- Written by Nelly Sanford Nelly Sanford
- Created: January 07 2015 January 07 2015
Saint John’s new hymn for the Epiphany Season will be “Jesus Has Come and Brings Pleasure Eternal.” The tune is sometimes known as “Cothen”, though our hymnal simply names it for this hymn, “Jesus Ist Kommen, Grund Ewiger Freude.”
The author of the hymn is Johann Ludwig Conrad Allendorf, who was born February 9, 1693, in Josbach in the province of Hesse, Germany. His father was a pastor in the small village. Johann went to the University of Giessen in 1711 and two years later studied under Francke, a German Lutheran clergyman and biblical scholar of the time. Johann was a tutor for Count Promnitz’s children at Sorau and was appointed Lutheran Court Preacher at Cothen when the Count’s daughter needed his services to marry a prince. When his services as a reformed preacher were no longer needed, Allendorf moved on to be an assistant in two churches in Wornigerode. In 1755 he became pastor at the Liebfrau Church and remained there until his death in 1773.
Pastor Allendorf wrote 45 hymns, most of which are still used primarily in German-speaking churches. His contributions are described as “hymns of love to Christ, the Lamb of God, and the Bridegroom of the believing Soul.”1 He penned this hymn while pastor at St. Ulrich’s Church in Halle. The words come from the following Bible passages:
- Luke 1:68-79: Zechariah’s song in the temple after seeing the Christ child.
- 1 John 1:1-2: “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.”
- Isaiah 12: This song of praise and joy ends with the phrase, “Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel among you.”
The tune we use for this hymn is “Cothen” (sometimes spelled Kothen), which appears to have been named for the city where Allendorf first became a minister. This area is in Saxony-Anhalt, in the east central part of Germany. The original copyright for the tune is dated 1773, the year of Allendorf’s death, though it's now well into the public domain.
In America, this hymn is only in two hymnals, including that of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. The hymn was in the Epiphany section of the blue Lutheran Worship hymnal. In the newer Lutheran Service Book, it is placed in the section “Redeemer”, thus encouraging congregations to use it throughout the church year. We will be learning this hymn through the remainder of our Epiphany season. We hope to also utilize it at other times as well, as we anticipate that many of you will be requesting it frequently! “Jesus Has Come and Brings Pleasure Eternal” is a classically beautiful hymn of praise and joy. Our worship will benefit, as will your hearts, from meditation on the words.
Enjoy more information about new hymns or the hymns you already love as we explore the Lutheran hymnody. Use this month’s hymn in your devotions and get to know the tune. We’ll be singing it a few times in worship over the next month or so and adding it to our growing congregational repertoire! Information for this article came from www.hymnary.org.