You can listen to the devotion here.
In the Name of the Father, and (+) of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
1 Corinthians 15:54-57
54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
55 “O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Devotion Based on the Hymn At the Lamb’s High Feast We Sing 633
1 At the Lamb's high feast we sing
Praise to our victorious King,
Who has washed us in the tide
Flowing from His piercèd side.
2 Praise we Him, whose love divine
Gives His sacred blood for wine,
Gives His Body for the feast--
Christ the victim, Christ the priest.
3 Where the paschal blood is poured,
Death's dread angel sheathes the sword;
Israel's hosts triumphant go
Through the wave that drowns the foe.
4 Praise we Christ, whose blood was shed,
Paschal victim, paschal bread;
With sincerity and love
Eat we manna from above.
5 Mighty Victim from the sky,
Hell's fierce pow'rs beneath You lie;
You have conquered in the fight,
You have brought us life and light.
6 Now no more can death appall,
Now no more the grave enthrall;
You have opened paradise,
And Your saints in You shall rise.
7 Easter triumph, Easter joy!
This alone can sin destroy;
From sin's pow'r, Lord, set us free,
Newborn souls in You to be.
8 Father, who the crown shall give,
Savior, by whose death we live,
Spirit, guide through all our days;
Three in One, Your name we praise.
You can listen to the hymn here.
I have really missed singing this hymn this Easter season. It is one of my favorite hymns to sing (and hear sung) during Easter. It is so full of joy and excitement over the heavenly feast of the Lord’s Supper, and it is rich in Biblical imagery and theology. I read about 5 stanzas to the confirmation class on Thursday and thought, that should be the next hymn for our devotions.
The hymn commentary for today comes from Pastor Richard Serina Jr. as found in the Lutheran Service Book Companion to the Hymns Volume 1.
This hymn reflects the ancient Christian observance of the catechumenate. After a period of catechesis(teaching), converts joined the Church in the waning darkness of Easter dawn. Following Baptism, the neophytes were clothed with clean white garments, representing their new found righteousness in Christ, and were ushered in the earliest hours of the morning assembly of believers to receive the Eucharist.
The hymn begins by calling attention to the One who presides at His table: it is the Lamb’s high feast, His royal banquet, His supper table, His body and blood given with bread and wine, so it is to Him that the Church offers her praises. The baptismal nature of this hymn appears in stanza 1: by referring to our victorious King as the one “who has washed us in the tide flowing from His pierced side,” the truth is suggested that in the waters of the font, Christ lavishly bestows His blood-bought salvation purchased on the cross.
The second stanza continues the eucharistic theme as Christ, who has washed His Church with His blood, now grants the Church that same blood in the sacramental wine and His own body in the sacramental bread. Christ is characterized as both victim and priest: a victim upon the cross for sins (Isaiah 53:4-9) and a priest offering Himself to the Father in place of sinners (Hebrews 4:14). This victim and priest now stands as host at His own table (1 Corinthians 11:23-25).
Stanza 3 calls to mind the Passover of Israel and her rescue from death through the blood of a slain animal, a foreshadowing of the Passover sacrifice of our Easter Lamb, Jesus Christ; the power of His shed blood to cover sin is available to all who are washed in His name at the font. Death passes over them as it did the firstborn males of Israel, and they pass through those waters of Holy Baptism as Israel did through the Red Sea, with the foes of sin, death, and the devil drowned therein. Like the early catechumens, then, the Church returns to the table in stanza 4, offering her praises to the Christ who gives true manna from above in His true flesh present in the Sacrament.
The next three stanzas locate this hymn in the Church’s Easter worship. The mighty Victim from the sky, the Son of God incarnate, now treads over hell’s fierce powers. On account of Jesus’ resurrection, no longer can death appall or the grave enthrall, for the baptized die in the expectation that they shall rise. Stanza 7 returns to the catechumenate, where not just the neophytes but all the Christians are “newborn souls” through the Easter victory of Jesus, which alone can destroy sin. A doxology closes the hymn.
My Lord Christ, I have fallen and would like to be strong. And for this reason, You instituted this Sacrament, that by it we might kindle and strengthen our faith and so be helped. Therefore I desire and intend to receive it. Lord, behold there is the Word; here is my deficiency and sickness. And You Yourself said, “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened; I will refresh you.” Therefore I will come and allow myself to be helped. Amen. (Luther as found in the Lutheran Prayer Companion #310.)
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