Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Fifth Commandment Hymn

By Roman Catholic & Lutheran reckoning, the Fifth Commandment is the one that goes: "You shall not murder," a commandment I have previously illustrated using the Parable of the Good Samaritan. Here, then, is the corresponding number in my series of decalog hymns—though I'm not sure how clearly the Good Samaritan theme comes through...

Son of God, Your human nature
Makes mankind a holy race;
And Your care for every creature
Life itself endows with grace:
Bodies healing and reviving,
Unchained mind and senses giving,
Dying in the sinner's place!

How we fail each day in easing
One another's body needs,
Just as often these increasing
By neglect as savage deeds!
While we, in an inward fashion,
Murder daily in our passion,
For his killers Jesus pleads!

Christ forgive us, lest we perish
In blood-guiltiness and dread!
Christ forbid that we should cherish
Spite and grievance on our bed!
Change our hateful hearts to loving,
Even to our foes so proving,
As to be their friends instead!

By Your life-consuming labor
You made peace to heal our soul;
Acting as our needed neighbor,
By Your wounds You made us whole.
Of Your body, slain yet living,
Food and medicine now giving,
Guide us to our heav'nly goal.

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