Saturday, April 07, 2012

a hymn for Holy Saturday

O Traurigkeit
Text by Johann Rist. melody dates from 1623

O darkest woe!
Ye tears forth flow!
Has earth so sad a wonder,
That the Father's only Son
Now lies buried yonder!
O son of man!
It was the ban
Of death on thee that brought Him
Down to suffer for thy sins,
And such woe hath wrought Him.
Behold thy Lord,
The Lamb of God,
Blood-sprinkled lies before thee,
Pouring out His life that He
May to life restore thee.
O Ground of faith
Laid low in death!
Sweet lips now silent sleeping!
Surely all that live must mourn
Here with bitter weeping.
Yea, blest is he
Whose heart shall be
Fix'd here, and apprehendeth
Why the Lord of glory thus
To the grave descendeth.
O Jesu blest!
My help and rest!
With tears I pray--Lord, hear me;
Make me love Thee to the last,
In the grave be near me!

I've grown particularly fond of this hymn over the last twelve years and can't remember exactly when I discovered it, though it was probably going through various hymnals and song guides looking up something for Holy Saturday.  Music for Good Friday and Easter is remarkably easy, dare I say too easy, in the average Protestant American setting and this hymn mentioned above can often be described as just an "Easter" hymn even though it isn't about the resurrection of Christ at all, nor is it about Christ on the cross.  It is about Christ entombed.

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