Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Luther: Flung to the Heedless Winds




From Martin Luther: Hymns, Ballads, Chants, Truth page 8-13:

“On July 1, 1523, the infant Reformation saw executed in the Brussels market place Heinrich Voes and Johann Esch, two Belgian Augustinian monks and followers of Luther. Since wandering minstrels and their ballads served as the mass media of the day, Luther wrote this first hymn of the Reformation as a ballad recounting the martyrdom of these witnesses. First appearing in 1523 in broadsheet for, it, along with Luther’s tune, was published in Johann Walter’s 1524 Wittenberg hymnal.



Tr. F. Samuel Janzow, 1913 – 2001

Setting by Carl Schalk

Publisher – Concordia Publishing House (1982)



1. A new song now shall be begun,

Lord, help us raise the banner

Of praise for all that God has done,

For which we give Him honor.

At Brussels in the Netherlands

God proved Himself most truthful

And poured His gifts from open hands

On two lads, martyrs youthful

Through who He showed His power



2. One was named John, a name to show

He stood in God’s high favor.

His brother Henry, well we know,

Was salt of truest savor.

This world they now have left behind

And wear bright crowns of glory.

These sons of God had fixed the mind

Upon the Gospel story,

For which they died as martyrs.



3. From where the Foe in ambush lay,

He sent to have them taken

To force them God’s Word to betray

And make their faith be shaken.

Louvain sent clever men, who came

In twisting nets to break them.

Hard played they at their crooked game,

But from faith could not shake them.

God make their tricks look foolish.



4. Oh, they sang sweet, and they sang sour,

They tried all their devices.

The youths stood firmly like a tow’r

And overcame each crisis.

In filled the Foe with raging hate

To know himself defeated

By these two lads, and he so great.

His rage flared high, and heated

His plan to see them burning.



5. Their cloister-garments off they tore,

Took off their consecrations;

All this the youths were ready for,

They said Amen with patience.

They gave to God the Father thanks

That He would them deliver

From Satan’s scoffing and the pranks

That make men quake and shiver

When he comes masked and raging.



6. The God they worshipped granted them

A priesthood in Christ’s order.

They offered up themselves to Him

And crossed His kingdom’s border

By dying to the world outright,

With ev’ry falsehood breaking.

They came to heaven pure and white;

All monkery forsaking,

They turned away from evil.



7. A paper given them to sign –

And carefully they read it –

Spelled out their faith in ev’ry line

As they confessed and said it.

Their greatest fault was to be wise

And say, “We trust God solely,

For human wisdom is all lies,

We should distrust it wholly.”

This brought them to the burning.



8. Then two great fires were set alight,

While men amazed did ponder

The sight of youths who showed no fright;

Their calm filled men with wonder.

They stepped into the flames with song,

God’s grace and glory praising.

The logic choppers puzzled long

But found these new thing dazing

Which God was here displaying.



9. They now regret their deed of shame,

Would like to slough it over;

They dare not glory in their blame,

But put it under cover.

They feel their gnawing infamy,

Their friends hear them deplore it.

God’s spirit cannot silent be,

But on Cain’s guilty forehead

He marks the blood of Abel.



10. The ashes of the lads remain

And scatter to all places.

They rise from roadway, street, and lane

To mark the guilty faces.

The Foe had used a bloody had

To keep these voices quiet,

But they resist in ev’ry land

The Foe’s rage and defy it.

The ashes go on singing.



11. And yet men still keep up their lies

To justify the killing;

The Foe with falsehood ever tries

To give to guilt clean billing.

Since these young martyrs’ holy death

Men still continue trying

To say, the youths with their last breath

Renounced their faith when dying

And finally recanted.



12. Let men heap falsehoods all around,

Their sure defeat is spawning.

We thank our God the Word is found,

We stand it its bright dawning.

Our summer now is at the door,

The winter’s frost has ended,

Soft bud the flowers more and more,

By our dear Gard’ner tended

Until He reaps His harvest.”

---

"Flung to the Heedless Winds"

by Martin Luther, 1483-1546

1. Flung to the heedless winds
Or on the waters cast,
The martyrs' ashes, watched,
Shall gathered be at last.
And from that scattered dust,
Around us and abroad,
Shall spring a plenteous seed
Of witnesses for God.

2. The Father hath received
Their latest living breath,
And vain is Satan's boast
Of victory in their death.
Still, still, though dead, they speak,
And, trumpet-tongued, proclaim
To many a wakening land
The one availing Name.

Hymn 259
The Lutheran Hymnal
Text: Acts 7: 59
Author: Martin Luther, 1523 st. 9
Translated by: John A. Messenger, 1843
Titled: "Ein neues Lied wir heben an"
Tune: "Denby"
Composer: Charles J. Dale, 1904

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