Tuesday, June 21, 2016
Hymns of the Church - Oh Love, How Deep – 21 June 2016, Anno Domini (In the Year of our Lord)
That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. (Eph 3:17-19)
DEEP CALLETH UNTO DEEP at the noise of thy waterspouts: all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me. 8 Yet the LORD will command his lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life. (Psalm 42:7-8)
Except that it be God Himself, the author of this ancient hymn is unknown. There are at least four different tunes to which this hymn is sung: Deo Gracias, The Agincourt Song, 1415: Alternate tunes: Canonbury, Robert A. Schumann, 1839; Eisenach, Johann H. Schein, 1628; and Melcombe, Samuel Webbe, Sr.; 1782. My favorite, and I believe the more common, is Eisenbach.
O Love, How Deep
O love, how deep, how broad, how high,
It fills the heart with ecstasy,
That God, the Son of God, should take
Our mortal form for mortals’ sake!
He sent no angel to our race
Of higher or of lower place,
But wore the robe of human frame
Himself, and to this lost world came.
For us baptized, for us He bore
His holy fast and hungered sore,
For us temptation sharp He knew;
For us the tempter overthrew.
For us He prayed; for us He taught;
For us His daily works He wrought;
By words and signs and actions thus
Still seeking not Himself, but us.
For us to wicked men betrayed,
Scourged, mocked, in purple robe arrayed,
He bore the shameful cross and death,
For us gave up His dying breath.
For us He rose from death again;
For us He went on high to reign;
For us He sent His Spirit here,
To guide, to strengthen, and to cheer.
To Him Whose boundless love has won
Salvation for us through His Son,
To God the Father, glory be
Both now and through eternity.
O love, how deep, how broad, how high, It fills the heart with ecstasy, That God, the Son of God, should take Our mortal form for mortals’ sake! It was not for His own sake that the Lord came down to be scorned, rejected, and tortured; but for the sake of His Elect. That LOVE which describes Him fully is beyond our comprehension. It is higher than the heavens, deeper than the depths of Hell, and wider than the ocean. It certainly does more than fill the heart, but rather turns the heart into an over-flowing fountain of love.
In the human equation, a paid servant would have been sent to perform the dirty work of the master of the house, but not so in the Kingdom of God. God sent His very best! He sent no angel to our race Of higher or of lower place, But wore the robe of human frame Himself, and to this lost world came. He left the mansions of His Father to take upon Himself the very frame of those He came to save; but not the bloodline. His was the bloodline of His Father. Ours is the sin-tainted blood of our ancient father, Adam.
For us baptized, for us He bore His holy fast and hungered sore, For us temptation sharp He knew; For us the tempter overthrew. He came under the Law, and was baptized under the Law. He fasted under the Law, and was tempted under the Law; but He defeated death, Hell and Satan in the satisfaction of the Law for us sinners.
For us He prayed; for us He taught; For us His daily works He wrought; By words and signs and actions thus Still seeking not Himself, but us. He both prayed and fasted for us. Though you will not find it in your modern bibles of fable, Matthew 17:21 tells us how He healed and cast out demons: Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting. (Matt 17:21) The dry, dusty roads of Samaria, of Tyre, of Galilee, and of Bethany He trod daily – most often without a single full night of sleep – for us. He proved His Sonship by His miracles, His Parables, and His Words; but more powerfully by His LOVE!
For us to wicked men betrayed, Scourged, mocked, in purple robe arrayed, He bore the shameful cross and death, For us gave up His dying breath. On that day, two thousand years ago, we were called to the bench of justice to pay for our many sins. We met Barabbas there, too, who was arraigned for the same sentence of a cruel death. But Barabbas, and we, were pardoned while another of finer frame and character – blameless and innocent – took our place there on the pillar of beating. He considered it not a burden to bear our cross for us, and to be nailed thereupon in our stead. His eyes were filled with the blood streaming down his loving brow from the crown of thorns; and His back was crimson with blood from the gashes made by the Roman cat-of-nine-tails (whip with embedded glass and rocks in its tips). He never hesitated to complete the sacrifice, but bore His cross steadily onward on the Via Dolorosa for you and me. There He died the death we should have died.
For us He rose from death again; For us He went on high to reign; For us He sent His Spirit here, To guide, to strengthen, and to cheer. Thank our God that the Tomb of Christ was borrowed because it was only needed for a time. Because of His borrowed Tomb, our tombs shall also be borrowed for a short time. He rose from the Tomb so that we, too, may have that privilege to rise in Him. He was received into Heaven by a cloud – perhaps the same that covered His countenance on the Mount of Transfiguration, or that cloud which concealed his countenance and followed the Children in the Wilderness. He sent the Comforter in His stead to be at all places and at all times to comfort, encourage, strengthen, and succor His Elect.
To Him Whose boundless love has won Salvation for us through His Son, To God the Father, glory be Both now and through eternity. The love of our Lord surpasses all understanding. No one else would die for us when we lay bleeding in our filth and sin. That Love is a saving love. But do not discount the Love of the Father, either. He sent His most cherished possession down among thieves, rascals, enemies, and sinners to redeem them. He loved us enough to send His Son to die on the cross – a terrible thing for the Father to behold. It was the Will of the Father, and the Son obeyed. How little do we obey. Not nearly so much is required of us. God would not demand the death of any man’s only begotten son as a remission of sin – even Isaac of Abraham! But Isaac was a shadow of the Son that God would send instead. And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together. (Gen 22:7-8) Yes, Abraham and Isaac went on together to what Abraham believed would be a sacrifice of his only begotten son; but his had was kept from the sacrifice, for God the Father and God the son would both go together to the place of sacrifice at Calvary in the fullness of time.