Friday, July 22, 2011

Ninth Commandment Hymn

Next is the Ninth Commandment which, as numbered by Lutherans, Episcopalians, and Catholics, says: "You shall not covet your neighbor's house." I wrote a devotion on this commandment some time ago; in another post, I identified it as the commandment that protects God's gift to us of "justice and legal rights." So even though it sometimes gets lumped in with its twin Tenth Commandment (also against a form of coveting)—and perhaps overshadowed by the latter's enumeration of ox and ass, etc.—I think the Ninth is important enough to get its own hymn...

Christ, You owned no resting place,
As where birds and foxes nested;
Even in death's brief embrace,
In another's tomb You rested.
Yet You never so conspired
As to gain a place, compelling
None to give it; You desired
But to win our heav'nly dwelling.

Christ, You know our cares and needs;
Shall we fret with restless yearning?
Shall we meditate misdeeds,
Others' rights and merits spurning?
How shall we, who own so much,
Give such play to thoughts of taking?
How can You, perceiving such,
Show us mercy, wrath forsaking?

For the sin of our desire,
Savior, kindly grant repentance!
Damp its all-devouring fire;
Loose us from its awful sentence!
Rather covet we Your cross
And that all might love You duly!
Till we share Your heav'nly house,
May we trace Your footsteps truly!

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