Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Oh, How Good and Truly Pleasant

A portion of today's daily lectionary reading is from the 17th chapter of the Gospel according to St. John, where we read these verses:  "The glory that you have given me I have given them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may be perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me."  (John 17:22-23)  In addition, Psalm 133 is a psalm that speaks of the blessedness of unity among the people of God.  "Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!  It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes!  It is like the dew of Herman, which falls on the mountains of Zion!  For there the LORD has commanded the blessing, life forevermore."  This hymn text is based in part on these two lessons and was written by me for a hymn festival at Our Savior Lutheran Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan on May 20, 2007.  The text concludes with a prayer to the Holy Spirit for such godly unity among believers.  It is set to the tune BEACH SPRING.

1.  Oh, how good and truly pleasant
        When we dwell in unity:
           Gentle sisters, caring brothers
       Loving others selflessly!
    This the oneness God desires
       For the people called His own,
          So that we, by our affection,
       Might His love to all make known.

2.  Like the oil of consecration
        Running down from Aaron's brow,
           On his beard and sacred collar,
        To his priestly role endow,
     So our love, to God devoted,
        Spreads His fragrance everywhere;
           Royal priests by God anointed,
       One in service, faith, and prayer.

3.  Were the heavy dew of Hermon
        On Mount Zion to descend,
           There the Lord commands His blessing:
        Life eternal without end;
     So would God, from Calv'ry's mountain,
        Rain down love on desert lives,
           Causing them to bud and flower
        Till His grace our world revives.

4.  Come, O precious Oil of Gladness,
        Help us love and live as one,
           As the Son is in the Father
        And the Father in the Son,
     You as love from both proceeding,
        Three in One and One in Three--
           One in love at the beginning,
        One in love eternally!

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