364. O Love, How Deep, How Broad, How High

1 O love, how deep, how broad, how high,
beyond all thought and fantasy,
that God, the Son of God, should take
our mortal form for mortals' sake!

2 For us baptized, for us he bore
his holy fast and hungered sore;
for us temptation sharp he knew,
for us the tempter overthrew.

3 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.

4 For us to evil power betrayed,
scourged, mocked, in purple robe arrayed,
he bore the shameful cross and death;
for us gave up his dying breath.

5 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.

6 All glory to our Lord and God
for love so deep, so high, so broad
the Trinity, whom we adore
forever and forevermore.

Text Information
First Line: O love, how deep, how broad, how high
Title: O Love, How Deep, How Broad, How High
Translator: Benjamin Webb (1854, alt.)
Meter: LM
Language: English
Publication Date: 1987
Scripture: ; ;
Topic: Doxologies; Cross of Christ; Epiphany & Ministry of Christ (4 more...)
Source: Latin, 15th cent.
Tune Information
Harmonizer: Carl Schalk (1969)
Meter: LM
Key: c minor
Source: English, 15th cent.
Copyright: Harmonization © 1969, Concordia Publishing House. Used by permission

Text Information:

Scripture References:
st. 1 = Eph. 3:18-19, Phil. 2:7
st. 2 = Matt. 3:13, Matt. 4:1-11
st. 3 = John 17:9
st. 4 = Rom 4:25, 1 Pet. 2:24
st. 5 = Rom. 8:34, John 16:7, 13

The original anonymous text in Latin ("O amor quam ecstaticus") comes from a fifteenth-century manuscript from Karlsruhe. The twenty-three-stanza text has been attributed to Thomas à Kempis because of its similarities to writings of the Moderna Devotio Movement associated with à Kempis. (that movement
was an important precursor of the Reformation in the Netherlands). However, there is insufficient proof that he actually wrote this text.

Benjamin Webb (b. London, England, 1819; d. Marylebone, London, 1885) translated the text in eight stanzas. It was published in The Hymnal Noted (1852), produced by his friend John Mason Neale (PHH 342). Webb received his education at Trinity College, Cambridge, England, and became a priest in the Church of England in 1843. Among the parishes he served was St. Andrews, Wells Street, London, where he worked from 1862 to 1881. Webb's years there coincided with the service of the talented choir director and organist Joseph Barnby (PHH 438), and the church became known for its excellent music program. Webb edited The Ecclesiologist, a periodical of the Cambridge Ecclesiological Society (1842-1868). A composer of anthems, Webb also wrote hymns and hymn translations and served as one of the editors of The Hymnary (1872).

The text has a wide scope, taking in all of Jesus’ incarnate life: his birth (st. 1); identification with human affairs (st. 2); daily ministry (st. 3); crucifixion (st. 4); resurrection, ascension, and gift of the Spirit (st. 5); the final stanza is a doxology (st. 6). Thus the text summarizes Christ's life in the same manner as the Apostles' Creed. A striking feature is the text's emphasis on the fact that Jesus accomplished all of this "for us"; "for us" occurs at least a dozen times! The redemptive work of Christ is very personally, very corporately applied.

Liturgical Use:
Epiphany, especially later in the season; Lent, Holy Week, Easter, Ascension, and at many other times; the final stanza makes a good doxology for Epiphany, Lent, or the Easter season.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune Information:

DEO GRACIAS is a fifteenth-century English ballad tune sung to commemorate the Battle at Agincourt in 1415. The Agincourt ballad began with the refrain (popularized by E. Power Biggs in an organ fanfare arrangement) "Deo gracias Anglia Redde pro victoria" ("Render thanks to God, England, for victory"). Stanza 1 originally began "Owre kynge went forth to Normandy." Also known as AGINCOURT, the tune was adapted for congregational singing in the 1906 English Hymnal by dropping a closing melisma.

DEO GRACIAS is a vigorous tune, even martial with this harmonization by Carl Schalk (PHH 10) written for the Lutheran Worship Supplement (1969). Support the unison singing line with solid organ tone and crisp rhythmic accompaniment. Try having antiphonal groups sing stanzas 1-5 and the entire congregation sing stanza 6. Use brass instruments for fanfares and/or accompaniment. Maintain one pulse per bar.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

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