We Give Thee Thanks, Lord Jesus Christ

Tune: Erschienen ist

  1. We give Thee thanks, Lord Jesus Christ,
    Ascended now above the skies.
    O God of strength, Immanuel,
    Grant strength to body, strength to soul.

  2. Now all His Christians can rejoice
    And sing His praise with cheerful voice:
    Glory to God in heav’n’s high throne,
    Our Brother is God’s only Son.

  3. Ascended to His throne on high,
    Hid from our sight, yet always nigh,
    As God and man He ever reigns
    And infinite in pow’r remains.

  4. Above all heav’ns in glory raised,
    Above all angels ever praised,
    Above all men now rules our Lord,
    All creatures must obey His word.

  5. He rules and reigns at God’s right hand
    And has all pow’r at His command,
    All things are subject to His rod—
    Both Mary’s Son and Son of God.

  6. The world, sin, Satan, death, and hell
    Are vanquished by Immanuel.
    Though they deny His mighty reign,
    He still the Victor will remain.

  7. The man who trusts in Him is blest
    And finds in Him eternal rest;
    This world’s allurements we despise
    And fix on Christ alone our eyes.

  8. We trust in Him, our Lord and God,
    Who hath redeemed us by His blood;
    He captive led captivity,
    From bitter death to set us free.

  9. We therefore heartily rejoice
    And sing His praise with cheerful voice:
    Our Brother, our own flesh and blood,
    Is God and King, our highest Good.

  10. Through Him we heirs of heav’n are made;
    O Brother, Christ, extend Thine aid
    That we may firmly trust in Thee
    And live through Thee eternally.

  11. Amen, Amen, O Lord, we cry;
    Do Thou, who art exalted high,
    In Thy pure doctrine keep our hearts
    And shield us from the devil’s arts.

  12. Come, Jesus, come, the time is near,
    Let Thy last judgment soon appear;
    Forth lead us from this vale of tears
    Unto Thy joy of endless years.

  13. Amen! we sing yet once again,
    And wait with longing for the end,
    When with Thine angels we shall be
    And sing Amen eternally.

Wir danken dir, Herr Jesu Christ
Attr. Nicolaus Selnecker, 1587
Tr. composite
Source: Sts. 2–11, Evangelical Lutheran Hymn-Book, 1927, No. 239, alt.
Sts. 1, 12–13, Christopher J. Neuendorf, 2015

German Text

Tune: Erschienen ist

  1. Wir danken dir, Herr Jesu Christ,
    Daß du gen Himmel g’fahren bist.
    O starker Gott, Immanuel,
    Stärk uns an Leib, stärk uns an Seel.

  2. Nun freut sich alle Christenheit
    Und singt und springt ohn alles Leid:
    Gott Lob und Dank im höchsten Thron,
    Unser Bruder ist Gottes Sohn.

  3. Gen himmel ist gefahren hoch,
    Und ist doch allzeit bei uns noch;
    Sein Macht und G’walt unendlich ist,
    Wahr Gott und Mensch zu aller Frist.

  4. Ueber all Himmel hoch erhebt,
    Ueber all Engel mächtig schwebt,
    Ueber all Menschen er regiert
    Und alle Kreaturen führt.

  5. Zur rechten Gotts des Vaters groß
    Hat er all Macht ohn alle Maß;
    All Ding sind ihm ganz untertan,
    Gottes und der Marien Sohn.

  6. All Teufel, Welt, Sünd, Höll und Tod,
    Er alles überwunden hat;
    Trotz, wer da will, es liegt nichts dran,
    Den Sieg muß er doch allzeit han.

  7. Wohl dem, der ihm vertrauen tut,
    Und hat zu ihm ein frischen Mut.
    Welt, wie du willt, wer fragt nach dir?
    Nach Christo steht unsre Begier.

  8. Er ist der Herr und unser Trost,
    Der uns durch sein Blut hat erlöst;
    Das G’fängniß er gefangen hat,
    Daß uns nicht schad der bittre Tod.

  9. Wir freuen uns aus Herzensgrund,
    Und singen fröhlich mit dem Mund:
    Unser Bruder, Fleisch, Bein und Blut,
    Ist unser allerhöchstes Gut.

  10. Durch ihn der Himmel unser ist;
    Hilf uns, o Bruder Jesu Christ,
    Daß wir nur fest vertraun auf dich,
    Und durch dich leben ewiglich.

  11. Amen, Amen, Herr Jesu Christ,
    Der du gen Himmel g’fahren bist.
    Behalt uns, Herr, bei reiner Lehr,
    Des Teufels Trug und Listen wehr.

  12. Komm, lieber Herr, komm, es ist Zeit
    Zum letzten G’richt in Herrlichkeit;
    Führ’ uns aus diesem Jammertal
    In den ewigen Freudensal.

  13. Amen! singen wir noch einmal
    Und sehnen uns ins Himmels Sal,
    Da wir mit deinen Engelein
    Das Amen wollen singen fein.

Attr. Nicolaus Selnecker, 1587
Source: C.F.W. Walther’s Kirchen-Gesangbuch, 1898 printing, No. 123

Though it is frequently attributed to Nicolaus Selnecker, the authorship of the Ascension hymn “We Give Thee Thanks, Lord Jesus Christ (Wir danken dir, Herr Jesu Christ)” in its full 13-stanza form is uncertain. A shorter, 4-stanza original, which is indeed by Selnecker, appeared in his Christliche Psalmen, Leipzig, 1587, p. 405. The earliest extant appearance of the expanded version is in Michael Praetorius’s Musae Sioniae, Vol. 5, 1608, No. 145, where it is joined to what would become its standard tune, “Erschienen ist.”

This text gives the appearance of being in part a polemic against a Calvinist understanding of the Ascension. The third stanza, “Ascended to His throne on high, / Hid from our sight, yet always nigh, / As God and man He ever reigns / And infinite in pow’r remains,” leaves no room for the “extra Calvinisticum.” Even according to His human nature, the Man Jesus Christ is “always nigh” and reigns “as God and man … infinite in pow’r,” the finite in Christ being capable of the infinite.

A full translation by Matthias Loy, “We Thank Thee, Jesus, Dearest Friend,” appeared in the Ohio Evangelical Lutheran Hymnal, 1880, No. 96. The first 11 stanzas appear with alterations in the Evangelical Lutheran Hymn-Book, No. 239. A select 5 stanzas are found in The Lutheran Hymnal, No. 223. For the Free Lutheran Chorale-Book, stanzas 1 and 12–13 have been retranslated, and the remaining stanzas only slightly altered to reflect the poetry of the original German. This text may be freely used and reproduced for any purpose whatever.