Monday, February 18, 2019

271. Hymn for Students of Theology

I planned this hymn as part of a trilogy with "Hymn for Good Preaching" and "Hymn for the Liturgy." Like those two, it is set to its own original tune, titled SEMINARY and written during the 3 a.m. hour today. While I'm mentioning the time of day when I finished writing this hymn, I hope it will partially excuse the fact that I changed rhyme schemes between stanzas 2 and 3. I honestly didn't notice I had done this until I went back over the whole hymn after penning the last line. At that point, I felt that correcting the versification gaffe would do more harm than good, so I let it be. Perhaps it's for the best. I'll bet a lot of students of theology know all about losing the thread of a written assignment and faking their way through it anyway. Wink, nudge.
Call, Lord, from humble fisher’s net;
Call from the tax collector’s booth—
From ev’ry walk of life—and set
Men’s hearts upon Your word of truth
That, answering our cry of need,
They may Your flock protect and feed.

Teach, Lord, though heads be hard as oak;
Teach into hearts stone-cold and dead
The mind-renewing word You spoke,
The way of life You blazed ahead
That, counting all they know as loss,
They may with joy take up their cross.

Fit them, through study, prayer and pain,
Your holy scripture to explain,
And with pure doctrine form their mind
As one, that they may loose and bind,
According to Your perfect will,
Both hot and cold, both good and ill.

Show them, and give them heart and nerve,
How they must suffer while they serve;
For none who follows You, O Christ,
Can be unused to sacrifice.
Embrace them, lest they come to harm,
With Spirit’s grace, with brother’s arm.

Devote their hearts, without a qualm,
To hymn, prayer, canticle and psalm
So, in the hour when men’s words fail,
The words You give us may prevail.
Teach them to handle holy fare
With all due reverence and care.

At last, in robes of grace arrayed,
On them let holy hands be laid;
Then, Lord, let no one doubt the call
That set apart a few from all
To guard and feed Your hungry flock
And lead the thirsty to their Rock.

We praise You, God, who made it rush
Forth in a sweet, refreshing gush;
We praise You, Son of God, as well,
Who with Your people ever dwell,
With God and with the Spirit one:
Amen, Lord; let Your will be done.

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