Jesus’ Life, All in One Hymn

baptism-of-christ-1483

Following the festal celebrations of the Nativity and the Epiphany, we now move into the Epiphany season in which we celebrate and give witness to Jesus’ life and work in the world. After John the Baptist baptizes Jesus, we hear on these successive Epiphany Sundays the Gospel accounts of Jesus calling the disciples, teaching in the synagogue, healing the sick, and proclaiming the Good News.

The closing hymn today, “O love, how deep, how broad, how high,” is a favorite in this parish, perhaps because its text traces Jesus’ entire life from birth to baptism, fasting and temptation, works and miracles, crucifixion and death, and triumphant resurrection. This 15th-century Latin hymn was translated by English priest Benjamin Webb (1819-1895) and included in The Hymnary (1872), an important late 19th-century English hymnal for which he served as co-editor. Common in most early Greek and Latin hymns, this great text ends with a “doxological” stanza in which the Holy Trinity is outlined and praised.

1 O love, how deep, how broad, how high,
beyond all thought and fantasy,
that God, the Son of God, should take
our mortal form for mortals’ sake.

2 For us baptized, for us he bore
his holy fast and hungered sore;
for us temptations sharp he knew,
for us, the tempter overthrew.

3 For us by wickedness betrayed,
for us, in crown of thorns arrayed,
he bore the shameful cross and death;
for us gave up his dying breath.

4 For us he rose from death again;
for us he went on high to reign;
for us he sent the Spirit here
to guide, to strengthen, and to cheer.

5 All glory to our Lord and God,
for love so deep, so high, so broad:
the Trinity whom we adore
forever and forevermore.

Source: Hymnary.org

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