Saturday, February 27, 2021

294. Prayer of the Pastor

Here is a hymn based on Luther's sacristy prayer, a fancy framed print of which a father in the ministry gave me when I was ordained and that I often read with prayer as I went about my work as a pastor. It goes like this:
Lord, you know how unworthy I am to fill so great and important an office. Were it not for your counsel, I would have utterly failed long ago. Therefore I call upon you for guidance. Gladly will I give my heart and voice to this work. I want to teach the people. I want always to seek and study in your Word, and eagerly to meditate upon it. Use me as your instrument. Lord, do not forsake me. If I were alone, I would ruin everything. Amen.
I'm setting it to a tune titled PAY HEED that I wrote in 2019 for a hymn by another hymn-writer, Rev. Alan Kornacki, Jr. The version of the tune that he liked (actually, I altered it at his request) alters the original tune's 11-beat rhythmic pattern (alternating bars of 5/4 and 3/2) to a more conventional 12-beat phrase structure (3/2 throughout). I like the "limping" rhythm better, so it's the original version for this hymn. Please excuse the incorrect placement of the next-to-last fermata; it should be one note to the left.
You know, Lord, how unworthy
I am for such a role:
This calling as a shepherd,
This care for every soul.
Were You not near to counsel,
Long since I must have failed;
And so I beg Your guidance,
Who o'er the world prevailed.

My heart and voice I tender
With gladness to this task,
In all good faith to render
Full measure; so I ask:
Help me to teach Your people,
To search and plumb Your will;
To taste Your word in earnest,
And otherwise keep still.

If so it please You, make me
Your instrument to use.
Do not forsake Your servant!
Were I Your help to lose,
I'd doubtless bring to ruin
All that I touch and more;
So, nourish me and help me
Out of Your mercy's store.

No comments: