“How clear is our vocation, Lord,
When once we heed Your call:
To live according to Your Word
And daily learn, refreshed, restored,
That You are Lord of all
And will not let us fall.
But if, forgetful, we should find
Your yoke is hard to bear;
If worldly pressures fray the mind,
And love itself cannot unwind
Its tangled skein of care:
Our inward life repair.
We marvel how Your saints become
In hindrances more sure;
Whose joyful virtues put to shame
The casual way we wear Your name
And by our faults obscure
Your pow’r to cleanse and cure.
In what You give us, Lord, to do,
Together or alone,
In old routines or ventures new,
May we not cease to look to You,
The cross You hung upon
All You endeavored done.” Lutheran Service Book #853
One of my favorite things about the last school year was the hymn study we did using the Lutheran Service Book: Companion to the Hymns as the foundation. When I chose the hymns, I made sure to cover the major church seasons/festivals, picked some of my favorites as well as some of my students’ favorites, looked for some that were in The Illuminated Hymnal, and tried to make sure we had selections from a wide variety of times, places, and authors. Here’s a look a the full list, from the first week of school (I will always think of “Earth and All Stars” as the Lutheran dayschool Opening Service hymn!) to the last (which I definitely didn’t get through without crying!):
- “Earth and All Stars”
- “With the Lord Begin Your Task”
- “Jesus Loves Me”
- “God’s Own Child, I Gladly Say It”
- “We Praise You and Acknowledge You, O God”
- “Listen, God is Calling”
- “Christ, the Lord of Hosts Unshaken”
- “What is this Bread?”
- “Lord, Keep Us Steadfast in Your Word”
- “Thy Strong Word”
- “A Mighty Fortress is Our God”
- “For All the Saints”
- “Come, Ye Thankful People, Come”
- “Now Thank We All Our God”
- “Praise and Thanksgiving”
- “Savior of the Nations, Come”
- “Prepare the Royal Highway”
- “Where Shepherds Lately Knelt”
- “As with Gladness Men of Old”
- “Abide with Me”
- “‘Tis Good, Lord, To Be Here”
- “Swiftly Pass the Clouds of Glory”
- “Lift Every Voice and Sing”
- “Alleluia, Song of Gladness”
- “O Sacred Head, Now Wounded”
- “In Silent Pain the Eternal Son”
- “Lamb of God, Pure and Holy”
- “I Bind unto Myself Today”
- “Sing, My Tongue, the Glorious Battle”
- “Awake, My Heart with Gladness”
- “At the Lamb’s High Feast We Sing”
- “Jesus Christ is Risen Today”
- “Holy Spirit, the Dove Sent from Heaven”
- “Up through Endless Ranks of Angels”
- “Savior, Again to Thy Dear Name We Raise”
- “Go, My Children, with My Blessing”
Ladybug has already requested that we do more hymn studies in addition to our regular religion studies next year…I’m looking forward to choosing more of our favorites!
“The world against me rages,
Its fury I disdain;
Though bitter war it wages,
Its work is all in vain.
My heart from care is free,
No trouble troubles me.
Misfortune now is play,
And night is bright as day.” “Awake, My Heart, with Gladness” verse 5
Where shepherds lately knelt and kept the angel’s word,
I come in half belief, a pilgrim strangely stirred;
But there is room and welcome there for me,
But there is room and welcome there for me.
In that unlikely place I find Him as they said:
Sweet newborn babe, how frail! And in a manger bed:
A still, small voice to cry one day for me,
A still, small voice to cry one day for me.
How should I not have known Isaiah would be there,
His prophecies fulfilled? With pounding heart I stare:
A child, a son, the Prince of Peace for me,
A child, a son, the Prince of Peace for me.
Can I, will I forget how Love was born and burned
Its way into my heart–unasked, unforced, unearned,
To die, to live, and not alone for me,
To die, to live, and not alone for me?
“Christ, the Lord of hosts, unshaken
By the devil’s seething rage,
Thwarts the plan of Satan’s minions;
Wins the strife from age to age;
Conquers sin and death forever;
Slams them in their steely cage.
Michael fought the heav’nly battle,
Godly angels by his side;
Warred against the ancient serpent,
Foiled the beast, so full of pride,
Cast him earthbound with his angels;
Now he prowls, unsatisfied.
Long on earth the battle rages,
Since the serpent’s first deceit;
Twisted God’s command to Adam,
Made forbidden fruit look sweet.
Then the curse of God was spoken:
‘You’ll lie crushed beneath His feet!’
Jesus came, this word fulfilling,
Trampled Satan, death defied;
Bore the brunt of our temptation,
On the wretched tree He died.
Yet to life was raised victorious;
By His life our life supplied.
Swift as lightning falls the tyrant
From his heav’nly perch on high.
As the word of Jesus’ vict’ry
Floods the earth and fills the sky.
Wounded by a wound eternal
Now his judgement has drawn nigh!
Jesus, send Your angel legions
When the foe would us enslave.
Hold us fast when sin assaults us;
Come, then, Lord, Your people save.
Overthrow at last the dragon;
Send him to his fiery grave.” Lutheran Service Book #521
Of course this Pentecost hymn was an appropriate closing hymn this Pentecost Sunday, but the last verse had extra meaning for our congregation today, and was both a comfort and heart-wrenching at the same time.
O day full of grace that now we see
Appearing on earth’s horizon,
Bring light from our God that we may be
Replete in His joy this season.
God, shine for us now in this dark place;
Your name on our hearts emblazon.
O day full of grace, O blessed time,
Our Lord on the earth arriving;
Then came to the world that light sublime,
Great joy for us all retrieving;
For Jesus all mortals did embrace,
All darkness and shame removing.
For Christ bore our sins, and not His own,
When He on the cross was hanging;
And then He arose and moved the stone
That we, unto Him belonging,
Might join with angelic hosts to raise
Our voices in endless singing.
God came to us then at Pentecost,
His Spirit new life revealing,
That we might no more from Him be lost,
All darkness for us dispelling.
His flame will the mark of sin efface
And bring to us all His healing.
When we on that final journey go
That Christ is for us preparing,
We’ll gather in song, our hearts aglow,
All joy of the heavens sharing,
And walk in the light of God’s own place,
With angels His name adoring. Lutheran Service Book #530
This hymn was written in honor of the 100th anniversary of Hope Lutheran Church in St. Louis, but the words apply to all of Christ’s churches!
As stone on living stone is set
For worship on this ground,
Hold fast onto the Cornerstone,
The one foundation sound.
Held firm through generations
With God’s own power shored.
In ages past, for years to come,
Our hope is in the Lord.
Now we approach this holy place
With confidence secure;
The Lamb of God has cleansed our hearts
And made our spirits pure.
The sacrifice completed,
His holy blood outpoured.
O people, come and marvel here
What love Christ will afford.
When steeples fall and bells are mute
And temple stones thrown down,
We waver not but trust in Him
Who wears th’eternal crown.
The Church awaits with longing
For all to be restored.
Though ruins lie about our feet,
Our King is still adored.
Bear witness to the nations, then.
The Day is drawing near.
In full assurance, spread the Word.
In love, serve without fear.
Though persecution threatens,
The Word of God abhorred,
The faithful One is coming soon
And gives His sure reward.
No church or temple will be seen
When saints and angels meet.
The Church Triumphant will bow down
And worship at Christ’s feet.
Prepare all hearts and voices
To praise in joyful chord:
“In ages past and evermore,
Our hope is in the Lord!”
Maybe it’s the darkness of winter, but I’m really enjoying the “evening” hymns in Lutheran Service Book right now!
Christ, mighty Savior, Light of all creation,
You make the daytime radiant with the sunlight
And to the night give glittering adornment,
Stars in the heavens.
Now comes the day’s end as the sun is setting,
Mirror of daybreak, pledge of resurrection;
While in the heavens choirs of stars appearing
Hallow the nightfall.
Therefore we come now evening rights to offer,
Joyfully chanting holy hymns to praise You,
With all creation joining hearts and voices
Singing Your glory.
Give heed, we pray You, to our supplication,
That You may grant us pardon for offenses,
Strength for our weak hearts, rest for aching bodies,
Soothing the weary.
Though bodies slumber, hearts shall keep their vigil,
Forever resting in the peace of Jesus,
In light or darkness worshipping our Savior
Now and forever. Lutheran Service Book #881
I haven’t shared a hymn here in quite some time. This is one of my new favorite hymns, and one I don’t remember singing much in the past. I especially like the fifth verse, and wish I could have it printed on the wall above our bed!
All praise to Thee, my God, this night
For all the blessings of the light.
Keep me, O keep me, King of kings,
Beneath Thine own almighty wings.
Forgive me, Lord, for Thy dear Son,
The ill that I this day have done,
That with the world, myself, and Thee,
I, ere I sleep, at peace may be.
Teach me to live that I may dread
The grave as little as my bed.
Teach me to die that so I may
Rise glorious at the awefull day.
Oh, may my soul in Thee repose,
And may sweet sleep mine eyelids close,
Sleep that shall me more vig’rous make
To serve my God when I awake!
When in the night I sleepless lie,
My soul with heav’nly thoughts supply;
Let no ill dreams disturb my rest,
No pow’rs of darkness me molest.
Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heav’nly host:
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Lutheran Service Book #883