Monday, February 19, 2007

"Presence" Hymn

I have been told that my hymns tend to be impracticably long. I'm so sorry. I can't help it. Once I begin to lay out an argument, I cannot shut up until I've said my piece. And I use the word "argument" advisedly. Though the following Lord's Supper hymn has a devotional feel to it, I wrote it in the heat of polemical fervor. Certain people in the Lutheran Church were noising it about that Christ's body and blood are present in the Lord's Supper...but Christ, personally, isn't. Against this irreligious nonsense I could have simply said, "We did not so learn Christ." Instead, I wrote this:

Lord Jesus Christ, Thy flesh and blood
Are made for me a heavenly food:
Have touched my lips and made me clean:
Have proved Thee present, though unseen;
As Thou hast come to live in me,
O let me also live in Thee!

Leave me not desolate, I pray;
Be not withdrawn, nor far away;
But let Thy blest Ascension be
Thy means of drawing close to me.
As Thou hast come to live in me,
O let me also live in Thee!

O Son of Man and Son of God,
Who pledgest Me Thy very blood:
Where God is, there be Mary’s Son,
For He who fills all things is One.
As Thou hast come to live in me,
O let me also live in Thee!

O Son of God and Son of Man,
Thy glorious body never can
Be separated from Thy soul;
Have I Thy flesh, I have Thee whole.
As Thou hast come to live in me,
O let me also live in Thee!

O Christ, whom none can break in twain,
Be pleased to draw me nigh again;
Who stooped to share my flesh and bone,
Leave me nor empty nor alone.
As Thou hast come to live in me,
O let me also live in Thee!

Thou once stooped down so graciously
To join Thee to humanity;
Be one with me again, I pray,
And make my flesh Thy throne today.
As Thou hast come to live in me,
O let me also live in Thee!

Though I have sinned, and merit not
To share Thy high-exalted lot,
Thou comest down to me in love,
Thy pardon, full and free, to prove.
As Thou hast come to live in me,
O let me also live in Thee!

Thy flesh and blood, once sacrificed,
For me the full redemption price,
Now soul and body truly feed
Oft as release from sin I need.
As Thou hast come to live in me,
O let me also live in Thee!

I cannot fight the war with sin
Unless Thou fight for me within;
I cannot bear the pain of death
Unless Thou share my dying breath.
As Thou hast come to live in me,
O let me also live in Thee!

Such goodness must be told and sung;
What shall restrain my thankful tongue?
Thy love, of which alone I’m proud,
Compelleth me to cry aloud:
My Savior, Christ, doth live in me,
And I in Him, eternally!

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