God's Own Child, I Gladly Say It
by Barb Below
Today in chapel we sang a great hymn, God’s Own Child, I Gladly Say It. This is a “new” hymn to our church in that it is included for the first time in the recently published Lutheran Service Book (p. 594). It is a great baptismal hymn that poetically describes the power of baptism over sin, death and the devil. Even though the words tell a powerful story, the tune is light and seems to float through the air as it is sung. Click here to listen to the tune. I was so uplifted and enchanted by this hymn I had to learn a bit more about this hymn and who wrote it. I found some interesting history and information about this hymn and the three men who played a role in bringing this hymn to us today[i].
The tune was written by Johann Caspar Bachofen and first published in 1727. He studied theology but served the church and community as a musician, teacher, music director and composer his whole life. Johann, who grew up in Zurich, Switzerland, served in the Reformed Church and he published several collections of hymns that were very popular in his day.
The lyrics were written by Edmann Neumeister and published in 1718. Neumeister was a German Lutheran theologian, poet, hymn writer, and strong opponent of Pietism and is best known for writing the texts for five of Bach’s cantatas.
“The main ideas of the hymn are taken directly from the section on Holy Baptism in Luther’s Small Catechism, which, in answer to the question “What benefits does Baptism give? says: “It works forgiveness of sins, rescues from death and the devil and gives eternal salvation to all who believe this, as the words and promises of God declare”[ii].
The hymn was translated (below) in 1991 by an LCMS pastor, Rev. Robert E. Voelker who was a graduate of Concordia Theological Seminary Fort Wayne (1984) and, according to the LCMS church worker directory, currently is a pastor at Gethsemane Lutheran Church in Windsor, Ontario.
The Hymnal Supplement Handbook paints a perfect picture of the hymn stating that “one cannot escape the impression of a child standing by an adult protector and ridiculing the neighborhood bully.”[iii] Looking forward to celebrating my baptismal birthday in a few weeks, I sang this song today with confidence that in baptism, through the Holy Spirit and with God’s Word, I am united with Christ in His death, resurrection and eternal life and can boldly turn and tell Satan to “drop your ugly accusations”. Thank you Bachofen, Neumeister and Voelker for your gift to the church, and to me, as I look forward to my baptismal birthday.
God’s Own Child, I Gladly Say It
God’s own child, I gladly say it: I am baptized into Christ!
He, because I could not pay it, gave my full redemption price.
Do I need earth’s treasures many? I have one worth more than any
That brought me salvation free, Lasting to eternity!
Sin, disturb my soul no longer: I am baptized into Christ!
I have comfort even stronger: Jesus’ cleansing sacrifice.
Should a guilty conscience seize me, since my baptism did release me
In a dear forgiving flood, sprinkling me with Jesus’ blood?
Satan, hear this proclamation: I am baptized into Christ!
Drop your ugly accusation; I am not so soon enticed.
Now that to the font I’ve traveled, all your might has come unraveled,
And, against your tyranny, God, my Lord, unites with me!
Death, you cannot end my gladness: I am baptized into Christ!
When I die, I leave all sadness to inherit paradise!
Though I lie in dust and ashes faith’s assurance brightly flashes:
Baptism has the strength divine to make life immortal mine.
There is nothing worth comparing to this lifelong comfort sure!
Open-eyed my grave is staring: Even there I’ll sleep secure.
Though my flesh awaits its raising, still my soul continues praising:
I am baptized into Christ; I’m a child of paradise!
[i] Grime, P. & Herl J. (Eds.). (1998). Hymnal Supplement 98. St. Louis: LCMS Commission on Worship, pp. 107-108.
[ii] Grime, P, & Herl J., p. 107.
|Print article||This entry was posted by Barb Below on May 11, 2011 at 10:42 pm, and is filed under Barb's Posts. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.|
about 10 months ago - Comments Off
A friend of mine, and long time brother in the ministry, Pastor Mark Willig, recently sent me a hymn he had written, asking my thoughts. I thought it quite good and a great confession of why Christ has come. With brother Mark’s permission, we bring this new hymn to you here. Pastor Willig says you…
about 1 year ago - Comments Off
The best way to express it is, “I am baptized!” It’s a present reality. Speaking historically, of course, one can say, as I do, personally, “I was baptized,” in that it actually happened on Holy Trinity Sunday, May 31, 1953, at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church on the North Dakota prairie some four miles north of…
about 1 year ago - Comments Off
That’s our theme for the convention of the Synod set to take place here in St. Louis, July 20-25, 2013. The Southern Illinois District of our Synod will be our host district as we come together to worship, to study God’s Word and to discuss various aspects of our life together as the Synod. Whatever…
about 2 years ago - 1 comment
In the issue of Newsweek commemorating the September 11 attacks on America, in an article entitled, “How Should We Think About Islam?” (Newsweek, Dec. 31, 2001/Jan. 7, 2002, pp. 102-103), Kenneth L. Woodward wrote the following: … even the acceptance of other religions as valid paths to God is insufficient. What theologians from various traditions…
about 2 years ago - Comments Off
[Sermon preached in the International Center Chapel, December 9, 2011, on the Gospel for the Second Sunday of Advent, Mark 1:1-8.] Mark 1:4 simply states: John appeared. That’s it. John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness, and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. Suddenly, it seems, there he is. Sent by God…
about 3 years ago - Comments Off
The sign hanging over the door of a medieval cobbler read: “We Dye to Live.” The message wasn’t complicated: “We dye leather to make a living.” Change a vowel, add a consonant, and you have a sign that could hang over the door of any Christian church, medieval or otherwise: “We Died to Live.” And…
about 3 years ago - Comments Off
“What do you expect?” The question can mean many things. When people complain how another person has treated them, we might mumble, “What do you expect? He’s always been that way!” When we already have a poor opinion of someone and that person fails us once again, “What do you expect!” is our cry of…
Comments are closed.