Tuesday, December 9, 2008

more on music

Michael Spencer has a "beautiful" post about his childhood experience singing "Lo, how a rose is blooming" in school. Read it here.

I've known this song all my life, and Michael's telling of it, touches me. I'm not sure I've ever thought it about it much. I will try and re-appreciate it here.

First in German:

Es ist ein Ros entsprungen aus einer Wurzel zart,
wie uns die Alten sungen, von Jesse kam die Art
und hat ein Bluemlein bracht mitten im kalten Winter
wohl zu der halben Nacht.

Das Roeslein, das ich meine, davon Jesaja sagt,
hat uns gebracht alleine, Marie, die reine Magd;
aus Gottes ewgen Rat, hat sie ein Kind geboren,
wohl zu der halben Nacht.

Das Bluemelein so kleine, das duftet uns so suess;
mit seinem hellen Scheine, vertreibts die Finsternis.
Wahr Mensch und wahrer Gott,
hilft uns aus allem Leide, rettet von Suend und Tod.

O Jesu, bis zum Scheiden, aus diesem Jammertal,
lass dein Hilf uns geleiten hin in den Freudensaal,
in deines Vaters Reich, da wir dich ewig loben;
o Gott, uns das verleih!

In English:
From LSB #359

Lo, how a rose e're blooming from tender stem hath sprung.
Of Jesse's lineage coming as prophets long have sung,
it came a flow'ret bright, amid the cold of winter,
when half-spent was the night.

Isaiah 'twas foretold it, the rose I have in mind;
with Mary we behold it, the virgin mother kind.
to show God's love aright, she bore to us a Savior,
when half-spent was the night.

This flow'r, whose fragrance tender with sweetness fills the air,
dispels with glorious splendor the darkness everywhere.
True man, yet very god, from sin and death he saves us
and lightens every load.

O Savior, child of Mary, who felt our human woe;
O Savior, Kind of glory, who doest our weakness know:
bring us at length we pray to the bright courts of heaven,
and to the endless day.

What strikes me today is the repetition of the phrase: "Wohl zu der halben Nacht", or "when half-spent was the night". There is this darkness, this mid-night, this winter, this blindness--in the very depth of which, this root of salvation began to bloom.

And still we pray, in the last verse, to be brought into the brightness of the courts of heaven. There will be endless day. Then the night will be completely spent. Indeed, Lord, bring us.

You can listen to it here.

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