Monday, February 19, 2007

The feeding of the 4,000

This next long hymn was inspired by a sermon I heard on the miracle in Mark 8, when Jesus fed a crowd of over 4,000 people with only twelve loaves of bread and seven fishes. I saw the miracle as a mathematical proof that "God's ways are not our ways." The running math metaphor is a little silly - sort of like that tacky church sign about multiplying love, dividing spleen, etc. - but indulge me.

Lord Christ, whose reckoning sublime
Multiplies mercy, transcends time:
We thank you for your love, and pray,
Add blessings to our faith today.

When hungry hearts by you were led
A three-day journey without bread,
You reckoned, if they should not eat,
They would fall senseless at your feet.

One thousand, two, three thousand, four:
Their need was great, your mercy more.
You acted then, and so did prove
All laws are subject to your love.

You reckoned seven loaves of bread
Enough that thousands should be fed;
Divided them, and took away
The hunger of the crowd that day.

When seven loaves that you did bless
Were made four thousand suppers less,
O what a mighty sign we gained:
As many basketfuls remained!

Seat us and feed us, holy Lord,
At your inestimable board
Where sin and death can not use up
The holy food on which we sup.

Such signs as this, O Savior, must
Teach us your boundless love to trust.
Come woe or guilt or any need,
Sufficient is your grace indeed!

Your pardon, in an endless flood,
Drowns all our sin; your flesh and blood
Feed us and seal us with the price
Of your sufficient sacrifice.

Such pow’r and mercy stem our fears
Lest, counting heads or adding years,
We cast your promises in doubt;
Your rich supply cannot run out.

And though our sins mount to the sky,
So let your mercies multiply
That nought below and nought above
May e’er divide us from your love.

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