Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Reformation Hymn

Yes, I know it's long. One needn't sing every stanza. I suppose different ones will seem more appropriate than others, depending on the times...
O Christ, the Light of all the saints in heaven,
Safeguard Your church on earth from Satan's leaven:
Pour on our heads and hearts, with graces seven,
Your Holy Spirit!

When mighty hands with love of gain are reaching
To bend or break your church's sacred teaching,
Stretch out Your arm through sacrament and preaching:
Uphold your people!

Stifle the voice of all who would deny You,
Let shame betray the tongues that would belie You,
Let weakness fill the limbs that would defy You:
Save your confession!

To those still for Your plighted Word contending
Amid the storms of doubt and scorn unending,
Grant, Lord, the strength to stand by You unbending:
Shelter them, Savior!

That we may know the price our sin has cost You,
Lest we by stubborn unbelief exhaust You,
Or join the wretched number who have lost You:
Grant us repentance!

Yet, by Your blood once shed, Your body broken,
By the most sacred promise ever spoken,
With food and drink made one, and no mere token,
You come to feed us!

By this we know what flesh and blood availeth;
By this we know a love that never faileth;
By this we grow a heart that never quaileth:
We stand forgiven!

Only by grace, God's favor freely given;
Only through faith, the earnest-wealth of heaven;
Only in Christ, our perfect rest and haven,
We know salvation!

Keep this pure doctrine e'er among us dwelling,
Man's wiles and Satan's darts thereby dispelling;
From every new-made law, howso compelling,
Shield us, O Jesus!

If by your will the church must bear affliction,
Help us submit to fatherly correction;
Then, in good season, send Your benediction:
Ease, Lord, our burden!

Leave us not helpless, but be strong to guide us!
When error speaks, place Your strong Word beside us!
When sin encroaches, by Your mercy hide us
In Jesus' nail-marks!

Father, recall Your mighty works of wonder;
Christ, by the earthquake, darkened sky, and thunder
Marking the hour Your soul and flesh were sundered,
Pledge us Your Spirit!

For sending faithful witnesses before us,
For letting Word and Sacrament restore us,
For draping Jesus' holy garment o'er us,
Dear God, we praise You!


Michael said...

Great text. These words could be paired with a number of sturdy melodies, including Christe sanctorum (probably my first choice), Innisfree Farm (would be super, but number of verses may rule this out), Iste confessor, Shades Mountain, and Wojtkiewiecz (my second choice). It's always interesting how different melodies color the text in different ways. Did you have a specific tune in mind?

Robbie F. said...

Thanks, Michael. I pretty much agree with your tune choices. I didn't really have one in mind for this text, except that I hummed "Herzliebster Jesu" as I proofread it to make sure the words fit the meter.