Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Gracious Savior, Grant Your Blessing

Among the hymns that we sang at my daughter's wedding was #860 in Lutheran Service Book, "Gracious Savior, Grant Your Blessing."  We sang it as the opening hymn of the service after the processional, so stanza one was slightly altered for use at that point in the worship service. (From a purely practical standpoint, placement of this hymn after the processional enabled me to change into my alb in the vestry so that I could proceed to marry Sarah and Justin.) The text was originally written to the tune, JESU, JOY OF MAN'S DESIRING; it was included in LSB to the tune HYFRYDOL.  Even though the processional was "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring," I still decided to go with HYFRYDOL as the tune for the text. The Hymnody Committee got it right in choosing HYFRYDOL over JESU, JOY OF MAN'S DESIRING, which is perhaps more suitable for a choir or a soloist than a congregation. The words of the hymn remain our prayer for our daughter and new son-in-law.

1.  Gracious Savior, grant Your blessing
        To this husband and this wife,       To this couple gathered here,
            That it peace they live together
        In Your love throughout their life.    And Your holy Name revere.
    Christ, defend them from the tempter
        And from all that would destroy
            Love's foundation You have laid here,   Love's foundation that You lay here,
       And its threshold paved with joy.

2.  Lord, if You are not the builder,
         Then the house is built in vain,
             For a home without Your presence
         Shall without true love remain.
     Yet when You within a marriage
         Come and dwell with grace divine,
             There You fill the empty vessels,
         Changing water into wine.

3.  Cana's guest, this union hallow;
         Tenderly embrace this pair.
             Clothe this couple with the garments
         They will daily need to wear:
      Patience, kindness, and compassion,
          Gentleness, humility;
              Robe them, Lord, with love to bind them
          In a perfect unity.

4.  Make their love a living picture
         Showing how You loved Your bride:
             When You gave Yourself to cleanse her,
         When for her You bled and died.
     Jesus, You have made her holy,
         Pure and fair her radiant train;
             To Yourself Your Church presenting,
         Without wrinkle, spot, or stain.

5.  Father, You created Adam
         Crafted Eve, and made them one;
             Jesus, from their sin You saved us,
         As God's true incarnate Son;
     Holy Spirit, You forgive us;
         From our sins we are released.
             Bring us, Lord, at last to heaven,
         To the endless wedding feast.


Rev. Paul L. Beisel said...

Do you have an online version of this anywhere with the words that I could show to a wedding couple who is trying to find wedding music? I sure wish we had a CD of good, Lutheran music I could hand to people.

Priscilla said...


I would like to use this hymn in my upcoming wedding ceremony. It is not at an LCMS church, so they do not own the hymnal or rights to reprinting. Can I get those directly from you, or should I do it through CPH or OneLicense?

Thanks very much,

amelithpastor said...


The easiest would probably be to go through OneLicense but you may also go through CPH directly. Their copyright office number is 1-800-325-0191. Thanks for your interest in the text!

Stephen Starke

Priscilla said...

Thank you!

Timothy said...

I'm wondering if I could modify this hymn slightly for use in a non-wedding service that focuses on Ephesians 5:21-33? The change would be using "each" instead of "this" ("each husband and each wife" in stanza 1; "each union," "each pair," "each couple," in stanza 3), unless you have other suggestions for generalizing the text.

Unknown said...

I know this post and the comments on it are all a bit old, but there is some advice I'd like to offer.

I'm featuring this song at my wedding in November. I'm not Missouri Synod, I'm not even Lutheran, so I had to buy a license. I recommend anyone in a similar situation not go to OneLicense for this one. Our guest list is about 30 people (all we can afford), and OneLicense was going to charge me $55. I went to CPH directly (using the number Rev. Starke was kind enough to include in his response to Priscilla above), told them what I needed, and all they asked for is $15. Working that out was only slightly more complicated than buying from OneLicense would have been, and having to pay only about a quarter of what they were going to charge made it far worth it!

To Rev. Starke: these verses are beautiful. I use LSB for my personal devotions now and then, and I'm so glad I found this song in there. The other hymnals I have access to don't have many songs that are specifically about marriage, and none that are worded as if they were meant to be a prayer for a wedding couple like "Gracious Savior, Grant Your Blessing" is.