"O Morning Star, just how Fair and also Bright"Philipp Nicolai; trans. Catherine WinkworthThe joined Methodist Hymnal, No. 247

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Philipp Nicolai

O Morning Star, exactly how fair and also brightthou beamest soon in truth and also light,O can be fried meek and also lowly!Thou root of Jesse, David’s Son,my Lord and Master, thou hast wonmy heart to offer thee solely!Thou art holy,fair and also glorious,rich in blessing,rule and might o’er all possessing. “O Morning Star how Fair and also Bright” was initially written through Philipp Nicolai (1556-1608) and translated into English by Catherine Winkworth (1827-1878). In 2008, we celebrated the 400th anniversary that the author’s death.Nicolai was born top top Aug. 10, 1566, in ~ Mengeringhausen in Waldeck, Germany. He learned theology native 1575 to 1579 at the university of Erfurt and Wittenberg, and also earned a doctorate in great in 1594 indigenous Wittenberg University. He climate returned residence where he assisted his father together a preacher for 4 years.Nicolai was then appointed as the Lutheran pastor at Herdecke. Two years later, he became the head minister in Waldeck because that Countess Margaretha, and additionally tutored her son, Wilhelm Ernst. While in this place he ran right into opposition indigenous the Calvinists. Nicolai offered the Formula the Concord (1577) in his defense that Lutheran practices.His following appointment remained in Unna in Westphalia, start in 1596. Throughout his appointment, the city fell to the black Plague. According to biographer and hymn translator Catherine Winkworth, the city lost more than 1,400 people.At this suggest in his life, Nicolai turned come the teachings that St. Augustine and also the “contemplation of eternal life,” according to Winkworth. Here Nicolai created his acclaimed Frewden-Spiegel dess ewigen Lebens (1599) or “The Joyous winter of Life Eternal,” where our chant was first published.In the preface, Nicolai claims that he would desire God “to leave behind me (if God should call me from this world) as a token of mine peaceful, joyful, Christian departure, or (if God should spare me in health) to lull sufferers whom he should likewise visit with the pestilence.”Later, Nicolai was forced out that his place by the Spanish and in 1598 was appointed come St. Katherine’s in Hamburg, was by much his most influential appointment. He would certainly serve the rest of his years in Hamburg, wherein he passed away in 1608 indigenous a fever. ~ above his death, that was related to in Hamburg together a “second Chrysostom”—a recommendation to john Chrysostom, the fourth-century archbishop of Constantinople and an influential early church father.One the Nicolai’s an initial great advocates was Winkworth, who much more than any kind of other lugged the German chorale heritage to England. In 1856 she published Lyra Germanica, which had 103 translations that German Hymns gathered indigenous an 1833 collection, Versuch eines allgemein Gesang-und Gebetbuchs, compiled through Christian knife Josias Freiherr von Bunsen (1791-1860). The success that this first volume would lead to the publishing of a second volume containing 123 translations, and spurred Winkworth to publish other publications on the subject.“O Morning Star exactly how Fair and Bright” is sometimes referred to as the “Queen that Chorales,” the “King that Chorales” being Nicolai’s “Wake, Awake, because that Night is Flying” (UM Hymnal, 720).The hymn is based on many various biblical texts including Revelation 21:16, “I am the root and also offspring of David, the bright and morning star.” various other names because that Christ appear throughout the hymn: Sovereign, source of Jesse, David’s Son, Lord, Master, heavenly Brightness, Love Divine, and Crown the Gladness.Though in Germany the chant was provided for many years in weddings and funerals, the often shows up today in the Epiphany part of hymnals since of the imagery of light in the text. The trip of the Magi who complied with the star is among the significant biblical themes of Epiphany.


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Nick LaRocca is a college student of Dr. Michael Hawn’s in the understand of sacred music regimen at Perkins institution of Theology.