Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Fight, Work, Pray!

I completed this text requested by a deaconess at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne for a hymn based on Luther's meditation and writing on the relationship between the Lord's Supper and works of mercy and care for our fellow human beings. ("Fight, Work, Pray!" is a pamphlet published by LCMS World Relief and Human Care with a preface by the Executive Director, Rev. Matthew C. Harrison.  The pamphlet reprints from Luther's Works, Vol. 35: "The Blessed Sacrament of the Holy and True Body of Christ, and the Brotherhoods" [1519] ).  The hymn text seeks to highlight aspects and benefits of the Sacrament empowering us to serve as Christ to the world today.  The meter, 3 4 9  3 4 6, matches the deeply moving tune by Amanda Husberg, CHILDREN OF PEACE.

1.  Fight, work, pray!
     Precious indeed
     Are all the masses huddled in need.
     Christ sends us
     Out with His love,
     For the life of the world.

2.  "Flesh and blood
     Given and shed
     Once on the cross so you may be fed;
     I in you,
     You now in Me
     For the life of the world."

3.  Mystery!
     How can it be?
     Saint bound to saint in true unity!
     One in Christ,
     One as His Church
     For the life of the world.

4.  Strengthen us,
     Lord, as we live:
     Pardoning others as You forgive.
     Bless our faith
     Active in love
     For the life of the world.

5.  I, Your guest,
     Frail though I be,
     Yet here Your life I taste and I see,
     As You give
     Heavenly gifts
     For the life of the world.

6.  All my debt
     You, Lord, have paid
     When on the cross atonement You made.
     Faith receives
     All You have done
     For the life of the world.

7.  What can I
     Render to You?
     True thanks and praise in all that I do;
     Fear, love, trust,
     Serve and obey,
     For the life of the world.

8.  Mercy known,
     Mercy received,
     Mercy now lived by all who believe.
     We are Christ's
     Body and voice
     For the life of the world!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thine the Amen

I had the distinct privilege and honor of meeting Herbert Brokering in the fall of 2008 at Camp Arcadia on Lake Michigan for a worship forum led by Herb and Carl Schalk and Robert Rimbo.  Herb was energetic, witty and a true delight.  He approached hymn writing in a totally different way than I had ever thought of the craft and we had an opportunity to visit a few times at the forum in that lovely setting at Camp Arcadia.  He shared some of the tunes written by his late wife, Lois, one of which in particular, a tune written for Herb's text, EVERYTHING IS ONE, made a deep impression on me.  Probably my favorite text by Dr. Brokering is "Thine the Amen."  We sang it as our closing hymn this past All Saints' Day.  It is a "stream of consciousness" text with little punctuation.  Herb now sees his Savior face to face in the "wonder full surprise" of the eternal wedding banquet of the Lamb.  Thank you, Lord, for Herb!

Thine the amen
    Thine the praise
            angels raise
Thine the
    everlasting head
        Thine the breaking
            of the bread
Thine the glory
    Thine the story
        Thine the harvest
            then the cup
Thine the vineyard
    then the cup is
        lifted up
            lifted up.

Thine the life
        Thine the promise
            let there be
Thine the vision
    Thine the tree
        all the earth
            on bended knee
Gone the nailing
    gone the railing
        gone the pleading
            gone the cry
Gone the sighing
    gone the dying
        what was loss
            lifted high.

Thine the truly
    Thine the yes
        Thine the table
            we the guest
Thine the mercy
    all from Thee
        Thine the glory
            yet to be
Then the ringing
    and the singing
        then the end
            of all the war
Thine the living
    Thine the loving

Thine the kingdom
    Thine the prize
        Thine the wonder
            full surprise
Thine the banquet
    then the praise
        then the justice
            of Thy ways
Thine the glory
    Thine the story
        Then the welcome
            to the least
Then the wonder
    all increasing
        at Thy feast
            at Thy feast.

Thine the glory
    in the night
        no more dying
            only light
Thine the river
    Thine the tree
        Then the Lamb
Then the holy
    holy holy
Thine the splendor
    Thine the brightness
        only Thee
            only Thee.

Monday, November 9, 2009

O God of Light

This is a great text by Sarah Taylor, (1883-1954).  It was first introduced in Hymnal Supplement 98 and has appeared again in Lutheran Service Book.  It is set to the tune ATKINSON...a fine and strong tune but a challenging melodic line in the third musical phrase, which covers the whole lower and upper range and gets there by a series of jumps.   It keeps things interesting, that's for sure!

O God of light, Your Word, a lamp unfailing,
    Shall pierce the darkness of our earthbound way
And show Your grace, Your plan for us unveiling,
    And guide our footsteps to the perfect day.

From days of old, through blind and willful ages,
    Though we rebelled, You gently sought again
And spoke through saints, apostles, prophets, sages,
    Who wrote with eager or reluctant pen.

Undimmed by time, those words are still revealing
    To sinful hearts Your justice and Your grace;
And questing spirits, longing for Your healing,
    See Your compassion in the Savior’s face.

To all the world Your summons You are sending,
    Through all the earth, to ev’ry land and race,
That myriad tongues, in one great anthem blending,
    May praise and celebrate Your gift of grace.