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!

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Beautiful! Thank for this text, its clear teaching on the source of true mercy is a gift to the church.

I am seeking to get this hymn translated into Spanish for the rapidly growing interest and efforts in training deaconesses in many Latin American countries.

We deaconesses have long talked about a suitable hymn for use in our installations and commissionings. This fits the bill perfectly and sets us in way that we should go.

Deaconess Pamela Nielsen

amelithpastor said...

Thank you, Deaconess Nielson. The tune by Amanda Husberg is very nice. Send me an email at pastor@stjohn-amelith.org and I will make sure you get a final copy of everything.

Amberg said...

That's a hard meter. I'm impressed. Thanks for the hymn

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Pastor Starke, for this beautiful and thorough summary of Luther's sermon "Fight, Work, Pray." The connection between mercy received and mercy given is so very clear. The role of the church in caring for the world in the name of Christ and in order to bring others to know Christ - has always been clear but not always been as urgent or as visible as it is becoming today. THE LORD CONTINUES TO BLESS AND TEACH THE CHURCH THROUGH PASTORS SUCH AS YOU. Jean McCain

amelithpastor said...

Thank you, Jean. I appreciate your kind words of encouragement. I was first approached about writing such a text by a deaconess student at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne. Her suggestion prompted the study of Luther's sermon. A blessed Lent to you!