1877–1970

No­vem­ber 8, 1877, Moberg, Denmark.

June 22, 1970, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Sunset Memorial Park, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

portrait

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 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), Jens was or­dained in the Dan­ish Evan­gel­ic­al Lu­ther­an Church in Am­er­i­ca.

He served pas­tor­ates 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 as pas­tor of St. Pe­der’s.

Over the years he held var­i­ous of­fic­es through­out the Dan­ish Evan­gel­i­cal Lu­ther­an Church, and for years af­ter retir­ing served a ser­ies of con­gre­ga­tions as an in­terim pas­tor.

Aaberg trans­lat­ed num­er­ous hymns and songs from Dan­ish to Eng­lish, and served on com­mit­tees that com­piled sev­er­al Lu­ther­an hym­nals. In 1947, he was hon­ored with the Knight Cross of Den­mark from King Fred­er­ick for ser­vice to Dan­ish-Am­er­i­cans.

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. 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 it. 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, liv­ing con­gre­ga­tions, the Dan­ish-American church must start us­ing 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.

So he began cre­at­ing and pub­lish­ing trans­la­tions. A trans­la­tion com­mit­tee was formed by of Aa­berg and three other like-mind­ed pas­tors. They met some op­po­si­tion and un­hap­pi­ness: Some felt trans­lat­ing hymns to Eng­lish would hast­en the day when 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. Arise, My Soul, This Eas­ter Morn
  3. Babe Is Born in Beth­le­hem, A
  4. Bright and Glo­ri­ous Is the Sky
  5. Built on a Rock the Church of God
  6. By Faith We Are Di­vine­ly Sure
  7. Childhood Days of Joy and Glad­ness
  8. Day of Pen­te­cost Draws Nigh, The
  9. Dost Thou Know the Liv­ing Foun­tain?
  10. Ever Trou­ble Walks Beside Me
  11. Fair Is Cre­a­tion
  12. Faith That Christ Em­brac­es, The
  13. Founded Our Lord Has up­on Earth
  14. Here Come Thy Lit­tle Ones, O Lord
  15. Holy Spir­it, Come with Light
  16. I Walk in Dan­ger Ev­ery­where
  17. Like the Gold­en Sun As­cend­ing
  18. Lo, the Sun Is Ris­ing Out of the Sea
  19. Lord Je­sus Christ, My Sav­ior Blest
  20. Lord Je­sus Christ, Re­ceive Me Now
  21. Most Won­der­ful of All Things
  22. My Heart in Thee
  23. O Ho­ly Ghost, My Spir­it
  24. O Let Thy Spir­it with Us Tar­ry
  25. O Lord, My Heart Is Turn­ing
  26. Over Ked­ron Je­sus Pass­es
  27. Pow’r of Sin No Lon­ger
  28. Print Thine Im­age, Pure and Ho­ly
  29. Splendid Are the Hea­vens High
  30. That Cause Can Ne­ver Be Lost Nor Stayed
  31. Thee Will I Love, My Strength, My Trea­sure
  32. Vain World, Now Fare­well
  33. Vanish Now All Sin­ful Dream­ing
  34. Whoso Be­lieves and Is Bap­tized
  35. With Gla­dness We Hail the Bless­ed Day

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