Today is the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels, (also known as Michaelmas), one of those rare “white days” that appear on the church year calendar amid the sea of green that is the Time of the Church. I was surprised to discover that Lutheran Service Book has not one, but three hymns, (#520-522), appropriate for this day. Here are the words to one of them, “Lord God, to Thee We Give All Praise,” the famous angelic hymn by Philipp Melanchthon:
“Lord God, to Thee we give all praise,
With grateful hearts our voices raise,
That angel hosts Thou didst create
Around Thy glorious throne to wait.
They shine with light and heav’nly grace
And constantly behold Thy face;
They heed Thy voice, they know it well,
In godly wisdom they excel.
They never rest nor sleep as we;
Their whole delight is but to be
With Thee, Lord Jesus, and to keep
Thy little flock, Thy lambs and sheep.
The ancient dragon is their foe;
His envy and his wrath they know.
It always is his aim and pride
Thy Christian people to divide.
As he of old deceived the world
And into sin and death has hurled,
So now he subtly lies in wait
To undermine both Church and state.
A roaring lion, round he goes,
No halt nor rest he ever knows;
He seeks the Christians to devour
And slay them by his dreadful pow’r.
But watchful is the angel band
That follows Christ on ev’ry hand
To guard His people where they go
And break the counsel of the foe.
For this, now and in days to be,
Our praise shall rise, O Lord, to Thee,
Whom all the angel hosts adore
With grateful songs forevermore.” Lutheran Service Book #522