Friday, January 21, 2022

315. Blessedness Hymn

I heard a funeral sermon on the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12) yesterday, and it got me thinking about an idea for yet another hymn on that text – though, I believe, I've covered it twice before. Of course I want to put the kind of spin on the Beatitudes that points to Christ and, through Him, to the faithful; but I also wanted specifically to contrast what Christ calls blessed to what the world thinks. In other words, theology of the cross vs. theology of glory. Stand by for an update when I decide what tune to put it to.
You may have heard it said
What blessedness entails,
By human judgment led
To weigh with worldly scales;
But now believe instead
The Word who never fails:
Who triumphed as He bled
And rose, still marked by nails.

Men say the truly blest
Lay up an outward store;
But Christ's approval rests
On those in spirit poor.
With nothing in their hand
But sin's indicting stain,
Theirs is the promised land
Where priestly princes reign.

Men say the blest feel cheer,
A right heart's just reward,
And on a conscience clear
The oil of joy is poured.
But Christ says those who mourn
Find comfort in their grief:
His cross, whose way men scorn,
A beacon for belief.

Men say the blest are bold
And glow with righteous pride,
While Christ, for silver sold,
Went quietly and died.
Nay, rather 'tis the meek
He styles the heirs of earth:
Who turn the other cheek
And bear the mocker's mirth.

Men say 'tis blest to eat
And drink till one is filled;
Yet Christ, His work complete,
Felt thirst as He was killed.
Full righteousness He brings
To those who for it pine;
Those whom that hunger stings
Will in His kingdom dine.

Men say 'tis blest to see
Sharp judgment on one's foes
And vindicated be,
Repaid for all one's woes.
But Christ says those are blest
Who full of mercy live;
For they know mercy best,
Forgiv'n as they forgive.

Men say the blest are clean
By every outward norm:
Kept from all things obscene,
They hew to custom's form.
Christ says the pure in heart
Will view God's very face,
Who sees the inward part
And justifies by grace.

Men say the sons of light
Are armed by tithe and fast
To carry on the fight,
Resisting to the last.
The blest in Christ make peace
As He has made for them,
Proclaiming their release
From all things that condemn.

Men speak as man's eye sees,
A glory way in view.
God's wisdom disagrees;
And what He says is true.
Though you may bear a cross
For Jesus' righteousness,
Rejoice, despite all loss:
He will not fail to bless.

EDIT: You might have noticed that the rhyme scheme didn't turn out to be what you would have expected based on the first stanza, with only two rhymes per eight-line stanza. I'd like to say "that just goes to this hymn's theme of things not being what they seem at first look," but yeah, I chickened out. Feel free to tell people the story that makes me look smart, though.

EDIT AGAIN: Here's a tune I whipped up for this hymn, though it could also be sung to John Stainer's BLESSED HOME, or DENBY, or certain versions of ICH HALTE TREULICH STILL and MEIN SCHÖPFER STEH MIR BEI.

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