Wednesday, January 31, 2018

236. Litany Hymn for the Aged

With this hymn, I complete my planned series of "litany meter" ( hymns for times in the Christian life. Its basic concept is inspired by the idea that the disabled elderly of the church have an important spiritual office: prayer warriors. Perhaps because I had this office in mind, I made it the most strictly litany-like prayer in the series. The original tune is titled PLENUS DIERUM, though in the final draft the hymn uses the phrase "full of years" instead of "full of days."
Hear us, Ancient One of days,
Softly though we sing our praise,
As the aged faithful raise
Psalms of intercession.

Seasoned well and full of years,
Missing loved ones and careers,
Prey at times to doubts and fears,
First we ask: Be with us.

Help our weakness; ease our pain;
Show us our first love again,
Now by wisdom's light made plain;
Seal to us Your promise.

As You humble us to serve
More by patience than with verve,
Tune for prayer each restless nerve;
Make our struggles fruitful.

Failing eyes train on Your face;
Stir weak hearts to beat with grace,
Feeble hands Your deeds to trace,
Dull ears Your voice heeding.

Nor, Lord, let the young forget
Who their feet on life's way set:
Senior saints who serve them yet,
Daily called to battle.

Arm us for this unseen fray,
By Your word and faith to pray,
Fighting pow'rs by night and day,
Grappling for a blessing.

Though dishonored be our lot,
Or with tribulation fraught,
Past endurance test us not;
Yet, Lord, as You will it.

Since it pleased You to extend
Thus our life, so to its end,
To our cry Your ear now bend;
Hear our supplication.

For the church, for those who rule,
Those in field, in shop, in school,
Those at arms, in bondage cruel,
Hear our supplication.

For the lonely, sick, and poor,
Lost in city, sea, or moor,
Wanting but an open door
To Your word, Lord, hear us.

For the little and unborn,
Bearing mothers, households torn,
Little lambs of parents shorn,
And for widows, hear us.

For the heartsick and bereaved,
Those by any trouble grieved,
That their woes may be relieved,
By Your cross, Lord, hear us.

Should at last we live a day
Past our strength to watch and pray,
Close our eyes and take away
All remaining weakness.

After death's sharp sting has stung,
When this age's knell is rung,
Raise us, Christ, again made young,
To rejoice forever.

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