We Need a Translator!

Editor’s note: The article below by Pastor Brett Jenkins originally appeared in the July 2018 newsletter.

Click here to read this very short and helpful article.

Lord, Let Your Servant Go In Peace: A hymn paraphrase of the Nunc Dimittis for Advent and Lent

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be…. In the Kyrie, we begin, “In peace, let us pray to the Lord.” In the Gloria, we echo the angel’s sweet words, “peace to those whom God favors.” In the Agnus Dei, we pray that the Lamb of God should grant us peace. And now that the service is ending, we echo Simeon’s words: Lord, now you let your servant go in peace. For my hymn paraphrase of Simeon’s song, the Nunc Dimittis, I selected a tune that also echoes the theme of early American tunes I’ve used throughout the hymn paraphrases of the liturgy. It’s called “Distress,” and despite that name, it’s a plaintive but peaceful tune. We use it for 2 hymns: “We Place Upon Your Table, Lord,” and “O Christ the Healer, We Have Come.” As we indeed have received healing at our Savior’s table, that seems fitting.


Download it here.


Lord Jesus, God’s Own Lamb: A hymn paraphrase of the “Lamb of God” (Agnus Dei) for Advent and Lent

“Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world. Have mercy on us. Grant us peace.” One of the simplest and most eloquent of prayers, we sing it just before receiving the Body and Blood of this Lamb, slain before the foundation of the world to do just that – forgive our sins, and make peace between us and God, us and one another, and even us and our own restless and broken hearts. For my simple paraphrase of this simple prayer, I used a simple tune: Southwell, often set to the words, “Lord Jesus, Think On Me.” Which seems eminently appropriate, doesn’t it?


Download it here.

Holy, Most Holy God: A hymn paraphrase of the “Sanctus” for Advent and Lent

“Holy, holy holy is the Lord God of hosts! Heaven and earth are full of his glory!” Isaiah heard the angels crying out to one another, and this hymn shook the very foundations of the Temple – and of Isaiah’s own soul. I believe the Sanctus (“Holy!”) ought to convey awe in the face of the profound mystery of our Lord’s self-giving revelation in the Sacrament. And it should convey deep love: God’s love for us, and our response of love for Him. What better hymn tune to convey all this than yet another early American tune: Wondrous Love? My feeble words lean totally on Scripture, and are carried by this lovely melody.


Download it here.

Thrice-Holy, Mighty, and Immortal Lord: A hymn paraphrase of the Nicene Creed for Advent and Lent

When Bach and others composed their Masses, they always included the “Credo” – the Nicene Creed. Martin Luther wrote a paraphrase of the Apostles’ Creed (We All Believe in One True God). Singing the core of our faith is a good way to embed it deep within. We don’t just memorize – we “sing it by heart!”  Well, I’m not in the same league as Bach or Luther. But I did decide to write several paraphrases of the Nicene Creed for use at different times of the year. Here’s the one most suitable for Advent and Lent. It uses a stately (but not dirge-like) tune: Old 124th, often set to the hymn, “Turn Back, O Man, Forswear Thy Foolish Ways.” Don’t let the tempo drag!


Download it here.

Advent Hymn: a paraphrase of the “Gloria in Excelsis” for Advent

I know, I know. A lot of folks don’t use a “hymn of praise” in Advent or Lent. But some do. And I’ve written one that reflects the wording of the traditional “Gloria in Excelsis,” modifies it a bit as we look forward to that glorious day when the angels sing it in full-throated harmony – AND I use a lovely early American tune (Consolation) that is often used in Advent for the hymn, “The King Shall Come When Morning Dawns.”

Download it here.

In Heavenly Peace, We Pray to Thee: a hymn paraphrase of the Kyrie for Advent and Lent

This brief paraphrase of the Kyrie is sung to the tune for “My Shepherd Will Supply My Need” (Tune name: Rresignation). It’s done as a call-and-response. The cantor sings the first half of each line. The congregation responds with “Have mercy, Christ, on us” or “Amen, Lord Christ, amen” as the second half of each line. Like many early American tunes, once you’ve learned the first line, you have learned 3/4 of the whole tune, so it’s very easy to do!


Download it here

Devotion for Monday, October 1, 2018

“Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, bless His name; proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day.” (Psalm 96:1-2)


The new song for the Lord is what you do with your life. You are a unique creation and there is no one like you. Please the Lord by living in His presence and walking with Him all of your days. Know that His grace and mercy will be with you if you walk humbly before Him. He is the One who has paved the way before you and will walk alongside you now and forever.

Lord, grant that I become bold in the salvation You have given me. Guide me according to Your goodness to walk in the way You have established. Lead me in Your salvation that I may now and always be in Your presence. May my life become a gift back to You for all that You are and all that You have done. You are the rock of my salvation and I seek to please You in all I do.

Holy Spirit, guide my heart to walk humbly this day in the presence of the Father. Lead me, Lord, that I would go where You direct. Keep the attitude of my heart firmly fixed upon Christ in all things that I may now and always live according to Your direction. May I walk boldly today and every day in the salvation I have in Christ and do what is pleasing in the Father’s sight. Amen.