Tuesday, December 21, 2010

15. Hymn for Evening or Dying

Here is my attempt to adapt Luther's Evening Prayer for use as a hymn for the dying. I did not have a particular tune in mind as I wrote it, so I have no particular preference as to what tune you might use to sing it. Out of several tunes that, in my judgment, could adequately serve this hymn, I have selected two that happen to be in the public domain. This way at least you can test-drive it and maybe leave me a constructive comment or two...Dear heav'nly Father, hear, as sinks life’s day,
The boon for which, in gratitude, I pray.
As You have kept me through the hours of light,
So keep me at the setting-in of night.

Upon me shine the favor of Your face;
By dint of Jesus Christ Your Son, erase
My debt, for which He, bared and bowed in blood,
Gave good for ill, and so procured my good.

Clothe me in Him, that my iniquity
May drown and sink beneath His purity.
Buried with Him, with Him I must arise,
And He live more in me as this shell dies.

Sustain me by the life that Jesus gives,
Who died but once, and ever after lives;
Be His sweet Testament the remedy
To cleanse, to nourish, and to quicken me.

Now, as my eyelids close in peaceful sleep,
Grant me Your holy angel, watch to keep
Till, wakened by Your Holy Spirit’s breath,
I rise, unmarked by Satan, sin, or death.

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