Blessed Jesus, at Thy word

Representative Text

1 Blessed Jesus, at your word
we are gathered all to hear you.
Let our hearts and souls be stirred
now to seek and love and fear you.
By your gospel pure and holy,
teach us, Lord, to love you solely.

2 All our knowledge, sense, and sight
lie in deepest darkness shrouded,
till your Spirit breaks our night
with your beams of truth unclouded.
You alone to God can win us;
you must work all good within us.

3 Glorious Lord, yourself impart;
Light of Light, from God proceeding,
open lips and ears and heart;
help us by your Spirit's leading.
Hear the cry your church now raises;
Lord, accept our prayers and praises.

Psalter Hymnal, 1987

Translator: Catherine Winkworth

Catherine Winkworth (b. Holborn, London, England, 1827; d. Monnetier, Savoy, France, 1878) is well known for her English translations of German hymns; her translations were polished and yet remained close to the original. Educated initially by her mother, she lived with relatives in Dresden, Germany, in 1845, where she acquired her knowledge of German and interest in German hymnody. After residing near Manchester until 1862, she moved to Clifton, near Bristol. A pioneer in promoting women's rights, Winkworth put much of her energy into the encouragement of higher education for women. She translated a large number of German hymn texts from hymnals owned by a friend, Baron Bunsen. Though often altered, these translations continue to be used i… Go to person page >

Author: Tobias Clausnitzer

Clausnitzer, Tobias, born at Thum, near Annaberg, in Saxony, probably on Feb. 5,1619. After studying at various Universities, and finally at Leipzig (where he graduated M.A. in 1643), he was appointed, in 1644, chaplain to a Swedish regiment. In that capacity he preached the thanksgiving sermon in St. Thomas's Church, Leipzig, on "Reminiscere" Sunday, 1645 (ii. Sunday in Lent) on the accession of Christina as Queen of Sweden; as also the thanksgiving sermon at the field service held by command of General Wrangel, at Weiden, in the Upper Palatine, on January 1, 1649, after the conclusion of the Peace of Westphalia. In 1649 he was appointed first pastor at Weiden, and remained there (being also appointed later a member of the Consistory, and… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: Blessed Jesus, at Thy word
German Title: Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier
Author: Tobias Clausnitzer
Translator: Catherine Winkworth
Source: Berliner Gesangbuch, 1707, st. 4
Place of Origin: Germany
Language: English
Copyright: Public Domain
Liturgical Use: Songs of Illumination


Essentially a prayer asking for illumination by the Holy Spirit as the Christian community gathers around the Lord's Word, "Blessed Jesus" is a pre-sermon hymn by Tobias Clausnitzer (b. Thum, Saxony, Germany, 1619; d. Weiden, Upper Palatine, Germany, 1684). It was first published in the Altdorffisches Gesang-Buchlein (1663) and first attributed to Clausnitzer in the Nüremberg, Germany, Gesangbuch (1676). Catherine Winkworth (PHH 194) translated the text and published it in English in her Lyra Germanica (2nd series, 1858).

Clausnitzer graduated from the University of Leipzig and became a chaplain in the Swedish army. He preached two sermons at memorable occasions: when Queen Christina ascended the Swedish throne in 1645 and when the Peace of Westphalia, which ended the Thirty Years War, was celebrated in 1648. Clausnitzer became a pastor in Weiden in 1648, where he remained until his death. In addition to "Blessed Jesus, at Your Word," his creedal hymn, “We Believe in One True God,” is found in many modern hymnals.

Liturgical Use:
As a sung prayer for illumination prior to the reading or preaching of the Word.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook



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