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Jesus, Star of Awe and Joy


I found this hymn by Erdmann Neumeister on Gesangbuch.org.  I thought there were no English translations of it, but after spending hours trying to rework it in English, I found that there is an older translation.  But I thought it was boring, like most English translations of Germany hymns.

Underneath the German are my first two stanzas, which are a free rendering, particularly in the second stanza.  This is still a work in progress since I have rewritten these two stanzas about 7 million times.  I’m not necessarily interested in reproducing the German faithfully, since I really can’t read German. I’m more interested in having something in English that is worth singing. 

Every time I see English language Lutheran hymns, I always think that there could be better ones.  When you actually try to write one, then you start appreciating the work others have done a little more.  I can spend hours on a couple of lines, and what I’m left with at the end isn’t all that impressive and doesn’t reflect the amount of struggle to choose the proper words.

At any rate, may God grant English speaking Lutherans some hymnwriters that approach in English what men like Neumeister accomplished in German to the glory of God and the blessing of the church. 

Jesu, großer Wunderstern
E. Neumeister, 1671-1756

Jesu, großer Wunderstern,
Der aus Jakob ist erschienen,
Meine Seele will so gern
Dir an deinem Feste dienen.
Nimm doch, nimm doch gnädig an,
Was ich Armer schenken kann.

2. Nimm das gold des Glaubens hin;
Wie ichs von dir selber habe
Und damit beschenket bin,
So ist dirs die liebste Gabe.
Laß es auch bewährt und rein
In dem Kreuzesofen sein.

3. Nimm den Weihrauch des Gebets,
Laß ihn gnädig dir genügen;
Herz und Lippen sollen stets,
Ihn zu opfern, vor dir liegen.
Wann ich bete, nimm es auf,
Und sprich Ja und Amen drauf.

4. Nimm die Myrrhen bittrer Reu;
Ach mich schmerzet meine Sünde,
Aber du bist fromm und treu,
Daß ich Trost und Gnade finde
Und nun fröhlich sprechen kann:
Jesus nimmt mein Opfer an.

Jesus, star of awe and joy

Ris’n in Jacob, I observe you

On this Your unveiling-day;

My soul cries out, Christ, to serve You.

In Your grace, receive, receive

What gifts I, a beggar, give.

 

Take the gold of faith in You

As I first from You received it—

That Your priceless, streaming blood

Purchased me—Your favorite present!

Try it, make it pure from dross

In the furnace of the cross.

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