1877-1970

November 8, 1877, Moberg, Denmark.

June 22, 1970, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Sunset Memorial Park, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Aaberg emigrated to America in 1901 and went to the small, close-knit Danish-American community in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to join his brother, who was then studying for the ministry at Augsburg College and Seminary. After attending St. Ansgar’s College, and Grand View College and Seminary in Des Moines, Iowa (1904-08), he was ordained in the Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. He pastored in Marinette, Wisconsin; St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, Dwight, Illinois (1912-26); and St. Peder’s Lutheran Church, Minneapolis. Until retiring in 1946, Aaberg continued to serve as pastor of St. Peder’s. Over the years he held various offices throughout the Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and for years after his retirement served a series of congregations around the country as an interim pastor. In 1947 he was honored with the Knight Cross of Denmark from King Frederick for service to Danish-Americans.

Aaberg translated numerous hymns and songs from Danish to English, and served on committees which compiled several Lutheran hymnals. He began translating hymns in earnest after an incident that occurred while he was in Marinette. A Lutheran bishop from Denmark attended church there one Sunday on a trip to America. In honor of his visit, the Marinette congregation held a special festival worship service. After the service, Aaberg asked the bishop what he thought of the service this little congregation had just held. The bishop replied, It was so wonderful. It reminded me of the way church services were in Denmark 50 years ago. That comment, meant as a compliment, stirred Aaberg. He concluded that to be vital and living Christian congregations, the Danish-American Lutheran Church must begin to use the language of America, English. Staying strictly with Danish, he believed, the church would become an ever more isolated backwater of nostalgia for the past. He began the work of creating and publishing translations. A hymn translation committee was formed, consisting of Aaberg and three other like-minded pastors. They met some opposition and unhappiness toward their translating work. Some within the church felt that by translating these hymns to English, the translators were hastening the day when the Danish Lutheran traditions would be lost. But the work went forward, through the years between the World Wars, until most of the treasured hymns had been translated to English.

Aaberg’s works include:

  1. Abide with Me, My Savior Blest
  2. Arise, My Soul, This Easter Morn
  3. Be Welcome Again, God’s Angels Bright
  4. Behold the Mighty, White Robed Hand
  5. Blessed Were the Eyes That Truly
  6. Brothers and Sisters, We Now Must Depart
  7. Children, Come with Joy and Praise
  8. Christians, Rise, Put on Your Armor
  9. Christians, Who with Sorrow
  10. Christmas with Gladness Sounds
  11. Come, Zion, and Sing to the Father Above
  12. Day Is Breaking, Night Is Ended
  13. Deep and Precious
  14. Fair Beyond Telling, Lord
  15. Gloomy Night to Morning Yields, The
  16. God’s Little Child, What Troubles Thee?
  17. Hail Thee, Savior and Atoner
  18. Hallowed Church Bell, Not for Earthly Centers
  19. Hast to the Plough Thou Put Thy Hand?
  20. Holy Ghost, Who Intercedest
  21. Holy Spirit, Still Our Sorrow
  22. I Am a Tiller of the Soil
  23. I Come Invited by Thy Word
  24. In Herod’s Prison John Repined
  25. It’s Said That Life Is with Danger Fraught
  26. Jesus, Life and Way to Heaven
  27. Jesus, Name of Wondrous Grace
  28. Jesus, the Name Without Compare
  29. Jesus, to Destroy Our Foe
  30. Lift Up Thy Head, O Christendom
  31. Like Dew upon the Meadow
  32. Lord, I Wish to Be Thy Servant
  33. Love from God, Our Lord
  34. Most Wondrous Is of All on Earth
  35. My Heart, O Holy Spirit
  36. My Heart Remains in Wonder
  37. Narrow Way Is Wide Enough to Heaven, The
  38. Now Found Is the Fairest of Roses
  39. O Could I Rest in Mary’s Place
  40. O Dearest Lord, Receive from Me
  41. O Jesus, in My Heart Instilled
  42. O Thou Blest Immanuel
  43. O Wondrous Kingdom Here on Earth
  44. Our Father Has Light in His Window
  45. Peace of God Defends the Heart, The
  46. Praise the Lord That He Has Built
  47. Proclaim, My Soul, That Jesus Dies
  48. Rise, O Church of Jesus
  49. Savior, Whither Should We Go?
  50. Softly Now the Day Is Ending
  51. Suffer and Languish, Tremble in Anguish
  52. Sun Is Rising in the East, The
  53. There Is Blessed Power
  54. This Happy Christmastide
  55. This Is the Day That Our Father Hath Given
  56. This Is the Day Which the Lord Hath Us Given
  57. Undismayed Whatever Fortune
  58. We Publish the Greatest of Tiding Abroad
  59. Were All My Members Praising
  60. What Vessel Is That Passing?
  61. With Her Cruse of Alabaster
  1. Arise, All Things That God Hath Made
  2. Babe Is Born in Bethlehem, A
  3. Bright and Glorious Is the Sky
  4. Built on a Rock the Church of God
  5. By Faith We Are Divinely Sure
  6. Childhood Days of Joy and Gladness
  7. Day of Pentecost Draws Nigh, The
  8. Dost Thou Know the Living Fountain?
  9. Ever Trouble Walks Beside Me
  10. Fair Is Creation
  11. Faith That Christ Embraces, The
  12. Founded Our Lord Has upon Earth
  13. Here Come Thy Little Ones, O Lord
  14. Holy Spirit, Come with Light
  15. I Walk in Danger Everywhere
  16. Like the Golden Sun Ascending
  17. Lo, the Sun Is Rising Out of the Sea
  18. Lord Jesus Christ, My Savior Blest
  19. Lord Jesus Christ, Receive Me Now
  20. Most Wonderful of All Things
  21. My Heart in Thee
  22. O Holy Ghost, My Spirit
  23. O Let Thy Spirit with Us Tarry
  24. O Lord, My Heart Is Turning
  25. Over Kedron Jesus Passes
  26. Pow’r of Sin No Longer
  27. Print Thine Image, Pure and Holy
  28. Splendid Are the Heavens High
  29. That Cause Can Never Be Lost Nor Stayed
  30. Thee Will I Love, My Strength, My Treasure
  31. Vain World, Now Farewell
  32. Vanish Now All Sinful Dreaming
  33. Whoso Believes and Is Baptized
  34. With Gladness We Hail the Blessed Day

where to get a better photo of Aaberg