Tuesday, March 1, 2011

17. Pruning Hymn

I wrote this hymn way back in 2005. Although I posted its tune (titled "Pruning") three years ago, I just now realized that I never blogged the text. So here it is: my hymn on the Biblical imagery of Christ as the Vine and us as the branches (John 15). Be not dismayed by its length. I'm not asking anyone to sing it all the way through. Think of it as devotional poetry!
O Christ, who art the church’s Life,
The Vine on which we grow,
Grant us who feel Thy pruning knife
Abundant fruit to show.

Thy Father husbandeth the vine,
And cutteth dry and green:
Be they the enemy’s or Thine,
Afflicted they have been.

The Lord afflicteth one to save,
Another to destroy;
The fruitful, better fruit to have;
The fruitless to annoy.

Should the afflicted sinner turn
When pressed and wounded sore,
He shall not wither up, nor burn,
Nor rue Thy pruning more.

And should a branch so sprout abroad
As to unfruitful be,
Thou woundest it, Vinedresser-God,
To bind it fast in Thee.

No other Vine is Life, O Christ,
To branches such as we;
Unless a branch in Thee be spliced,
Dead, fruitless, it must be.

The blood and water from Thy side
Cleanse us and quench our thirst;
Thy flesh, that on a tree once died,
Our hungry flesh hath nursed.

In Thee, our Vine, we branches hold;
Our lifeblood flows from Thee;
In Thee we grow a hundredfold,
And yield abundantly.

Therefore Thy pruning we endure,
For Thou art wisest, best;
Thou prunest us to keep us pure
From rot and worm and pest.

Lest we put faith in aught but Thee,
Prune us, O Lord, in love;
For naught else let our striving be
But for the things above.

Lest we be puffed up in our pride,
Or love what we have done,
Prune us, that He who meekly died
May be our boast alone.

The foe would go to any length
To bring about our fall;
Prune us, that we may grow in strength
To bear and suffer all.

As we bear witness to Thy Word,
Give glory to Thy cross.
Perfect Thy strength in weakness, Lord;
We count all gain but loss.

Prune us; and though the devil may
Sow tares among the corn,
We shall with joy, on our last day,
Be to Thy garners borne.

Prune us, that we may hate our sin
And love Thy pardon more;
Prune us, that we may grasp and win
The kingdom of the poor.

O Father, Son, and Spirit, bless
The branches in Thy vine;
Let all they teach, believe, confess,
And do, be fruits of Thine.

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