Wednesday, September 16, 2009

"Take Heart!"

Here is my second stab at the funeral hymn project. You are welcome to criticize it mercilessly. I want to get it just right, and vanity is no object.

Please note that stanza 3 is thematic for the handful of stanzas that follow it. I added it last, after realizing that I had never explicitly stated the thesis of the hymn: "Death is no longer your enemy. See what good gifts it brings to you!"

The tune I hummed in my head while writing it was good old Komm, Gott Schöpfer.
Take heart, dear lambs! Our friend today
Ascends to view the Shepherd's face,
While watching with (his/her) mortal clay
We lay it in its resting place.

Take heart! This soul does but withdraw;
Rests in Christ's arms, so strong to save;
Awakes beyond both sin and law,
Death's sting, the vict'ry of the grave.

Take heart! Death is no more our foe;
Behold, with blessings it is rife
Since Christ, in dying, laid it low
And took it captive unto life.

Take heart! By one Man's death, we all
Have life no enemy can take;
By one Man's righteousness, our fall
Is ransomed, healed, for Jesus' sake.

Take heart! In baptism we were drowned,
The old man slain for once and aye.
Now we in Christ new life have found;
To us belongs His rising day.

In Holy Sacrament we take
One body slain and blood once spilled
When Christ full testament did make
That all was satisfied, fulfilled.

And so, take heart! When we commune
In Christ's true body and true blood,
We share in one high heav'nly boon
With those beyond the Jordan's flood.

Take heart! The very word of life
Now to our doubting hearts addressed
Can heal our sorrow, sin, and strife,
And wake us from our last, long rest.

And though the seed we plant today
May bide a while in silent dust,
May see corruption and decay;
Though ours may join it when it must;

Take heart! The Lord gives hidden growth,
Like joy to every heart that grieves:
This fallen husk, when summoned forth,
Will burst in bloom and bear in sheaves.

Good Lord, on this our day of grief,
O stand not far from us apart;
To all our sorrows grant relief,
And from Your goodness give us heart!

2 comments:

Rob Lawson said...

Fish,
Your first stab I like. The second stab I really really like! Might I suggest a little revision of the first verse to make it flow better?

Take heart, dear lambs! Our friend today
Ascends to view the Shepherd's face,
While watching with (his/her) mortal clay
We lay it in its resting place.

Rob

Robbie F. said...

That's a good suggestion! I think I'll take it!

Old text, for comparison:
...
While we watch with (his/her) mortal clay
And lay it in its resting place.