Lord, Enthroned in Heavenly Splendor - LSB 534

This is a hymn of praise to Christ, the Paschal Lamb who cleansed our souls from every stain by His death on the cross and resurrection on the third day. The author is George H. Bourne (1840-1925), an Anglican priest. The powerful tune, BRYN CALFARIA, is by William Owen (1813-1893), a Welsh composer.

Stanza One:

Lord, enthroned in heavenly splendor, First-begotten from the dead, You alone, our strong defender, Lifting up Your people’s head. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia! Jesus, true and living bread! Jesus, true and living bread!

Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again! This is the hope we have as Christians, that because Christ died for us, rose for us, and ascended into Heaven for us, we know that His Word is true. He said He will come again and we can be absolutely sure of that. But he has not left us without hope, but has given us His Holy Spirit as a guarantee, and even feeds us with His very Body and Blood each and every Lord’s Day. So He has lifted up our heads in joy and anticipation as we wait for that great and glorious Day of His return.

Stanza Two:

Though the lowliest form now veil You As of old in Bethlehem, here as there Your angels hail You, Branch and flower of Jesse’s stem. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia! We in worship join with them; We in worship join with them.

We often think of Christmas as a wonderful, idyllic scene, which it is on the surface. If we go deeper, we see the great depths of humiliation that Christ undertook as He condescended to be born as one of us, a mere human. He humbled Himself to take on our human flesh so that sinful humanity could be redeemed. This all began with our Lord being conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. God becoming human is no small thing, but is a monumental event in the history of universe.

Stanza Three:

Paschal Lamb, Your offering, finished Once for all when You were slain, In its fullness undiminished Shall forevermore remain, Alleluia, allleluia, alleluia! Cleansing souls from evey stain; Cleansing souls from every stain.

What Christ began at His incarnation He completed by His death and resurrection. He is the ultimate fulfillment of the Old Testament sacrificial system, the true Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. His once for all death has destroyed death so that it can no longer hold us. We have been cleansed by His shed blood so we will stand before the Father on the Last Day without fear or shame.

Stanza Four:

Life-imparting heavenly manna, Stricken rock with streaming side, Heaven and earth with loud hosanna Worship You, the Lamb who died, Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia! Risen, ascended, glorified! Risen, ascended, glorified.

Just as God provided manna and water to His people Israel in the wilderness, Christ feeds His Church, the new Israel, with the heavenly food of His Body and His Blood. We do not have to ask, “Manna? (what is is?)” as the OT Israelites did, for we know exactly what He gives us: Himself. This food is the medicine of immortality and so we worship our crucified, risen, and ascended Lord, who sits in glory at the right hand of the Father, interceding for us. Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.