Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Two Overdue Hymns

I wrote these two hymns last night, too late for the purpose I had in mind for them. I had been thinking about writing them since my father, the Rev. Robin Fish, late of Shaped by the Cross Lutheran Church in Laurie, Mo., received a call to Immanuel Lutheran Church in rural Verndale, Minn. By the time I finished working on these texts, he had already accepted the call and moved out of state. Ah, well, maybe they will be "useful" (a big word with me) to someone else.

174. Farewell Hymn
This may be just about my shortest hymn text ever. It only had two objectives: to express the Christian idea of "fare well," and the complimentary idea of "bide well." The tune is NUNC DIMITTIS, from Geneva, 1548.
Fare well, in Jesus’ name!
Go, bear abroad the same,
With zeal for His word burning
Till, if it please the Lord,
You be to us restored,
Into His courts returning!

Bide well, where you may bide,
If at our Savior’s side
Should be our next glad greeting!
Our love, this little while,
Shall shorten every mile
Hence to that cherished meeting.

175. Pastoral Call Hymn
With this hymn, I took great pains to choose words that could equally be prayed by a calling congregation or one whose pastor has received a call to another congregation. In the first draft there were lots of braces of alternate pronouns, such as (them/us) and (their/our). Eventually I figured out a way to get rid of them without nullifying my stated objective. The tune is an original one titled VOCATION.
Christ, pitying the multitude
Because they had no guide,
Called twelve apostles, that they should
The needed help provide.
Dear God, today we ask, we knock;
We seek a shepherd for Your flock
To pasture it on holy food,
That all be edified!

Lord, choose for them with holy care
One fit to bear Your keys:
Firm in Your word; in faithful prayer
Both earnest and at ease;
Apt to exhort, admonish, teach,
Keep holy offices, and preach;
Who will the cross with courage bear,
Not men but You to please!

Bless him to whom the call goes forth,
And keep His counsels pure
That, led by claims of sterling worth,
He find his duty sure.
Then, whether it be no or yes,
Bless those concerned in what he says,
O Lord, who wills that all the earth
For Your flock’s sake endures!

Let them to whom Your servant cleaves
Give heed to him, not grief;
If he remains, or if he leaves,
Unite us in belief!
The partings that divide our love
Will soon be mended, when above
Your flock, O Christ, at last receives
In You rest and relief.

No comments: