Lord Jesus Christ, my Life, my Light

Representative Text

1 Lord Jesus Christ, my Life, my Light,
My Strength by day, my Trust by night,
On earth I'm but a passing guest
And sorely by my sins oppressed.

2 Far off I see my fatherland,
Where through Thy blood I hope to stand.
But ere I reach that Paradise
A weary way before me lies.

3 My heart sinks at the journey's length,
My wasted flesh has little strength;
My soul alone still cries in me;
"Lord, fetch me home, take me to Thee!"

4 Oh let Thy suff'rings give me pow'r
To meet the last and darkest hour!
Thy blood refresh and comfort me;
Thy bonds and fetters make me free.

5 The blows and stripes that fell on Thee
Heal up the wounds of sin in me;
Thy crown of thorns, Thy foes' mad spite,
Let be my glory and delight.

6 That thirst and bitter draught of Thine
Cause me to bear with patience mine;
Thy piercing cry uphold my soul
When floods of anguish o'er me roll!

7 Thy Spirit cry within me still
When here my lips grow white and chill,
And help my soul Thy heav'n to find
When these poor eyes grow dark and blind!

8 Thy dying words let be my light
When death approaches as dark night;
Defend me in my dying breath
When then I bow my head in death.

9 Thy cross let be my staff in life,
Thy holy grave my rest from strife;
The winding sheet that covered Thee,
O let it be a shroud for me.

10 Lord, in Thy nail prints let me read
That Thou to save me hast decreed
And grant that in Thine opened side
My troubled soul may ever hide.

11 Since Thou hast died, the Pure, the Just,
I take my homeward way in trust.
The gates of heav'n, Lord, open wide
When here I may no more abide.

12 And when the last Great Day shall come
And Thou, our Judge, shalt speak the doom,
Let me with joy behold the light
And set me then upon Thy right.

13 Renew this wasted flesh of mine
That like the sun it there may shine
Among the angels pure and bright,
Yea, like Thyself in glorious light.

14 Ah, then shall I most joyful be
And with the angels sing to Thee
And with Thy blessed, chosen fold
Fore'er Thy gracious face behold.



Source: Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary #291

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: Martin Behm

Behm, Martin, son of Hans Behm [Bohme, Boehm, Behemb, Behem, Boheim, Bohemus or Bohemius], town-overseer of Lauban in Silesia, was born at Lauban, Sept. 16, 1557. During a protracted famine, 1574, Dr. Paul Fabricius, royal physician at Vienna, a distant kinsman, took him to Vienna, where he acted as a private tutor for two years, and then went to Strassburg, where, from Johann Sturm, Rector of the newly founded University, he received much kindness. Returning home at his mother's request after his father's death, May, 1580, he was, at Easter, 1581, appointed assistant in the Town School, and on Sept. 20, ordained diaconus of the Holy Trinity Church. After his senior had been promoted to Breslau the Town Council kept the post nominally vacan… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: Lord Jesus Christ, my Life, my Light
German Title: O Jesu Christ, mien's Lebens Licht
Translator: Catherine Winkworth
Author: Martin Behm
Meter: 8.8.8.8
Language: English

Notes

O Jesu Christ, meins Lebens Licht. [For the Dying.] His finest hymn. First published in a collection entitled Christliche Gebet, 1610, and then in his Zehen Sterbegebet, appended to his Centuria secunda, 1611 (see above), in 14 stanzas of 4 lines, entitled "Prayer fora happy journey home, founded upon the sufferings of Christ." Thence in Wackernagel, v. p. 235, Noldeke, 1857, p. 79, and the Unverfalschter Liedersegen, 1851, No. 835. The translation in common use are:—
Lord Jesus Christ, my Life, my Light. A very good translations by Miss Winkworth in her Lyra Germanica, 2nd Series, 1858, p. 213, stanzas v., x. being omitted and viii., ix. combined as one stanza. In her Chorale Book for England, 1863, No. 190, she omitted her stanzas v., vi., and united her stanzas iv., vii. as iv. This translations is included more or less abridged in Wilson's Service of Praise, 1865, and in America in the Baptist Hymn Book, Phil, 1871, the Methodist Episcopal Hymnal, 1878/and the Ohio Lutheran Hymnal, 1880, &c.

--Excerpt from John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)

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