Thursday, January 7, 2021

Scratch and Dent 9

So, I've done this a few times before. In fact, before Useful Hymns was the 222-hymn monster it became in its Second, Expanded Edition, it blew up from a paltry 47 hymns to a round 100 just because I decided to go back and dust off some of my less mature sacred poems from an album of my high school and college verse. I remember it was kind of painful and, looking at that album again this week, I realized how very far from the original the revised versions have come – and they're still some of my weaker work. Nevertheless, I spotted some additional pieces that I didn't, at the time, think worth refurbishing, and though a closer look shows me how very right I was, I'm going to give them a whirl.

Finding the David in many of these hunks of marble is quite an interesting challenge, like sifting mud for specks of gold, and sometimes accepting some other valuable mineral found by the way. A big part of the job is cutting away excess yak and tightening up the meter, sometimes trimming not just syllables but entire lines from the stanza structures. It's really a good way to verify that, yes folks, we've made progress and continue to improve. So, here we go!

284. Hymn on the Word of God

Ancient of Days, God unchanging and true,
Tending the faithful long centuries through,
Each day Your mercies rain on us anew:
Shed on our way Your unquenchable light,
Baring our errors and leading us right.

Word of Creation, effective and pure,
Though to the perishing foolish, obscure:
In You we find our salvation secure;
Not of our merits, nor splendor or might,
But Your own blood, precious in the Lord's sight.

Spirit of Holiness, tender that gift,
Bought at such cost, every burden to lift.
Mend us, transform us with medicine swift,
Drawing us upward through tumult and night
Till we see Zion, unblemished and bright.

285. Evangelism Hymn

God so loved man, He gave His Son,
True God Himself and with Him one:
Therefore all who in Christ believe
Shall not be lost, but life receive.

Through faith alone we find God's grace;
No work of ours decides the case.
Despite our glory, zeal and pride,
All rests with God who served and died.

Go, Jesus ordered, with the aim
To bathe all nations in God's name:
Teach them, He said, what I have taught,
And know that I desert you not.

Now let no judgment be preferred
Against Christ's clear and certain word:
God's writ is tested, proven pure;
His gift of faith, our armor sure.

He wants all to believe and live;
So to all nations He will give
The means His blessed realm to see:
What none could earn, to gain for free.

So let no moment run to waste:
Proclaim God's love with zest, with haste,
Till all who have the tidings heard
See on His throne the living Word.

286. The Walk of Faith
Tune: UNTESTED (RDF, 2021)

O Lord, should I untested be,
Unnoticed by the foe of old,
Or if my own prosperity
Should make be bold,
Dethrone my pride
That none but You my trust may hold,
Who for me died.

Yet, Lord, if I must stand a trial—
Sin, sickness, sorrow, struggle, loss—
Let no despair that seat defile;
Show me Your cross.
Though I am weak,
Your strength suffices every cause;
That will I seek.

And now, Lord, when the scoffers leer,
Nerve me to answer their rebuff.
If but one word from You I hear,
It is enough!
I'll gladly die,
And pass beyond the world's reproof
To You on high.

I've got quite a few more of these "scratch and dent" hymns to buff out. I'm not going to get any more done today, though. This is serious work! Music for these hymns will be available on request.

*Previous "scratch and dent" hymns are posted here, by number: one two three four five six seven eight and, believe it or not, zero.

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