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HYMN FOR ASH WEDNESDAY & LENT 1 Come, Let us Go to Jerusalem/Swedish/Se vi gå upp til Jerusalem /Dear Christians One and All Rejoice/Luther

Text: Lar Johan. Paulinus Nilsson (1866-1951). Tune: from Anders Arrebo (1587-1637)


Baptism of Christ Pietro Perugino 1483 in the Sistine Chapel

  1. Come, let us go to Jerusalem,

And take now this Lenten journey,

To see how our Savior, God’s only Son

Will die in the place of all sinners.

 

2. Come, let us go to Jerusalem—

Who goes with him to the garden

To do as his heavenly Father wills

And drink of the cup for our pardon.

 

3. Come, let us go to Jerusalem—

To stand at the cross of Jesus,

The Lamb who was offered to save the world

To die for our sins and free us.

 

4. Come, let us go to Jerusalem—

The beautiful gate of heaven—

There Jesus once told us that where he is

There we will be with him forever.

            Tr. Gracia Grindal

 

REFLECTION

(This hymns works well for Ash Wednesday and the first Sunday in Lent. It sets us on the road to Jesus' passion.) The Gospel text for this Sunday is remarkably brief. We get both Jesus’ baptism and his temptation in the desert in just a few verses.

 

Jesus being tempted by the devil

Jesus is led immediately to the wilderness by the Spirit to be tempted Matthew and Luke say, but Mark says the Spirit drove him there where he is tempted. Matthew and Luke include a long account of Jesus contending with the devil. Mark simply says it happened. The desert is often where the battle lines between good and evil are clearest in Scripture. Fasting is said to clear one’s mind. One sleeps off a big meal, but someone who is hungry is intellectually keen. So Jesus after forty days is weak with hunger, but sharp enough to do significant battle with the devil. Jesus in this battle with Satan passes the test that Adam failed in the garden.


Ole Hallesby

The writer Ole Hallesby, whose great book Prayer should be read by every Christian, is insistent that it is in the troubles we suffer where Christ is most present. When we face our own needs and pitiful lack of power to allay the evil or even confront it, we flee to one who can, the Lord Jesus.

 

Martin Luther describes it well in his first hymn, “Dear Christians One and All Rejoice,” especially stanza 2-4

 

2. Fast bound in Satan's chains I lay;

Death brooded darkly o'er me.

Sin was my torment night and day;

In sin my mother bore me.

But daily deeper still I fell;

My life became a living hell,

So firmly sin possessed me.


3. My own good works all came to naught,

No grace or merit gaining;

Free will against God's judgment fought,

Dead to all good remaining.

My fears increased till sheer despair

Left only death to be my share;

The pangs of hell I suffered.


4. But God had seen my wretched state

Before the world's foundation,

And mindful of His mercies great,

He planned for my salvation.

He turned to me a father's heart;

He did not choose the easy part

But gave His dearest treasure.

 (for more on this hymn, click here


If Lent is an exploration of the sorrows that Jesus, God’s dearest treasure, went through for us, it should bring us to self-examination. As Jesus says to the women weeping for him outside Jerusalem, (Luke 23:8) weep for yourselves and your children, don’t weep for me.

 

In the hymn, we follow along an abbreviated number of the stations of the cross: Jerusalem, the garden of Gethsemane and Golgatha, but the fourth stanza takes us to the heavenly Jerusalem, the goal of our Lenten journey. To get there, we must go through the darkest places in the history of a terrible world and those in our own souls. But beyond that darkness, is the new Jerusalem shining with hope. Look up!

 

HYMN INFO

First published in 1898 with fourteen stanzas it was shortened for publication in a collection of hymns and songs for the morning service Psalmer och Sånger till Högmässdotexter (1905). Paul Nilsson was a Swedish pastor and hymn writer who served as regiment pastor and then pastor in Häggum in Skara and Sjogerstad. He later became the court preacher. He was one of the early hymn writers to work for the renewal of hymnody in Sweden which would be led by Anders Frostenson. They wanted hymns to be less theological and more relevant to the lives of the Swedish people. The tune is an old tune from the 1697 Swedish tune book which went along with the Svedberg hymnal of 1695 which served the Swedish people for over a century until 1819. It first appeared in a collection of hymns by Anders Arrebo collection, but the writer of the tune is unknown.


LINKS

Swedish congregation singing


SKRUK


Sondre Bratland and Nils Petter Molvær on trumpet


Göteborg choir and Ola Höglund organist


Motet by Sven-Erik Bäck, the Stockholm Chamber Choir, Bäck directing



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