The title of this blog comes from a hymn by the great Danish Lutheran hymn writer, Nikolai Grundtvig. Two stanzas are posted on the header, and the whole hymn is below (in a slightly different translation than I’ve used above). The quaint town of Solvang, CA, owes its existence to him, indirectly. The Danish original is Kirken den er et gammelt hus.
Built on the Rock the church doth stand,
Even when steeples are falling;
Crumbled have spires in every land,
Bells still are chiming and calling;
Calling the young and old to rest,
But above all the soul distressed,
Longing for rest everlasting.
Surely in temples made with hands,
God, the Most High, is not dwelling;
High above earth His temple stands,
All earthly temples excelling;
Yet He whom heavens cannot contain
Chose to abide on earth with men,
Built in our bodies His temple.
We are God’s house of living stones,
Builded for His habitation;
He through baptismal grace us owns,
Heirs of His wondrous salvation;
Were we but two His Name to tell,
Yet He would deign with us to dwell,
With all His grace and His favor.
Now we may gather with our King;
Even in the lowliest dwelling:
Praises to Him we there may bring,
His wondrous mercy foretelling;
Jesus His grace to us accords,
Spirit and life are all His words,
His truth doth hallow the temple.
Still we our earthly temples rear,
That we may herald His praises;
They are the homes where He draws near
And little children embraces,
Beautiful things in them are said,
God there with us His covenant made,
Making us heirs of His Kingdom.
Here stands the font before our eyes
Telling how God did receive us;
The altar recalls Christ’s sacrifice
And what His table doth give us;
Here sounds the Word that doth proclaim
Christ yesterday, today, the same,
Yea, and for aye our Redeemer.
Grant then, O God, wherever men roam,
That, when the church bells are ringing,
Many in saving faith may come
Where Christ His message is bringing:
“I know Mine own, Mine own know Me;
Ye, not the world, My face shall see.
My peace I leave with you.”