ACW

ACW

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

HISTORY AND HYMNS - JOACHIM NEANDER by Allison Symes

Image Credit:  All images for this post are from Pixabay.

The older I get, the more I realise uncertainty is nothing new.  Nor will it go away, no matter how much we might wish or pray it would.  This thought hit home when I was singing Joachim Neander’s marvellous hymn, God, My Hope on You is Founded at a recent church service.

In one of the verses, the words “sword and crown betray our trust” suddenly struck me as being a massive political statement. I have no idea why that thought had not occurred before during the many years I’ve sung this hymn. 

Sword and....

...and Crown betray our trust
I looked at Joachim Neander’s dates of birth and death.  He lived from 1650 to 1680 (which even by the standards of the time was not a long life span but he was unfortunate enough to catch TB.  He did write 60 hymns.  I wonder how many others would he have gone on to have written had he lived to a more usual age.).



He was a hymn writer for the German Reformed Church and his most famous hymn is Praise to the Lord, The Almighty, the King of Creation (a favourite of many of us I’m sure.  The moment I typed the words I was "singing" the opening bars in my head!).  He became Pastor of Bremen.

Now my knowledge of German history at that period is lamentable but I wonder if the comment about the sword and crown came about as a result of the Continent as a whole watching what was going on in our own country. 

Neander’s life span covered from just after the English Civil War to the whole of Cromwell’s Republic and the Restoration of the Monarchy with Charles II in 1660.  Turbulent times.

Hymnbooks at the ready...

So each generation has its uncertainties.  We shouldn’t be surprised then when we face our own - as a country and individually.  But, confession time, I always am surprised by them!  I would love to see each country, including our own, at peace with all others and all governing wisely and for violence to be a thing of the past.  All things to pray for, naturally. Maybe each generation does need its own things to pray and work for.

Hymn music.  Whatever the language the words are in, the music will always speak.
Neander was, of course, right to emphasise we must depend on God and not man.  I hope in a way it is reassuring to know, with all the concerns about Brexit, we are all in a  state of flux.  What matters is how we handle that.  Prayer and thoughtful determination to be obedient to God should be the way to handle it.

Organ and Hymnbooks
 The Christian journey is often portrayed as being on a road.  What is not mentioned so often is, so like our actual roads, there are potholes and other hazards for the unwary traveller!  But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t read the signs.  As ever, we do not travel alone.

2 comments:

  1. Yes, your points are truly relevant. I wonder what Neander had witnessed. The Thirty Years' War ended two years before he was born - he must have been told tales of appalling suffering. The defeat of the Turks besieging Vienna occurred three years after his death. Europe wasn't a peaceful place to live then, and the thought that it might all fall apart again is dreadful. Prayer is definitely needed! Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes, your points are truly relevant. I wonder what Neander had witnessed. The Thirty Years' War ended two years before he was born - he must have been told tales of appalling suffering. The defeat of the Turks besieging Vienna occurred three years after his death. Europe wasn't a peaceful place to live then, and the thought that it might all fall apart again is dreadful. Prayer is definitely needed! Thank you.

    ReplyDelete