along the lines of Peter and Malchus in Gethsemane.

I guess as Christus Victor goes it is a good image, sort of like Aragorn surrounded by heaps of dead orcs, but I don't know. It certainly isn't the kind of hymn I would assign as memory work in the school.   

aletheist

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Re: A now lost Easter hymn
« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2021, 12:04:37 PM »
Edom stands for God's enemies.
Just a guess, but might this also be an allusion to the Herods, who were Edomites? Also, the redness of Christ's blood-stained raiment, specifically mentioned in Isaiah 63:2, recalls the Hebrew meaning of Edom, its patriarch Esau being described as "red" at birth (Genesis 25:25), and his sale of his birthright to Jacob for some "red stew" (Genesis 25:30).
Jon Alan Schmidt, LCMS Layman

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with great diligence in the Church, the Word of God is rightly divided according to the admonition of St. Paul." (FC Ep V.2)

Richard Johnson

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Re: A now lost Easter hymn
« Reply #10 on: March 15, 2021, 12:38:04 PM »
I've done several variations of classes on Advent/Christmas hymns. One session I did once was called "Hymns we've lost." I went through multiple old hymnals of various synods and pulled out things that are no longer included in present books. Generally (and this doesn't apply so much to LCMS, I know), the very best three or four of the "ethnic" hymns survived, but anything further down the list was lost.
Some real gems there, along with some chaff.
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

James_Gale

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Re: A now lost Easter hymn
« Reply #11 on: March 15, 2021, 01:23:29 PM »
I've done several variations of classes on Advent/Christmas hymns. One session I did once was called "Hymns we've lost." I went through multiple old hymnals of various synods and pulled out things that are no longer included in present books. Generally (and this doesn't apply so much to LCMS, I know), the very best three or four of the "ethnic" hymns survived, but anything further down the list was lost.
Some real gems there, along with some chaff.


A couple decades back, for whatever reason, I decided to collect Lutheran hymnals and worship books.  I was struck by how few hymns I knew from hymnals published before about 1950.


Some hymns, I suspect, would not have survived without textual revisions.  A favorite example is the Christmas hymn "Come Hither, Ye Faithful."  Hymn 129 from the Lutheran Council's 1868 Church Book started as follows:


Come Hither, ye faithful, triumphantly sing:
Come see in the manger the angels' dread King!
To Bethlehem hasten, with joyful accord;
O come ye, come hither, to worship the Lord!


The Common Service Book and Hymnal (the emerging ULCA's book) retained this language in both the 1917 and 1918 versions.    (Hymn 21)


The Augustana Synod, which couldn't quite bring itself to join its General Council friends in forming the ULCA, published its worship book in 1925.  Hymn 33 retains the 1868 language with one big change; the "the angel's dread king" was out, replaced with "your Savior and King."


The 1931 edition of Concordia's Evangelical Lutheran Hymnbook followed the Swede's lead in Hymn 159.  In 1941, the LCMS got close to the current versions, beginning Hymn 102 with "Oh, come, all ye faithful."


I can't be certain.  But there almost certainly were some dear old souls who resisted mightily the imminent loss of their cherished "dread king" as the ULCA joined with other bodies in the 1950s to compose the Service Book and Hymnal.


(As an aside, many of my old hymnals seem to have come from estate sales.  They would arrive from an eBay seller marked with names, notes, and sundry inserted items.  When I see these names, I try to stop for just a moment and offer a silent prayer for those long-dead strangerswho once cherished these books. 


So, I pray for Miss Frieda Luebke of Redeember Lutheran Church in St. Paul, Minnesota, who left a now-fragile maple leaf marking the hymn "Through the day Thy love hath spared us, Now we lay us down to rest."  And I pray for Mrs. K.M. Janin and for Helen Foster Harper.)




 

Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

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Re: A now lost Easter hymn
« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2021, 09:08:33 AM »
Edom stands for God's enemies.
Just a guess, but might this also be an allusion to the Herods, who were Edomites? Also, the redness of Christ's blood-stained raiment, specifically mentioned in Isaiah 63:2, recalls the Hebrew meaning of Edom, its patriarch Esau being described as "red" at birth (Genesis 25:25), and his sale of his birthright to Jacob for some "red stew" (Genesis 25:30).

I would say that we don't see a literal fulfillment in history: Jesus doesn't travel to Edom and slay the Edomites, Household of Herod, or the Herodians as a political party. They do disappear from history.
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aletheist

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Re: A now lost Easter hymn
« Reply #13 on: March 16, 2021, 11:01:39 AM »
Edom stands for God's enemies.
Just a guess, but might this also be an allusion to the Herods, who were Edomites? Also, the redness of Christ's blood-stained raiment, specifically mentioned in Isaiah 63:2, recalls the Hebrew meaning of Edom, its patriarch Esau being described as "red" at birth (Genesis 25:25), and his sale of his birthright to Jacob for some "red stew" (Genesis 25:30).
I would say that we don't see a literal fulfillment in history: Jesus doesn't travel to Edom and slay the Edomites, Household of Herod, or the Herodians as a political party. They do disappear from history.
Indeed, on the contrary, Pilate sends him to Herod the Edomite, who sends him right back to be crucified. The blood that stained His raiment was His own, shed for the sake of "many slain" on account of their (our) sin, which is how he achieved the victory and set those slaves (us) free. I admit that it is a stretch, but that is what came to my mind.
Jon Alan Schmidt, LCMS Layman

"We believe, teach and confess that by conserving the distinction between Law and Gospel as an especially glorious light
with great diligence in the Church, the Word of God is rightly divided according to the admonition of St. Paul." (FC Ep V.2)