This hymn was planned as a companion to an Advent midweek sermon series that a Lutheran pastor friend of mine was considering publishing as a pulpit resource for time-strapped preachers. My preparation for writing it included reading all four of the pastor's sermons, which focus respectively on Ruth 1:20-21; Ruth 2:10; Ruth 3:13; and Ruth 4:17. As in my previous hymn for an Advent series, the intent here is for Stanza 1 to open the hymn and Stanza 6 to close it each week, and the appropriate stanza for each week to be inserted between them. The hymn-tune I have in mind is the early American tune FOUNDATION (Southern Harmony, New Haven, 1835), often paired with the hymn "How firm a foundation, you saints of the Lord."
O Lord, who our Savior ere all time begot,
Whose word calls what is out of that which was not:
Call us to believe, when forlorn our ways seem,
You are of our blood, and will surely redeem!
Though You, Father, give and at times take away,
Help us bear affliction and faithfully say:
In favor or out, both to break and to heal,
With justice and love You unerringly deal.
But who, Lord, are we that have found here such grace,
And stand undestroyed by the light of Your face?
That you count as righteous all who but believe
Surpasses all good that our works can achieve!
Your will is not idle, but earnest and true,
To bring men salvation through knowledge of You;
This gift is as sure as Your strong, active Word,
Which also grants faith where Your promise is heard.
Grant, therefore, the patience to wait for the Son,
At time of His choosing, by what He has done,
The ransomed of all flesh to raise and to heal,
And comfort eternal at last to reveal!
Come, Savior! Come quickly, and hasten to give
Your servants a portion with them who now live!
Call us from vain things, and from things that decay;
Redeem this dim hour by Your brightening day!