Sunday, November 30, 2014

Scratched and Dented 4

Aaaand still more hymns rescued from the abysmal mediocrity of my high school and (mostly) college poetry album. After a bit of touching up, maybe they're just a tad less mediocre. More on the order of "better than expected under the circumstances." (EDIT: Hymn numbers added)

80. Te Deum Hymn

To God we lift our song of praise,
Father and Lord from endless days:
All earth is raptly praying.
All angels cry aloud and sing,
Sun, moon and stars and everything,
Cherub and seraph saying:
Holy art Thou, Lord God of Hosts!
Earth, sky and all within them boast
Thy regal pomp and majesty;
The good apostles bend the knee;
The prophets also worship Thee
As one, Thy light displaying.

All who were slaughtered in Thy name
Laud, honor and adore the same,
Gathered beneath Thy great throne.
Thy holy universal church
That in Thy given scripture search,
Trust and confess Thee alone:
Father of endless majesty,
Author of life in verity;
Thy lovely, true and only Son,
By whom redemption's work was done;
And Spirit, Thou consoling one;
As One in Three art Thou known.

Thou, Christ, art King of majesty,
The Father's Son eternally,
True God of true God Thou art.
Thou undertook to rescue man,
Stooping, in Thy redeeming plan,
Of human flesh to take part.
In bands of death then wast Thou draped,
Yet from its sharpness Thou escaped,
Thus making wide Thy glorious hall
For all who heed Thy joyous call,
That mortal man need fear no pall
With faith in Thee in his heart.

At God's right hand art seated Thou,
Filled with His splendor even now;
Soon wilt Thou come returning,
Glad as the sun when ends the night;
Then shalt Thou judge us all aright,
Our deepest thoughts discerning.
Help us, Thy servants therefore pray,
For whom in bleeding Thou didst pay;
Count us among Thy blessed ones
O'er whom Thy tender mercy runs;
Strike out the evil we have done,
For which we should be burning.

Lord, save the people of Thy flock;
Bless their inheritance, O Rock;
Lead them, uplift them ever!
Each day, Thy greatness we proclaim,
Endlessly worshiping Thy name,
World without end, forever.
Keep us this day from sin, good Lord;
Thy will be done, Thy grace outpoured.
Lord, let Thy mercy be on us,
For in Thy kindness is our trust;
Grant, then, that hoping as I must,
I be confounded never.

81. Humiliation Hymn

Almighty God in lowly form
And frailest human flesh appears,
Unto a simple virgin born,
Fulfilling what of ages seers
Beheld across the chasm of years.

Among His sinful creatures dwelt
Their sinless Maker, yet His own
Spurned Him with spite, and evil dealt
God's holy and all-knowing Son,
By chosen Israel all unknown.

Our Prince in beggar's garment came;
In weakness came the Lord of might.
When earthly despots sought the same,
The King of kings and Lord of light
In midnight's darkest hour took flight.

Without a place to lay His head
Sojourned the God of providence;
With prostitutes and robbers fed
The Holy One, that penitence
Might starve their pride and decadence.

The voice that quelled the surging tide
And stilled the tempest by command
Turned not the waves of pain aside
Nor justice's unjust demand,
But, sinless, bore sin's reprimand.

Upon the cursèd tree was slain
The Righteous One in place of man,
Enduring all the sinner's pain:
God suff'ring by God's timeless plan
God's wrath, as God's unblemished Lamb.

In life brought low, and crushed in death,
Guiltless He bore our guilt and shame;
Therefore all having life and breath
Exalt the humbled Savior's name;
The glory of His cross proclaim!

82. Baptism Hymn

Purify this child, O Holy Ghost!
Ordinary water
Cannot save, for all in sin are lost
From our eldest father.
Yet this flood, infused with grace
Now regenerates our race.
Consecrate this child, O Lord,
Born by water and Your Word.

Blind and dead in sin we all would be,
Dead to our dear Savior;
From the womb and to eternity
We were lost forever!
As the flood once drowned our race,
Here You cleanse us by Your grace,
That the new man might arise,
Opening anointed eyes.

By this bath is joined in Jesus' grave
A corrupted nature;
By His rising all the world to save,
Rises a new creature:
Transferred to our Lord's domain,
Sanctified and born again,
Freed as none elsewise can be:
Freed to live eternally.

Welcome now this member of the Lord,
With us to be numbered;
Help it grow in knowledge of the Word,
Never to be sundered!
Bless and keep (him/her) in Your grace,
That this child may sing Your praise!
Granting angels to attend,
Mark and keep (him/her) to the end!

83. Confession Hymn

With heavy heart I kneel before You,
Bearing a load of guilt and shame.
In deepest sorrow I implore You,
Have pity, Lord, in Jesus' name!

My nakedness cannot be hidden;
My works avail but filthy rags.
Though I had used my hands as bidden,
My heart digs in its heels and drags.

On my account I beg no pardon,
So loathsome are my works and vain;
They only serve my heart to harden
And to the gates of hell amain.

O that Your justice might ignore them,
Turning to Jesus' work instead!
Cast them away, Lord, I deplore them;
I lay my hope on Him who bled.

Pray send Your Spirit now to move me
Each morning to repent and trust,
And every night correct, reprove me,
Bowing my pride into the dust!

I ask no license to keep sinning,
But grace in grace to persevere.
Therefore each day from dawn's beginning
Unto the dusk, O God, be near!

So to the Lord I cry, confessing,
Since such a sinful man am I
That if my works foretold my blessing,
I would be cursed indeed and die.

Take up my life, and do Your pleasure!
It would be lost in my frail hands.
On Golgotha I find my treasure
And my release from Satan's bands.

Each day, each hour the devil's scrimmage
Would push me back from off the field;
So long therefore as Jesus' image
Is formed in me, I shall not yield.

Convict me, Savior, that forgiven
I be by mighty word and sign,
That rather forward I be driven
Till in Your crown of stars I shine.

84. Remnant Hymn

A remnant, Lord, in mercy save
Of this Your body's sickly limb;
From Israel true, from Abram's sons,
Shine light where now our path is dim.
In fashion of Your heavenly love,
Preserve Your heritage!

With strife, alas, Your church is torn;
With worldly hearts Your earthly flock
Puts lust and greed before Your word
While hirelings herd them from their Rock.
As oft before, again restore
Your faithful heritage!

The hour is late; Lord, hear our prayer,
And lead us from these crumbling walls
To everlasting mansions where
No sorrow any soul befalls;
From leaning spires to perfect choirs
Redeem Your heritage!

Till then may we in godly zeal
Cast out hypocrisy, despair
From heart and life, and move to heal
The breach within Your precincts fair.
Enrich our soul and make us whole,
A lively heritage!

85. Mission Statement

We are forgiven in Christ Jesus,
Gathered by the Savior's voice
In His Spirit to rejoice,
To hear the Word of Him who frees us,
Study, and the same to share,
One another's griefs to bear;

Now in His sacraments united
We, rejoicing in God's love
And commissioned from above,
In this good purpose have delighted:
To convey the Gospel call
And salvation's joy to all.

To this end it is our intention
To birth children of the Lord
Through baptism and the Word,
And draw them onward by extension
Of the sin-absolving food
Of His body and His blood.

Therefore we place above all treasure,
Power, favor, fame, and ease,
Christ's own office of the keys.
And though He send us grief with pleasure,
Inward gain with outward loss,
We grow, trained upon His cross.

I find, more and more often as I revise these old, dubiously successful attempts at hymnody, that a reliable way to improve on them is to trim syllables out of the meter, and sometimes lines out of the stanza structure. I have scratched whole stanzas (and, frankly whole hymns), and I have also added stanzas where I felt they were needed.

The end results range from "so close to the original that you have took close to tell the difference" to "all but unrecognizable." There are many, many more to come. I can't believe how prolific I was at this period - by which I mean the vicinity of 1994, a date noted in the manuscript of at least one of these hymns.

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