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Martin Luther’s Pentecost Hymn

Colin Fields

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  • Martin Johnson

    I was very happy to hear this hymn by Luther. I see where the words That we from our hearts love one another, Of one mind in peace remain together. come from. Very significant

  • Shane Dresen

    Spirit of the living GOD fall afresh on me...

Pentecost marks the day when the Holy Spirit came to the waiting disciples (Acts 2:1-13). This of all holy days is important for the church, the gathering of believers on earth who have been commissioned by Jesus to “be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). A hymn, a song intended to be sung by gathered believers, is fitting music for this day.

The first lines of this German hymn date to the thirteenth century, and the tune may be as much as two centuries older. Martin Luther added three stanzas in the early sixteenth century (it was first published in 1524 in the Geystliche gesangk Buchleyn or Little Spiritual Songbook); one of Luther’s stanzas brings together the prayer of God’s people to experience the “fire of love”, the Holy Spirit, and their longing for the love and unity between believers that was given to the first church in Jerusalem through Pentecost, as described in Acts 2:

Thou sweet love, give us thy favor.
Let us feel the fire of love:
That we from our hearts love one another,
Of one mind in peace remain together.

Nu bitten wyr den heyligen geyst
umb den rechten glauben aller meyst,
das er uns behüte an unserm ende,
wenn wyr heym farn aus diesm elende.
Kyrioleys.

Du werdes liecht, gib uns deynen scheyn,
lern uns Jhesum Christ kennen alleyn,
Das wyr an yhm bleyben, dem treuen Heyland
der uns bracht hat zum rechten vater land.
Kyrioleys.

Du süsse lieb, schenk uns deyne gunst;
las uns empfinden der liebe brunst,
Das wyr uns von hertzen eyn ander lieben
und ym fried auff eynem synn bleyben.
Kyrioleys.

Du höchster tröster ynn aller not,
hilff, das wyr nicht furchten schand noch tod,
Das ynn uns die synnen nicht verzagen,
wenn der feind wird das leben verklagen.
Kyrioleys.

Now we ask the Holy Spirit
Above all for the right faith,
That he protect us at our end,
When we go home from this desolate place.
Kyrioleis. Lord have mercy.

Thou precious light,
Give us your brightness.
Teach us to know Jesus Christ alone,
That we remain with him, the faithful redeemer,
Who brought us to our true homeland.
Kyrioleis.

Thou sweet love, give us thy favor.
Let us feel the fire of love:
That we from our hearts love one another,
Of one mind in peace remain together.
Kyrioleis.

Thou, greatest solace in all suffering,
Help us to fear neither shame nor death,
that we do not despair
before the enemy sues for our life.
Kyrioleis.

Title page of the Luther Hymnal Title Page of the Luther Hymnal
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