Church Hymnal #426
Words: Benjamin Schmolk (1672-1737) was born to a Lutheran pastor in Silesia, Germany, a region now contained in modern Poland. As a young man, he once filled in for his father and preached a sermon so impressive that a local benefactor paid for his university schooling at Leipzig. Upon graduating, Schmolk joined his father as assistant pastor.
Lyrics: “Please, Lord, show me Your glory!” pled a discouraged Moses after his people had fallen into idolatry with the golden calf.
“You can’t look at My face and survive Moses,” replied God. “But here’s what I’ll do for you. I’ll hide you down in a crevice in this big rock and cover you with My hand while I go past. Just before I’m out of sight, I’ll remove My hand and give you a glimpse of Me disappearing.”
Sometimes a popular song (e.g., “Old Rugged Cross”) is born in a single flash of creativity by one inspired mind. But the Easter classic, “The Strife Is O’er,” developed in bits and pieces over three centuries, in three different countries, from the genius of at least four different men.
If you find yourself in a gathered assembly of worshipers during the closing hours of December 31, you will have the perfect hymn for the occasion.
From Jewish chants in the early church, to praise choruses in our day, the sound of singing in Christian assemblies has changed significantly. The changes have seldom gone smoothly. In some ways, Anabaptist groups have been less vulnerable to worship fads. They have historically kept a strong hold on their worship traditions. But the switch from German to English in the late 19th century broke that continuity and left the Anabaptists scrambling to borrow worship materials from the nearest Protestant sources.