Saturday, February 13, 2016

192. Hymn for Perseverance

The full title of this hymn is "The Seven Churches of the Apocalypse: For Perseverance." The first two stanzas paraphrase John's description of Christ as He appeared to him in Revelation 1. Stanzas 3-9 attack the salients of the letters Christ dictated in Revelation 2-3 to seven churches of Asia Minor, what is now the western part of Asian Turkey, which may be profitable reading for all churches at all times. The last stanza goes into some of the hymn of the angels and saints in heaven in the next couple chapters. I haven't picked a tune for this hymn, but I was thinking of punting it to Robert Potterton III, who came through so nicely with an original tune for Hymn 191, "For a Cheerful Heart." EDIT: Robert came through again with a tune that he titled SEVEN CHURCHES. I approve. Here is his melody, with only one very slight alteration (I asked him to lower one note by a half-step):
Christ, faithful Witness, Firstborn from the dead,
Who made us kings and priests, Himself the Head—
Who washed us of our sins in His own blood—
The First and Last, creation’s Ground and End—
Once in the Spirit, trumpet-like, did send
His Word to John while he on Patmos stood.

In Spirit, John beheld the risen Lord,
Whose visage shone; His voice like waters roared.
His eyes like flame, His word a two-edged blade,
He was and is to come, was slain yet lives;
He holds the keys of death and hell, yet gives
His word to men. “Write this for Me,” He bade.

“To the Ephesian church’s angel write:
I know your patient zeal for what is right.
Therefore repent; return to your first love!
Do as you did at first, when you knew Me,
That you may eat of that life-giving tree
That stands amid God’s Paradise above!

“To Smyrna’s angel write: I know your need;
They who despise your woes, blaspheme indeed.
Let not what you must suffer cause alarm;
For some of you will stand the devil’s test.
Be faithful, and receive My crown, and rest
With those the second death can never harm!

“To Pergamos write: I know where you dwell;
You kept My faith before the throne of hell.
Beware of them whose doctrine is unsure,
Lest My word war with you; instead, believe
What I pass down, and hidden bread receive,
Your name engraved in diamond, hard and pure!

“To Thyatira write: More than before,
Your works and service I cannot ignore.
Yet tolerant of Jezebel you are,
Whose falsehoods even some of you seduce;
Repent, before I punish her abuse!
Endure, and I will send the morning star!

“To Sardis write: I know you have a name,
That having lived, are dead; yet some remain
Who walk with me, unsoiled in their belief.
Shore up that which remains! Repent and fast!
Remember what you heard of me at last!
Watch, lest I come upon you as a thief!

“To Philadelphia write: Since you were true,
Behold, a door that none can close to you!
You will I spare when trouble’s hour comes down;
For faithfully your trial you withstood.
Therefore, dear pillar in the house of God,
Hold fast, that none may take away your crown!

“Laodicea, neither hot nor cold,
Come, buy from Me the rich, fire-proven gold,
And clothe your nakedness in robes of white;
Anoint your eyes with salve, that you may see!
Behold, I knock; bar not the door to Me!
Endure, and join Me on My throne of light!”

O holy Lord and worthy Lamb of God,
Slain to redeem all nations by Your blood,
Help us endure in hope this hour of pain!
All honor, wisdom, strength, and wealth are Yours;
From You our whitened robes, our open doors,
That we may suffer all, a crown to gain!

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