Christian witness is thin and light when the wisdom and experience of other ages and other cultures are ignored.Translators perform the hard and humble task of giving us important words written originally in other languages. Two superstar translators are commemorated by our church today. John Mason Neale 1818-1866 was a scholar of classical languages. He brought ancient and medieval hymns forward for English worshipers to sing. A priest of the Church of England in a time of hostility toward anything Catholic, Neale’s interest in Latin and Greek hymns was not always well received by those around him. Trinity College in Hartford awarded Neale an honorary doctoral degree when his own University of Cambridge would not. When we sing O Come O Come Emmanuel in Advent, as we do every year, we have John Mason Neale to thank. Catherine Winkworth 1827-1878 was born in London and lived most of her life in Manchester. Her 1853 translation of German songs was a best-seller in England. In addition to her translation projects, she worked for recognition of the rights of women in society.
Lord Jesus Christ, be present now;
our hearts in true devotion bow.
Your spirit send with light divine,
and let your truth within us shine. ELW 527 trans by Catherine Winkworth