Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Holy Word of God Endures Forever

This text was commissioned by CPH for the release of The Lutheran Study Bible, a hymn on the Word of God for Reformation five years ago, in 2009. Stanza 1, the power of God's Word to bring sight for those blind in sin.; stanza 2, the Gospel call goes out to all enemies of God, made such by their sin; stanza 3, the work of the Holy Spirit who makes spiritually dead people alive by the power of God's Word; stanza 4, God's Word as Law and Gospel, to cut (Law) and to heal (Gospel) with the result that our lives become Christ's letter to a fallen world. Jeffrey Blersch wrote a tune for this 11 10 11 10 D text and he named it CONCORDIA CINCINNATI.

The holy Word of God endures forever
With living truths the Spirit has revealed.
These are not myths conceived by authors clever;
They never fade like flowers of the field.
No Scripture came by human inspiration;
God breathed His life in each and ev'ry part,
So Christ, the Morning Star of our salvation,
Might dawn with sight for ev'ry blinded heart.

Christ Jesus is the content of this writing,
The banner of God's love for all unfurled,
For through the Word the Father is inviting:
"O wayward one, forsake your rebel world;
No greater gift I have than what I gave you--
My only Son for sin--that you might know
The distance that My grace stretched out to save you
And make your scarlet sins as white as snow."

O Spirit--calling, gathering, uniting--
Come, breathe Your life in all whose hope is lost
And in such lives with power come, igniting
The flames of faith first lit on Pentecost;
To those long dead, the victims of sin's vi'lence,
To all forgotten casualties of strife,
Now speak to driest bones and break the silence--
Where there is death, now raise enfleshed new life!

The holy Word of God endures forever!
It comes to hearts where sin remains concealed,
And like a two-edged sword, to pierce and sever,
It cuts the heart so that it might be healed.
With Gospel salve renew us, faith's Begetter;
Write living words, yet not with ink on stone,
But write upon our hearts, that as Christ's letter
We tell of how God saves by grace alone.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

My Beloved Sets For Me

This text was inspired by an American Gospel song written in 1872 by Lewis Hartsough, the text and tune of which was transported to Wales, where it received its name, GWAHODDIAD*, Welsh for "invitation."   The imagery is from the Song of Solomon. 

My Beloved sets for me
A banquet from above
And over me He stretches forth
The banner of His love.

  “Come, both great and least,”
  Calls our great High Priest,
  “I, with My own flesh and blood,
  Will feed you at My Feast.”

My delight is in the shade
Beneath His holy tree;
How sweet the taste, how fair the fruit
That falls from Calvary!    Refrain

Every fear of mine is gone
Within His strong embrace;
His loving arms that bore my shame
Assure me of His grace.    Refrain

We are robed in purest white
As Christ’s beloved bride,
Made clean by water and the blood
That flowed from Jesus' side!   Refrain


Thursday, June 19, 2014

Holy Spirit, God Proceeding

This text was written to the glory of God in thanksgiving for Kantor Stephen Rosebrock and his ministry at Hope Lutheran Church in St. Louis.  It was sung on the Seventh Sunday of Easter, June 1, 2014 and set to the tune BLAENWERN by William Penfro Rowlands, 1860-1937.

Holy Spirit, God proceeding
From the Father and the Son,
For us sinners ever pleading
That God's will in us be done;
Deep the Spirit's groans and sighing
When we know not what to pray,
As we carry Jesus' dying
In these fragile jars of clay.

Holy Spirit, God releasing,
Setting captive debtors free,
Sins forgiving, faith increasing,
Through the gifts from Calvary.
Born again, a new creation,
What was old has been removed;
Clothed in garments of salvation
By the King of kings approved.

Holy Spirit, God indwelling,
Source of comfort in all strife,
With the love of Christ compelling
All our good throughout our life:
He our heart of flesh transforming,
Gone our hardened heart of stone,
To the world no more conforming,
Patterned after Christ alone.

Holy Spirit, God inspiring,
Sanctifying works we do;
Comes, ignites our heart's desiring
For the noble, right, and true;
With our spirit testifying,
We are God's adopted heirs:
"Abba, Father," we are crying;
Christ the "Amen" to our prayers!

Holy Spirit, God eternal
With the Father and the Son,
One in Three, the Lord supernal,
Mighty God, the Three in One!
Saints and angels sing, rejoicing,
Raising hymns with one accord;
We with them our praises voicing--
"Holy, holy, holy LORD!"

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Give Ear, O Zion, To God's Call

Written to the glory of God for the 150th anniversary of St. Paul Lutheran Church, Bonduel, WI under the anniversary theme: "To God Be the Glory--Yesterday, Today, and Forever."  Anniversary theme verse:  Isaiah 51:6-8.   Written to the tune NUN FREUT EUCH.

1.  Give ear, O Zion, to God's call,
     And hearken, chosen nation:
     God comes with righteousness for all,
     With mercy and salvation;
     God comes with comfort for your gloom,
     Until your desert places bloom
     With thankful songs of gladness.

2.  Behold, God bares His holy arm,
     His Servant to us sending;
     God clothed in flesh need not alarm,
     He comes our race befriending:
     A Lamb in whom no sin is found,
     Yet bearing ours, He makes no sound
     As He is led to slaughter.

3.  Our death upon the cross He died,
     Yet see--this Lamb is living!
     In Christ, we now stand justified,
     His guiltlessness us giving!
     Out of the anguish of His soul,
     We have been cleansed, restored, made whole;
     Baptized in Christ, made righteous!

4.  Each one of us is robed in white,
     Christ's holiness now wearing;
     Called out of darkness into light,
     God's love in Christ declaring;
     We live and die in Jesus' name;
     His grace from yesterday the same,
     Today, tomorrow--ever!

5.  Look to the heav'ns, lift up your eyes
     And understand this clearly:
     That this fair earth beneath those skies
     And all we love so dearly,
     Will one day face its fiery fate;
     Like smoke the heav'ns will dissipate
     At Jesus' reappaering!

6.  What kind of people ought you be
     As this Last Day approaches?
     In love, rebuke all blasphemy;
     Fear not the world's reproaches;
     Live godly lives of faithfulness;
     Christ's saving work to all confess;
     Thus hasten His returning.

7.  Sing God the Father's majesty:
     Of naught He made creation!
     To God the Son all glory be:
     His blood wrought our salvation!
     The Holy Spirit magnify:
     He dwells within to sanctify--
     One God Most High forever!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Seed That the Sower Sows

Written to the glory of God at the 150th anniversary of St. John Lutheran Church, Fraser, Michigan, under the anniversary theme:  "Rooted and Growing in Christ."  The text is set to the wonderful tune named 14 MILE, composed by Matthew Machemer.

1.  Seed that the sower sows,
     Tossed not in careful rows
     But broadly cast across the fertile acre;
     Seed scattered far and wide,
     Seed with its life inside--
     A miracle created by our Maker!

2.  God's Word has here been cast,
     Sown now as in the past,
     Sown into lives by parents, pastors, teachers;
     God's living seed imparts
     Faith, hope, and love in hearts:
     God's grace and mercy for His blood-bought creatures.

3.  Bought at a precious price,
     Christ Jesus' sacrifice;
     For us He faced our death and condemnation.
     Christ has the world redeemed,
     Our world God so esteemed
     That He would give His Son for its salvation!

4.  For in Christ bodily
     Dwells the full deity;
     From Him we now derive all we are needing.
     He is the Church's head,
     Our true and living Bread--
     His very flesh and blood His Body feeding!

5.  Therefore, dear holy ones,
     Beloved daughters, sons,
     Baptized, made new, God's triune Name receiving:
     Walk in the Lord each day;
     Rooted in Christ, the Way,
     So nothing harms the faith you are believing.

6.  Seed that the Sower sows,
     Seed to its harvest grows--  
     Full thirty, sixty, hundredfold maturing!
     God's work in us begun
     Will work till all is done,
     God's fruitful grace His promises assuring.