March 24, 2008

Ye Sons and Daughters of the King

Looking ahead to Quasimodo (for you Vatican II folks, that's the first Sunday after Easter), let's take a look at the differences in the Hymn of the Day, O Sons and Daughters of the King, in LSB (471) and TLH (208). The first thing that grabs you is the missing stanza 10:
And we with holy Church unite,
As evermore is just and right,
In glory to the King of light: Alleluia!

Nothing suspicious about the omission; it seems to have been left out for space reasons. (Although, since 470/471 share a text, it seems they could have solved the "Alleluia" problem through creative layout and found a way to include stanza ten, since LSB took two pages for this one hymn text.)

The real mistake, I think, is in stanza 3. Here's TLH:
An angel bade their sorrow flee,
For thus he spake unto the three:
"Your Lord is gone to Galilee:" Alleluia!

An angel clad in white they see,
Who sits and speaks unto the three,
"Your Lord will go to Galilee." Alleluia!

It seems the desire to avoid "bade" meant making this stanza say a lot less. There's nothing objectionable about the LSB stanza; but part of the content of the angelic proclamation is gone. An important part, I think, since the Easter message is one of joy, causing sorrow to flee.

Stanza 5, TLH:
When Thomas afterwards had heard
That Jesus had fulfilled His word,
He doubted if it were the Lord: Alleluia!

When Thomas first the tidings heard
That they had seen the risen Lord,
He doubted the disciples' word. Alleluia!

No archaic language issues here. Why the need to eliminate Jesus' fulfillment of His word?

Stanza 8, TLH:
Blessed are they that have not seen
And yet whose faith hath constant been,
In life eternal they shall reign: Alleluia!

How blest are they who have not seen
And yet whose faith has constant been
For they eternal life shall win. Alleluia!

Stanza 8 has the believers reigning in life eternal (TLH), changed to winning it (LSB). I don't like it, because it places the obtaining of eternal life on the believer instead of in Christ.

I am generally in favor of updating archaic language - but not if it comes at the expense of good theology. I like LSB, and am glad my congregation has it. But this hymn they should have left alone. It's still usable, but there is no improvement I can see in LSB, and several places where the text has been weakened.

1 comment:

Lutheran Lucciola said...

I didn't even notice what version I put up.

Heck, I think the choir I showed was maybe Mormon!

(Don't tell anyone.....I just love the hymn....)