HYMN 20 Jesus, I Long for Your Blessed Communion
Updated: Mar 27, 2021
Danish text: Jesus, din søte forening å smake
Text: Peder Hygom (1692-1764) Tune: Folk tune from Ryfylke
1. Jesus, I long for your blessed communion,
Yearning possesses my heart and my mind.
Break down all barriers that hinder my union.
Draw me to you, O Redeemer most kind!
Show me now clearly my need that is crying.
Show me the pain of the wrongs that I do.
That unto sin I may daily be dying,
And in the Spirit live only to you.
2. Quicken my soul thro’ your blood and your merit.
Send me your Spirit and help me to prove
I am your captive in soul and in spirit.
Lead me and draw me to you with your love.
Come, let my heart from all idols be severed;
So that you only can dwell in my soul.
Grant me your peace that continues forever,
Peace beyond all I can fathom or know.
3. Jesus, when shall I find rest in your haven?
Take up my burden, Lord, lift it from me!
When shall I see you, my Savior, in heaven?
Waken and quiet the wild, troubled sea.
O loving Jesus, come help me, be speedy;
Hide not your face from me, always be near.
You are the wealth of the inwardly needy.
Come, fill my heart with your mercy and cheer.
4. Jesus, let not my love go unrequited:
See my poor soul growing weary, O Lord,
Let us, Immanuel, now be united,
When you are with me, my soul is restored.
Once you did say, “They will hunger and perish,
If I permit them to go on their way!”
Love everlasting! Refuse not to nourish
Souls that are hungering for crumbs for today.
5. Merciful Jesus, I pray, hear my pleading.
Do not forget what you said in your word:
“Ask and receive; you will find when you seek me
This you have said and your people have heard.
I, like the woman at Cana, keep pleading,
Crying to you till my longing is stilled.
And you have spoken with grace to my needing,
“Amen, yes, Amen; be done as you will.”
Tr. Carl Døving; Georg Rygh;
Longing. That may be the operative word for everyone these days. Longing to be done
with the quarantine, to be out in the spring weather, to gather again with friends and
family, but especially today, to be in church to hear, to see, to taste and touch the
promises of God in the flesh. The Gospel is about close and physical union with Christ
and his body, the congregation. For now we can hear and read God’s word, but after
weeks of suffering alone, we want to “taste” the communion, as the original says: smake.
On Maundy Thursday we hear Jesus tell the disciples a time of trouble is nearing, but he
will return to them and their joy will be full. They are frightened and worried and don’t
quite get what he is talking about. They long to understand even as they are baffled and
frightened by what they fear is going to happen, hoping that things will turn out. The time between will be painful, as Jesus says, like the labor pains of a woman. We will long for its ending and try to see some light at the end of the tunnel. All know the joy of hearing a baby is on the way, but we know the labor may be hard. But there will be joy after that. We long for that joy as we live through the sorrow. It keeps us going.
As Christ says, he is speaking in figures of speech, metaphors. One day he will speak
plainly. But for now, what the hymn calls “crumbs” will do. For us as Christians, crumbs
are not insignificant. We believe that in these crumbs we receive Jesus. We long for those small crumbs, especially now. But in longing for the physical realities of the faith, its simple means, like water, bread and wine, the word, we are longing for more than we know.
It is a longing that fills our hearts. As St. Augustine says, “You made us for yourself , O
Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.” It is built into us: a longing for the
end, for heaven, the final consummation. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13:9-12, “Now I
know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.”
For now we have the Word we can read and hear, but we long also to be together for
the bread and wine, the singing, the group, with no social distancing. So we pray like the
woman of Cana, Hear us; end our isolation and longing. Bring us together soon!
A German hymn by J.L.C. Allendorf, this translation by Peder J. Hygom (1692-1764) of Denmark came to Norway through the 1740 hymnal of Erik Pontoppidan (1698-1764), Dano-Norwegian bishop. The second stanza of the hymn is what Hans Nielsen Hauge (1771-1824), the lay evangelist, was singing when he had his spiritual experience. On April 5, 1796, he was out plowing in the fields near Fredrikstad, singing, and was struck down by a light from heaven, which made him insensate. When he awoke everything had changed for him and he wanted to spread the Gospel and serve his neighbor with all his heart. He began publishing books, walking through Norway meeting with entire communities in farmhouses along the way, speaking and writing letters to his followers. Norway was utterly changed by his work. Some historians call him the first modern Norwegian.
Knut Nystedt choral arrangement
Sondre Bratland—He is Norway’s expert in using quarter tones common in folk tunes