Thursday, October 29, 2015

150. Hymn for the 11th Sunday after Trinity

With this, at least the 150th original hymn I have written, I return to my "Sundays of the Church Year" hymn project. It is based on the story of the Pharisee and the publican (i.e., tax collector) told by Jesus in Luke 18:9-14, the Gospel for Trinity 11. In the last stanza there is just a touch of the Epistle from 1 Corinthians 15:1-10. The tune is SPIRIT OF CHRIST, which I wrote earlier this year for a hymn by my friend Matthew. Actually I ruthlessly bullied him into revising and condensing his original poem, which wouldn't have fit this tune, and in the end I think he liked his original version better; so perhaps this is not so much a case of reusing an existing tune as rescuing one all Tinkerbell like from the edge of oblivion.
Hear, you who trust your rightness,
Thinking yourselves exempt
While you, with feigned politeness,
View others with contempt:
Hear Christ describe the Pharisee
Who, praying to the Lord,
Other men’s sins abhorred!
Praising his pious purity,
He had his full reward.

Hear, you all-but-despairing,
Knowing your sinful ways,
Toward heaven hardly daring
To lift a hopeful gaze:
Hear Christ describe the sinner who,
Beating his breast in shame,
Owned sinner as his name!
Justified was he of the two
Who to the temple came.

Hear you indeed the story
Of the most holy cross,
Nor heed the lie of glory
Told to secure your loss!
Hold fast the gospel that alone
Points to your Lord who died!
Thereby does He provide
Grace to approach the Father’s throne,
Perfectly justified.

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