November 27, 2007

Wachet Auf

Perhaps the best part about having a parochial school is that we get to sing good hymns repeatedly. I think the text for "Wake, Awake, for Night Is Flying" (this week's hymn) in Lutheran Service Book (#516) is much improved from Lutheran Worship. But it still seems a bit like drinking decaf coffee to me, once you've read the original:

"Wachet auf," ruft uns die Stimme
Der Wächter sehr hoch auf der Zinne,
"Wach auf du Stadt Jerusalem!
Mitternacht heißt diese Stunde!"
Sie rufen uns mit hellem Munde:
"Wo seid ihr klugen Jungfrauen?
Wohlauf, der Bräutigam kommt,
Steht auf, die Lampen nehmt!
Macht euch bereit zur Hochzeitsfreud;
Ihr müsset ihm entgegengehen!"
Zion hört die Wächter singen,
Das Herz tut ihr vor Freuden springen,
Sie wachet und steht eilend auf.
Ihr Freund kommt vom Himmel prächtig,
Von Gnaden stark, von Wahrheit mächtig;
Ihr Licht wird hell, ihr Stern geht auf.
Nun komm, du werte Kron,
Herr Jesu, Gottes Sohn!
Wir folgen all zum Freudensaal
Und halten mit das Abendmahl.
Gloria sei dir gesungen
Mit Menschen- und mit Engelzungen,
Mit Harfen und mit Zimbeln schön.
Von zwölf Perlen sind die Tore
An deiner Stadt, wir stehn im Chore
Der Engel hoch um deinen Thron.
Kein Aug hat je gespürt,
Kein Ohr hat mehr gehört
Solche Freude.
Des jauchzen wir und singen dir
Das Halleluja für und für.

I'm starting to think we might be teaching the wrong language at our school - perhaps the GT program at Immanuel should be that you get to learn German in addition to Latin!


Past Elder said...

A question. When I was in WELS, in terms of seminary or theological training Greek and Hebrew were often called the Biblical languages, and Latin and German the confessional languages. Does this usage exist in LCMS?

Christopher Esget said...

I've heard the terms before, but I don't think it's common parlance.

In seminary (Fort Wayne '97), some of my professors lamented the fact that most seminarians had no knowledge of German and Latin. I've always considered my rudimentary German and - until recently - complete lack of Latin to be a real liability in serious theological work. It will be the work of a lifetime to "catch up." I'm grateful to my parishioner, Dr. Eric Phillips, for patiently and freely teaching me (and one other fellow at our church) Latin. It's opened my eyes to so many things!

Past Elder said...

You might be ahead of me. As to Latin, I had altar boy training and serving at hundreds if not thousands of pre-Vatican II Masses, then Sister Collen for high school Latin. As to German, I had my Dad rambling (he himself was not German, learned it in grad school, and preferred its precision to English) then all the older people in Stearns County -- and if I read your bio right, I think you know what THAT means. The only formal training I had in German was a one year class for grad students needing to meet the language requirement, and I took graduate review Latin -- are those guys going to stick out like sore thumbs in heaven with their "Ciceronian" accents. Worked out though. My dissertation was sort of like throwing Boethius and Schenker in a bag and shaking them up until mixed -- and if I read your bio right, I think you know what THAT means.

I think it's too bad that so few Americans can speak anything other than English. Whether it's theology, music (or in my case, music theory) or whatever, learing another language is learning another world, or at least mind set.

If I weren't so bloody old (57) I'd try to learn Hebrew. As it is I'll be lucky to keep my German and Latin reasonably fit -- along with Spanish, which is a whole 'nother story -- until I am translated, as it were.