Blessed Jesus, at thy word

# 440 Blessed Jesus, at thy word

Words:  Tobias Clausnitzer

Music:  Johann Rudolph Ahle

Tobias Clausnitzer was the author of the original German text. It was first published anonymously in 1663 in the Altdorffisches Gesang-Büchlein, but was credited to Clausnitzer in the 1671 edition. The most common English translation is by Catherine Winkworth, which appeared in the second series of her Lyra Germanica in 1858 as “Blessed Jesus, at Thy Word.”

 Clausnitzer graduated from the University of Leipzig and became a chaplain in the Swedish army. He preached two sermons at memorable occasions: when Queen Christina ascended the Swedish throne in 1645 and when the Peace of Westphalia, which ended the Thirty Years War, was celebrated in 1648. Clausnitzer became a pastor in Weiden in 1648, where he remained until his death. In addition to "Blessed Jesus, at Your Word," his creedal hymn, “We Believe in One True God,” is found in many modern hymnals

This hymn originally had three stanzas. The first stanza is a petition for a heart that is receptive to hearing the Word of God proclaimed. The second is a declaration of the need for such a work of God in human hearts, and the third is a statement of praise to Christ and a repetition of the plea of the first stanza. In some hymnals, an anonymous doxological stanza is added as the fourth.

The German chorale tune LIEBSTER JESU (also called DESSAU) was composed by Johann R. Ahle for an Advent hymn and first published by him in 1664. In its original form, the tune was florid and soloistic in nature, but it was revised for congregational singing and paired with Clausnitzer’s text in the late seventeenth century. The tune was named after this text. (The opening line of the German is “Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier.”)

Enjoy this video from Martin Luther College in New Ulm, Minnesota:  YOUTUBE