Monday, November 26, 2012

The Day of Christ's Return

A versification of 2 Peter 3: 3,4,8-13, written in 1998 to the tune CHEOPS by Carl Schalk.
The gray and chilly days of late November are fitting for the end of the Church Year with its brisk announcement of the Second Coming of our Lord.  The heralding voice of the Word of God trumpets the truth that the Last Day is indeed coming.  Like a biting blast of arctic air, Scripture cuts like a knife with a sober view of reality at odds with a world that scorns Jesus Christ.  Jesus is Lord, and while this was the first confession in the early church, it remains the Church's confession to this day and all that such a profession of faith means in our post-modern, post-Christian world.  Maranatha! Lord Jesus, come!

1.  The day of Christ's return is still denied
     By skeptics, who in unbelief deride:
        "Where is this coming of your Lord?"
     Their darkened minds are blinded by their pride.

2.  Yes, in the human heart rebellion grows,
     Forgetting what the Scripture clearly shows:
         A thousand years within God's sight
     Are like a day that quickly comes and goes.

3.  The gracious reason why our Lord delays
     Reflects His patience born of endless days:
         For God would have the world repent
     And turn from futile, selfish, empty ways.

4.  For soon the heav'ns will vanish with a roar;
     The earth laid bare by fire will be no more!
         What kind of people ought we be
     As we await the One whom we adore?

5.  LIve godly lives of holiness and peace;
     By word and deed the love of Christ increase;
         Look forward to and speed that day
     When all will be made new and never cease.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

At Sinai, Moses Tended Sheep

Written to the glory of God for the 2012 Michigan District Lutheran Women's Missionary League convention under the convention theme: "Now Go..." based on Exodus 4:12.  The tune is EIN FESTE BURG (Isorhythmic).

1. At Sinai, Moses tended sheep,
God's sacred mountain looming;
He saw a bush whose fiery flames
Were not its leaves consuming!
God warned, "Do not come near!
Remove your sandals here!
On holy ground you stand!
Heed now what I command:
Bring Israel out of Egypt." 

2. For God had heard His people's cry
And seen their great affliction;
Yet Moses doubted he could lead
God's people from conscription.
"What shall I say, " said he,
"If questioned who sent me?"
"I AM," replied the LORD!
"This answer you afford:
'I AM has sent me to you.'"

3. "They will not listen," Moses feared,
"To all that I will tell them."
So God gave Moses wondrous signs,
To strengthen and compel him.
Still Moses cried with dread,
"My speech is poor," he said.
God quickly would remind:
"Man's mouth have I designed--
Now go, I will be with you!"

4.  "My Lord, oh, please send someone else!"
God heard the plea there spoken--
A greater Moses He would send
So that sin's bonds be broken:
Christ Jesus, God's own Son,
Our freedom fully won!
His work to us commends,
To ev'ry nation sends:
"Now go and make disciples..."

5.  The Church in ev'ry age takes up
The task that Jesus gave her:
To baptize in God's triune name
And teach of Christ, the Savior.
Christ says to us today:
"Now go without delay!
On Me cast ev'ry fear;
Recall my promise clear--
'I will be with you always!'"

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Branch That Bends With Clustered Fruit

This text by Thomas Troeger (b. 1945) is based on John 15:1-8, the (Easter 5) Gospel lesson in the 3-year lectionary.   Thank God that in Holy Baptism we were engrafted into the living Vine, Jesus Christ!  God the Father is the vinedresser.  Pruning is never pleasant to undergo, but so necessary if we are to be bountiful branches in our Lord's vineyard.

1.  The branch that bends with clustered fruit
     Still needs the pruner's blade
     To keep it close to vine and root
     Or else its strength will fade.

2.  The spindly, twisted, tangled coil
     Of branches overgrown
     Produces nothing from its toil
     But feeds itself alone.

3.  The pruner's hook with gently play
     Where fruitful growth is seen
     But like an axe will slash away
     The empty net of green.

4.  O God, who fills with rain and sun
     The grapes we press for wine,
     Cut off the growth our fears have spun
     And prune us to your vine.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Rebuke Me Not, O Lord, In Wrath

This paraphrase of the penitential Psalm 6 was written in 1998 to the tune CHRISTIAN LOVE, composed in 1961 by Paul Benoit. The tune was discovered in the New Century Hymnal.

1. Rebuke me not, O Lord, in wrath,
Nor judge me for my sin,
But lead me on Your righteous path
And cleanse my life within.

2. Have pity, hear my weakened sighs
And heal all that is wrong;
With anguished fright my spirit cries:
"How long, O Lord, how long?"

3. Deliver me from sin and shame,
Lord, turn to me and save--
For who in death recalls Your name?
Who thanks You from the grave?

4. My eyes are worn away with grief,
My bed is drenched with tears;
From all my foes, Lord, grant relief
And save me from my fears.

5. You workers of iniquity
Who fill my heart with care:
In God's strong name depart from me--
The Lord has heard my prayer!

Monday, January 2, 2012

My Heart With Joy is Sounding

This 2008 translation of a text by Wilhelm Loehe is titled "Abendmahlslied" and subtitled Freudenlied der erquickten Seele. The origInal tune, O FREUDE, FREUDE was written in 1890 by Fr. Mener. An alternate tune is WIE SOLL ICH DICH EMPFANGEN.

1. My heart with joy is sounding—

Now God is one with me!

His love my heart surrounding

For all eternity:

So highly He esteemed me,

To come with love divine,

And with His blood redeemed me—

I’m His and He is mine!

2. I come, O Bridegroom holy,

My soul made sick by sin,

Your feast of love can solely

Heal all my ills within.

Your wounded side, O Jesus,

Has pow’r to sanctify;

Your blood sin’s grip releases,

So that I will not die.

3. All sin, Lord, I relinquish

Within this crimson flood,

Hell’s embers to extinguish

Beneath Your precious blood;

Accused by sin no longer,

I grasp Your love anew,

With faith made sure and stronger—

How well I’m fed by You!

4. Lord, what can I surrender,

What debt is owed and due?

All that I am I tender

In love, O Christ, to You!

I’m Yours for Your safe keeping,

For Satan, night and day,

With foul deceit is creeping,

To steal my soul away.

5. The path for my salvation

You walked to Calvary;

Receive my adoration

For all Your gifts to me!

May this be my beginning

To love You more, I pray,

To flee this world of sinning

And live my faith each day.

6. My faith bring to completion,

Lord, by Your flesh and blood,

My naked soul’s depletion

Now cover with Your good.

What mercy I am tasting

In this, Your meal of love,

With yearning I am hasting

To know Your bliss above.