“And the Son now is one with our blood forever”

“And the Son now is one with our blood forever” January 4, 2019

The song we’ve been learning over the Christmas season by singing it every service is “All My Heart Again Rejoices,” another stunning hymn by the great Paul Gerhardt (1607-1676).  We blogged about his advent hymn for Christmas (see “Love Caused Your Incarnation”).  So now let’s contemplate his Christmas hymn for Epiphany.

Here are the lines of the second stanza that jumped out at me:

Hear! The Conqueror has spoken:
“Now the foe,
Sin and woe,
Death and hell are broken!”
God is man, man to deliver,
And the Son
Now is one
With our blood forever.

The poetry here is brilliant, including the odd combination of short and long lines, and packed with imagery, allusions, and theological meaning.

The little baby Jesus of the first stanza here is the “Conquerer.”  Death and hell, in an interestingly fresh image, are “broken.”  Notice the Nicaean Christology that we had been blogging about, connecting the Incarnation, the Atonement, the Ascension, and the Two Natures of Christ.  Note the communication of the attributes that allow us to say that “God is man,” and that their union exists in the Godhead even now, “not by the conversion of the divinity into flesh but by the assumption of the humanity into God.”

And Gerhardt is characteristically fresh and vivid, saying that the Son is one “with our blood.”  Not just our flesh, but our blood, where the life is.  And this recalls His blood, which was shed for our deliverance and which we receive in Holy Communion.  His blood is our blood, and, as it says here, our blood is His blood.

Here are the complete lyrics (my bolds), from the Lutheran Service Book, as found, along with many other versions (often called “All My Heart This Night Rejoices” and sometimes with the Christology toned down), at Hymnary.org:

1 All my heart again rejoices
As I hear
Far and near
Sweetest angel voices.
“Christ is born!” their choirs are singing
Till the air
Ev’rywhere
Now with joy is ringing.

2 Hear! The Conqueror has spoken:
“Now the foe,
Sin and woe,
Death and hell are broken!”
God is man, man to deliver,
And the Son
Now is one
With our blood forever.

3 Should we fear our God’s displeasure,
Who, to save,
Freely gave
His most precious treasure?
To redeem us He has given
His own Son
From the throne
Of His might in heaven.

4 See the lamb, our sin once taking
To the cross,
Suff’ring loss,
Full atonement making.
For our life His own He tenders,
And His grace
All our race
Fit for glory renders.

5 Softly from His lowly manger
Jesus calls
One and all,
“You are safe from danger.
Children, from the sins that grieve you
You are freed;
All you need
I will surely give you.”

6 Come, then, banish all your sadness!
One and all,
Great and small,
Come with songs of gladness.
We shall live with Him forever
There on high
In that joy
Which will vanish never.

And here you can hear it with the rapturous music of Johann Crüger:

 

 

Illustration:  Lucas Cranach, “Adoration of the Magi,” [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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