Christ the Life of all the living

Representative Text

1 Christ, the life of all the living,
Christ, the death of death, our foe,
who, thyself for me once giving
to the darkest depths of woe:
through thy suff'rings, death, and merit
I eternal life inherit.
Thousand, thousand thanks shall be,
dearest Jesus, unto thee.

2 Thou, ah! Thou hast taken on thee
bonds and stripes, a cruel rod;
pain and scorn were heaped upon thee,
0 thou sinless Son of God!
Thus didst thou my soul deliver
from the bonds of sin forever.
Thousand, thousand thanks shall be,
dearest Jesus, unto thee.

3 Thou hast borne the smiting only
that my wounds might all be whole;
thou hast suffered, sad and lonely,
rest to give my weary soul;
yea, the curse of God enduring,
blessing unto me securing.
Thousand, thousand thanks shall be,
dearest Jesus, unto thee.

4 Heartless scoffers did surround thee,
treating thee with cruel scorn,
and with piercing thorns they crowned thee.
All disgrace thou, Lord, hast borne
that as thine thou mightest own me
and with heav'nly glory crown me.
Thousand, thousand thanks shall be,
dearest Jesus, unto thee.

5 Thou hast suffered men to bruise thee
that from pain I might be free;
falsely did thy foes accuse thee:
thence I gain security.
Comfortless thy soul did languish
me to comfort in my anguish.
Thousand, thousand thanks shall be,
dearest Jesus, unto thee.

6 Thou hast suffered great affliction
and hast borne it patiently,
even death by crucifixion,
fully to atone for me.
Thou didst choose to be tormented
that my doom should be prevented.
Thousand, thousand thanks shall be,
dearest Jesus, unto thee.

7 Then, for all that wrought my pardon,
for thy sorrows deep and sore,
for thine anguish in the garden,
I will thank thee evermore,
thank thee for thy groaning, sighing,
for thy bleeding and thy dying,
for that last triumphant cry
and shall praise thee, Lord, on high.

Source: Christian Worship: Hymnal #396

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: Ernst C. Homburg

Ernst C. Homburg (b. Mihla, near Eisenach, Germany, 1605; d. Naumberg, Germany, 1681) wrote most of his hymns for his own devotions. He described this eight-stanza text as a "hymn of thanksgiving to his Redeemer and Savior for his bitter sufferings." In early life, Homburg was a writer of love and drinking songs. After a difficult time of family illness he experienced a religious conversion, and his poetry took a more serious turn. A lawyer by profession, he wrote hymns to express and strengthen his own faith rather than for public use. Some 150 of his hymn texts were published in his Geistliche Lieder. Bert Polman… Go to person page >

Text Information

Notes

Ernst C. Homburg (b. Mihla, near Eisenach, Germany, 1605; d. Naumberg, Germany, 1681) wrote this German chorale text (“Jesu, meines Lebens Leben”), which was published in Part One of his Geistliche Lieder (1658). Homburg, who wrote most of his hymns for his own devotions, described his eight-stanza text as a "hymn of thanksgiving to his Redeemer and Savior for his bitter sufferings." In early life Homburg was a writer of love and drinking songs. After a difficult time of family illness he experienced a religious conversion, and his poetry took a more serious turn. A lawyer by profession, he wrote hymns to express and strengthen his own faith rather than for public use. Some 150 of his hymn texts were published in his Geistliche Lieder.

The translation of selected stanzas is by Catherine Winkworth (PHH 194), who published them in her Chorale Book for England (1863).

The text is a meditation on the suffering and death of Christ, which brought eternal life to believers (st. 1), provided full atonement for our sin (st. 2), and mortified our "old nature" (st. 3). The tone of unending gratitude to God reflected in the refrain line–"thousand, thousand thanks are due"–runs throughout the entire text.

Liturgical Use:
Lent, especially Holy Week; any worship service with a thanksgiving focus.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune

JESU, MEINES LEBENS LEBEN (11756)

The composer of the tune is unknown; it was first published in Das grosse Cantional: oder Kirchen-Gesangbuch (Darmstadt, 1687) to the text "Alle Menschen mussen sterben" by J. G. Albinus; some Baroque organ works are associated with that text. The tune became associated with Homburg's text since the…

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JESU MEINES LEBENS (Wessnitzer)


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Instances

Instances (1 - 11 of 11)
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Christian Worship #114

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Christian Worship #396

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Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary #333

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Evangelical Lutheran Worship #339

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Hymns to the Living God #162

TextFlexscoreAudioPage Scan

Lift Up Your Hearts #137

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Lutheran Service Book #420

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Lutheran Worship #94

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Moravian Book of Worship #334

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Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #371

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The Cyber Hymnal #900

Include 52 pre-1979 instances
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