Sunday, June 22, 2008

Continue in the Things That You Have Learned

This afternoon I participated in the ordination and installation service of a son of our congregation.  It was a joy to be a part of his special day and know that God will now use him as a called and ordained servant of the Word, an undershepherd of the Good Shepherd.   St. Paul's words of encouragement to Timothy are good to recall:  "Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you--guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us." (2 Tim. 1:14)
The following text was inspired by Richard Hillert's tune, RIVER FOREST, and the refrain is based on the passage just quoted.   The hymn text is written in free verse.

1.  Continue in the things that you have learned,
        Convinced by those who taught the sacred text;
           The Holy Scriptures you have known since youth
              Have brought you saving faith in Jesus Christ:
 Refrain:  Guard well that treasure
                    Given to you--
                       The Word of God's truth!

2.  Fan into flame the Spirit's gift from God
        Bestowed on you through laying on of hands.
           Be bold, not timid--God will make you strong,
              Self-disciplined, empow'red by holy love.   Refrain

3.  Be not ashamed, proclaim the living Lord,
        And join with those who suffer for His sake;
           For God's great mercy saved you by His grace:
              His love in Christ before the world began.   Refrain

4.  Christ Jesus has destroyed the reign of death,
        Brought life and immortality to light;
           Now trust that He in whom you have believed
              Will keep your faith secure until that Day.   Refrain

5.  Now in the presence of the Triune God--
        Our holy Father, who in boundless love
           Once sent His Son to die upon the cross
              And through the Spirit brings this solemn charge:   Refrain

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