Wednesday, March 3, 2021

297. Contentment Hymn

This hymn has been on my heart for a long time. A theme of my life since I resigned from my calling as a pastor has been learning to love where I am, where God has set me in life, and not to be miserable about where I'm not. With references to Philippians 4, 1 Timothy 6 and Hebrews 13, here it is at last. I want to write an original tune for it, which will probably be titled CONTENTMENT. Or maybe I'll farm it out to some other composer in my circle of hymn writers, which I assure you is a thing.

Rejoice in Christ! Indeed, the church rejoices!
Do not be anxious, for He is at hand.
With prayer and thanks to God lift up your voices,
Who gives us peace that none can understand.

Lest, as for Naboth's vineyard Ahab sickened,
Our souls with fretful coveting be rent,
Instead, to joy let every heart be quickened:
Therefore, beloved, let us be content.

With God's help, I will study not to grumble,
Whatever state I live in, to endure:
For should I be exalted or lie humble,
Enriched or needy, Jesus' strength is sure.

My brethren's alms to heaven waft their savor,
As pleasing as an immolated bull;
To my distress their kindness lends a flavor;
So I have all I need, indeed, I'm full.

God grant that I may not rue my vocation,
Nor feel lost opportunity as pain;
For it lies not with me to choose my station,
But godliness contented is great gain.

You rich, be not conceited! Your possessions,
Uncertain as they are, deserve no trust.
To God instead commit your heart's professions,
Who in our hands all that we need will thrust.

Say boldly: What harm now can overtake us?
God is our help; away with all complaints!
For Christ has sworn He never will forsake us;
So be content with what you have, dear saints.

UPDATE: One of those real, live, hymn-writing friends, Rev. Tapani Simojoki, suggested that I use this existing tune by Finnish composer Erkki Melartin (1875-1937), which was set in an Ev. Luth. Church of Finland hymnal to a translation from a hymn by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Although I'm also told it was originally written in 1923 for a Christmas carol, I'm going to title it after the Bonhoeffer hymn in Anna-Maija Raittila's Finnish translation, HYVYYDEN VOIMA. Thanks, Tapani!

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