Tuesday, March 31, 2009

What Grace is This!

This text from Christian Worship Supplement (CWS 715) is by Laurie F. Gauger, b. 1965.  A series of stanzas reflect different aspects of Christ's Passion and what it means for each individual Christian believer.  Yes, "God so loved the world...," but God also so loved...me!  What grace to love someone like me!  The tune WHAT GRACE, to which the text is wed in CWS, is by G. A. Hennig, b. 1966.

1.  What grace is this!
          My Lord and King
          Has set His face to suffering.
         My God eternal dies to bring
               Eternal life to me.

2.  What grace is this--
         That very God
          Would stoop to lift a cross of wood
          And walk a road of rock and blood,
               A sinner's road, for me.

3.  What grace is this!
          Though Lord of all,
          He yields to Pontius Pilate's law
          And lets the Roman hammers draw
               A rush of blood for me.

4.  What grace is this!
          Rude agonies!
          With common thieves He hangs and bleeds.
          The sinless Son bears each misdeed.
               He pays for all, for me.

5.  What grace is this! 
          Once wrapped in cloths
          And gently laid in manger trough,
          He's taken dead, from wretched cross
              And wrapped again for me.

6.  What grace is this?
          How can it be?
          He wears this raw humility
          To lift me to eternity.
               Such grace--sweet grace--for me.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Our Lord a Prayerful Vigil Kept

This text was written in 1991 for our Lenten worship at Grace Lutheran Church in Middletown, Connectictut, where I served as pastor from 1985-2000.  It is set to the tune CONSOLATION.

1.  Our Lord a prayerful vigil kept
         Within an olive grove;
     Three chosen friends in weakness slept
          While fervently He strove.

2.  His solitary figure lies
          With face upon the ground,
     And to His holy Father cries
          In sorrow so profound:

3.  "My Father, if there yet may be
          A way this cup be shunned,
      Then let this suff'ring pass from Me--
          Your will, not Mine, be done."

4.  The anguish of His soul unknown,
          His sweat, like drops of blood;
     Sin's burden bearing all alone,
          An overwhelming flood!

5.  A torch-lit mob His vigil ends
          With sign that none could miss:
     A friend still loyalty pretends,
          Betraying with a kiss.

6.  The Son of Man is led away
          By those with club and sword;
     The pow'rs of darkness have their prey!
          Will no one help afford?

7.  The timeless plan has now begun
          Unfolding as it should--
     The Father offers up His Son
          To suffer for our good.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

In Faithful Silence Take Your Stand

This text by Lutheran Church-Canada pastor, Kurt E. Reinhardt, speaks of the power of God at work in Holy Baptism to defeat our enemies and enable us to walk through life's terrible circumstances on dry ground.   "In Faithful Silence Take Your Stand" is found in a book of Pastor Reinhardt's texts entitled "My Light and My Salvation," (ISBN:  978-1-934328-02-6) published in 2008 by Redeemer Press.  (Go to www.redeemer-fortwayne.org for additional information and to order.) For permission to use this text in worship, please contact Pastor Kurt Reinhardt at prkreinhardt@gmail.com

1.  In faithful silence take your stand,
     Be still and watch My saving hand,
          As surging waters heed My cry
         That you might pass and never die.

2.  The Prince of Hell is at your back,
     With hatred straining to attack,
          My mighty arm keeps him at bay;
          He shall not conquer you today.

3.  Pass through the water, do not fear;
     I will not fail you, I am near.
          Though sin and death will follow in,
          The distant bank they shall not win.

4.  A thund'rous wave will charge them down
     And they will flounder, they will drown;
          Yet you shall stand upon the shore
          To sing My praise forevermore.

5.  The edge of these baptismal seas,
     All littered with dead enemies,
          Throughout your life shall daily stand
          A tribute to My saving hand.