HYMN 357 Anxious Heart be Rid of Sadness/Overmåte, fullt av nåde
Danish: Overmåde, fullt av nåde
Norwegian: Overmåte, fyllt av nåde
Text: Hans Adolph Brorson (1694-1764). Tune: Norwegian folk
1. Overflowing with your mercies
Is, O Lord, your gracious name!
All will daily be reminded
Of the goodness in the same.
Heaven, earth, the sea and thunder
Praise you, every branch and thorn,
See all heaven, shining angels
Singing with their golden horns.
2. Should your people here not praise you
Singing forth in your great choir
And announce how grace is reigning
In a holy joy of flowers,
Heaven will sing the king's great glory
Loud hosannas to the world
They shall sing out: heavenly kingdom
We receive in God's own Word.
3. Now we’re singing, hearts and voices
Through the high celestial skies
Glory to you, praise and glory
To his throne our songs arise.
Things of earth can never answer
What their figures cannot prize.
We are living life he's given
Given freely without price.
Tr. Gracia Grindal
1. Anxious heart, be rid of sadness,
Let us haste to Calvary;
There receive the peace and gladness
Which his passion offers thee.
For the weary, vexed and needy
From salvation here abounds;
To the found of solace speed them
In the blessed Savior’s wounds.
2. Thou, O gentle, loving, holy
Lamb of God, for me has died;
For my sin and shame thou solely
Here hast fully satisfied.
Hence I, trusting in Thy favor,
Safe through life and death shall go,
Mindful of thy suffering ever
I shall vanquish all my foes.
Tr. Olav Lee/Concordia version
February 12, 1994. The Winter Olympics in Lillehammer. The opening ceremonies are being broadcast throughout the entire world. Huge flakes of snow are falling gently in the evening light over the crowd, dappling their hair and sweaters so they sparkle like diamonds. The festivities are going on with some native dances and stories. I am not amused. It looks pagan.
Suddenly, the sound of an organ. It is playing a tune I know. Way back. What is it? The music is thrilling. Then it comes to me—I knew it from The Concordia, “Anxious Heart, be Rid of Sadness.“ The text is attributed to Hans Adolph Brorson, but I can not find the source of that text. I look in the Norwegian hymnal and there it is. “Overmåte, fullt av nåde.” Once again, a Norwegian tune to Brorson. Iver Kleive is pl
Suddenly the whole world is filled with the sounds of grace overflowing everywhere, all lands, all of creation, all peoples, everything! It was almost like a joke on the whole world: the Gospel of Jesus Christ being spread on the wings of song from a secular gathering, beamed to all the world!
I flipped out! I knew Iver Kleive and the way he had used these songs to refresh them and bring a new sound to the old. What he and his peers were doing for old Nordic hymnody had fascinated me since I first heard Ankommst Utstein Kloster, one of the first tapes produced by Kirkelig Kulturverkstad, a recording company that started in the 1980s. (John Ylvisaker took the tape from me and rode all over the United States playing it and learning from it.) It was produced by Erick Hillestad, a son of Olaf Hillestad, one of the leaders of Norwegian hymn writing. Olaf’s untimely death had affected Egil Hovland greatly. The day he heard of his passing was the same day he received Britt G. Hallqvist’s “Måne och sol.”
As he read the words of the new hymn, he saw the heads of the children in his youth choir at Glemmen church in Fredrikstad dancing on a staff of music like notes, that became the notes for the song.
Everything reminds one of everything as one gets older!
So ten years later, I am on a sabbatical in Løgumkloster in Jutland, Brorson country, where I am studying the Dano-Norwegian hymn tradition, especially, Brorson, who taught there in his early career. Every day I walk out into the lovely Jutland landscapes of October, water rilling and trilling along the pathways, seeing the landscapes he loved and walked through on his way home to visit his family in Randerup, some few miles north.
His most popular song, “Op! al den ting som Gud har gjort,” deeply beloved in Denmark describes the landscape of Jutland. I can see it as I walk, but this hymn also looks closely at the world around us. (See HYMN 47)
His song bursts from my heart. I hardly need to sing more than the first lines: Overflowing with God’s mercies…
Heaven, earth, the sea and thunder
Praise you, every branch and thorn...
When our hearts swell with feelings of praise, it is a blessing to have words and tunes that we can sing with all our hearts and voices. They rise to the heights of heaven where Brorson tells us they join with the heavenly hosts in thanks for the mercies of God. They come to us each day and over time, each time richer than the last. Heaven and earth singing: Glory to you, all glory be to you on high!
Hans Adolph Brorson wrote this, among many others, during his last year while he was sick abed and dying. It became the Swan Song, Svane-Sang, that his son published the year after his death, 1765. From that collection we get some of the most beloved of his texts, most well known to Americans, “Behold a Host Arrayed in White.” The song did not receive a tune In Norway until the 19th century and Landstad, but it was popular in the prayer houses (bedehuse) and mission groups. Landstad included it in his 1869 hymnal and it became a standard there. The editors of The Concordia found a text they attribute to Brorson, but I cannot figure out what the original Danish text was. It is a difficult meter for English. My translation of the original is quick and dirty. I hope to polish it more in time. The Concordia version was a Lenten hymn. In Landstad it was a praise song to the Creator. It still is popular among the heirs to the prayer house movement. It is their choirs that feature it on their recordings.
Olympics with Kleive, etc
Mons Leidvin Takle, piano and choir
Grimstad School choir
Krupka Jazz Trio
Henning Sommerro, Arne Domnerus, etc. Jazz version
In less than a month, April 6, my book of sonnets, Jesus The Harmony, will be released by Augsburg Fortress. One can pre-order it on Amazon now.