Our first and last Tuesdays of Lent will be spent in song. That’s right, you can still sing during Lent, and not just dirges. The origins of today’s hymn are German, most likely from the 17th Century.
The words of the hymn are a praise to Jesus Christ the Son of God. And this praise comes in the form of a contemplation on the beauty of creation. How beautiful is the created world, and how beautiful is the One who stands behind it!
As the Gospel of John opens, speaking of Christ: In the beginning was the Word (John 1:1). We’ve seen this Word already, in the first creation story where God speaks creation into being (Genesis 1:3). Christ is considered to be present in the creation of the world as the Word of God. The spoken word, creation’s song.
And so today we echo God in song.
As you continue, first read through the lyrics once, slowly, noting the imagery of creation throughout. Take a moment in prayer to listen for God. Then, listen and, yes, even sing along! Let your voice praise Christ who stand behind all creation. You can go even deeper with the Questions & Actions below.
Hymn: Fairest Lord Jesus
1 Fairest Lord Jesus,
ruler of all nature,
O thou of God and man the Son,
Thee will I cherish,
Thee will I honor,
thou, my soul’s glory, joy, and crown.
2 Fair are the meadows,
fairer still the woodlands,
robed in the blooming garb of spring:
Jesus is fairer,
Jesus is purer
who makes the woeful heart to sing.
3 Fair is the sunshine,
fairer still the moonlight,
and all the twinkling starry host:
Jesus shines brighter,
Jesus shines purer
than all the angels heaven can boast.
4 Beautiful Savior!
Lord of all the nations!
Son of God and Son of Man!
Glory and honor,
now and forevermore be thine.
Note that this arrangement adds a refrain: Oh, oh, oh, you’re beautiful, you’re beautiful. Oh, oh, oh, the fairest one of all creation. Oh, oh, oh, there is none more beautiful than you.
Questions & Action
- What does it mean that Jesus is ruler of all nature? Do we live our lives as if this is true? Why or why not?
- Do you see God when you contemplate on nature? When you look closely and lovingly at it? If so, what was a specific time you saw God through creation?
- What images came to mind as you read through the lyrics? Are there particular places (meadows, woodlands), particular times (star gazing, sun bathing) that came to mind? Why were these moments significant for you?
- If you haven’t already actually sung the song, now’s the time (or if you really can’t now, make time today to sing, or at least say out loud, these words of praise).
- If you’re musical, perhaps you want to accompany yourself, or play along to the track we’ve linked to.
- Read (perhaps again) the first chapter of Genesis paying careful attention to what is said. Then read John 1:1-5. What do you notice? What strikes you? Offer a prayer to close your time.