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Appreciating Our Lutheran Hymns

Open Now Thy Gates of Beauty

A Hymn for the Opening of the Service

#1 in The Lutheran Hymnal

Above this first of the hymns in our hymnal stands the heading “Adoration,” a category that includes hymns on the subject of worship itself.

Such hymns are useful, especially for opening a worship service, for they teach the importance of worship in the life of the believer. “Open Now Thy Gates of Beauty” expresses the joy of the believer who comes to the house of God to take part in a service of worship of the one true and living God.

There ought to be joy and excitement at coming to church to worship, for there we come into the presence of God. And though we know that we are in God’s presence at all times and in every place, we have the specific promise of His presence as we come together to worship Him. Jesus promises to be present wherever believers gather in His name, to receive their worship and answer their prayers, though they be as few in number as two or three.

We are redeemed children of God through Jesus Christ who have the privilege of coming before God because we have been cleansed of our sins. To be conscious of being in His presence–enjoying fellowship with Him–is to have a foretaste of eternal life where we will see God face to face.

So we can say even now: “Where we find Thee and adore Thee, There a heav’n on earth must be.”

The center of our worship is the Gospel in Word and sacrament. When we come together for worship we come saying: “Speak, O God, and I will hear Thee.” He does speak to us in His Word–which is preached in the liturgy, the Scripture lessons, and the sermon.

Also as we receive the bread and wine in Holy Communion, we hear the words of Jesus which tell us that we are receiving His own body and blood, given and shed for the remission of our sins.

The Gospel that we hear in church is life-giving bread and water, giving us forgiveness of sins and eternal life. The Word in the service also strengthens us against temptations and gives us comfort for the trials of life.

“Here of life the fountain flows, Here is balm for all our woes.”

–Pastor John Klatt