Skip to content

Awake, My Heart, with Gladness

May 15, 2009

This is a hymn we sang on Easter, but I really want to talk about it, so here goes:

“Awake, My Heart, with Gladness” (Lutheran Service Books 467) is a fantastic Easter hymn!  The text is by the great Lutheran hymn-writer Paul Gerhardt.  The tune (AUF, AUF, MEIN HERZ) is by Johan Crüger, who I do not know anything about, but probably should.

This hymn tells of Christ’s mighty deeds in dying for our sins and rising to life, destroying sin, death, and the devil.  Stanza two show this well: The foe in triumph shouted When Christ lay in the tomb; But lo, he now is routed, His boast is turned to gloom.  For Christ again is free; In glorious victory He who is strong to save Has triumphed o’er the grave. This stanza makes me think of C.S. Lewis’s “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe,” where Aslan sacrifices himself for Edmond and the White Witch has a huge celebration, thinking she has won.  But Aslan knows something she does not and returns to life, defeating her.  It also makes me think of the Magnificat, where it says, “You have cast down the mighty from their thrones, You have scattered the proud in their conceit.”  Christ has won total victory, nothing is left to be done.

This theme carries on in stanza four: Now hell, its prince, the devil, Of all their pow’r are shorn; Now I am safe from evil, And sin I laugh to scorn.  Grim death with all its might Cannot my soul affright; It is a pow’rless form, Howe’er it rave and storm. I love the image that because Christ has conquered sin, death, and the devil, we can now look at sin and laugh.  We are freed from the evil master that held us in dominion from our birth.  That is amazing!  And all of this happens at the font in Holy Baptism, for when someone is baptized we are telling the devil, “You have lost another and you cannot have him back, for he is now a child of God, the God who crushed your head.”

The last three stanzas give such trememdous comfort in this present, sinful world.  Throughout those stanzas, we see Christ guiding us all the way, blazing a path before us.  I especially like stanza six: Now I will cling forever To Christ, my Savior true; My Lord will leave me never, Whate’er He passes through.  He rends death’s iron chain; He breaks through sin and pain; He shatters hell’s grim thrall; I follow Him through all. Such amazing comfort here on earth, and then stanza seven gives us the hope of eternal life: He brings me to the portal That leads to bliss untold, Whereon this rhyme immortal Is found in script of gold: “Who there My cross has shared Finds here a crown prepared; Who there with Me has died Shall here be glorified.” Amen and Amen!

Awake, My Heart, with Gladness – Lutheran Service Book 467

(Here is a recording from our Easter Sunday Service.  The sounds quality is not the greatest, but I thought I’d post it.)

1 Awake, my heart, with gladness,
See what today is done;
Now, after gloom and sadness,
Comes forth the glorious sun.
My Savior there was laid
Where our bed must be made
When to the realms of light
Our spirit wings its flight.

2 The foe in triumph shouted
When Christ lay in the tomb;
But lo, he now is routed,
His boast is turned to gloom.
For Christ again is free;
In glorious victory
He who is strong to save
Has triumphed o’er the grave.

3 This is a sight that gladdens—
What peace it doth impart!
Now nothing ever saddens
The joy within my heart.
No gloom shall ever shake,
No foe shall ever take
The hope which God’s own Son
In love for me has won.

4 Now hell, its prince, the devil,
Of all their pow’r are shorn;
Now I am safe from evil,
And sin I laugh to scorn.
Grim death with all its might
Cannot my soul affright;
It is a pow’rless form,
Howe’er it rave and storm.

5 The world against me rages,
Its fury I disdain;
Though bitter war it wages,
Its work is all in vain.
My heart from care is free,
No trouble troubles me.
Misfortune now is play,
And night is bright as day.

6 Now I will cling forever
To Christ, my Savior true;
My Lord will leave me never,
Whate’er He passes through.
He rends death’s iron chain;
He breaks through sin and pain;
He shatters hell’s grim thrall;
I follow Him through all.

7 He brings me to the portal
That leads to bliss untold,
Whereon this rhyme immortal
Is found in script of gold:
“Who there My cross has shared
Finds here a crown prepared;
Who there with Me has died
Shall here be glorified.”

Public domain

Advertisements

From → Church Music, Hymns

2 Comments
  1. Thanks again for another good blog post – it’s been a joy to read your hymn reviews. I listened to the audio file you posted of Awake, My Heart, With Gladness and noticed you used Jeffrey Blersch’s hymn introduction and alternate stanza setting. I’m a fan of the Blersch hymn introduction series from CPH.

    • Nathan permalink

      Chris, thanks for reading the posts and I’m glad you enjoy them. It’s been a fun experience to write them.

      I did use the Blersch introduction for “Awake, My Heart, with Gladness,” and I also use his stuff a lot. I was exposed to a lot of it when I was at Concordia Seward (graduated in 2005), as he’s the organ professor there now. We actually had him down for a hymn festival this past February, which was really cool as well. Thanks for linking to my blog as well!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s