Choral An Invocation: Blessed Jesus, at Your Word SATB with handbells, tenor cantor | 3.5 min | Listen When I meet Johann Rudolph Ahle (1625-1673) in heaven, I hope he will have forgiven me for finding his melody for “Blessed Jesus, at Your Word” wanting, possessing all the melodic charm of a doughty, dreary, doorbell chime. If you have loved this hymn, perhaps you will find my innovation unnecessary. But this is a hymn I had always avoided– until one day when I stumbled upon it in an old hymnal and read the fervent, impassioned words penned in 1663 by Saxony Pastor Tobias Clausnitzer (1619-1684). I believe that the 1671 marriage to Ahle’s melody was one of convenience, as his tune had already been attached to several other texts before. In 1885 Clausnitzer’s poem was brought to brilliant light for all English-speaking Christians by the gifted Catherine Winkworth, the foremost 19th-century translator of German hymns: Blessed Jesus, at your word we are gathered all to hear you. Let our hearts and souls be stirred now to seek and love and fear you. By your gospel pure and holy, teach us, Lord, to love you solely. All our knowledge, sense, and sight lie in deepest darkness shrouded, till your Spirit breaks our night with your beams of truth unclouded. You alone to God can win us; you must work all good within us. Glorious Lord, yourself impart; Light of Light, from God proceeding, open lips and ears and heart; help us by your Spirit’s leading. Hear the cry your church now raises; Lord, accept our prayers and praises. In this SATB setting I have reiterated “Blessed Jesus, at your word, we are gathered all to hear you,” at the end of each verse. Spare handbells evoke a stillness, a centered call to worship.