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Tuesday, March 09, 2010 

O God, Thou faithful God

For our opening hymn on Sunday we sang O God, Thou faithful God by Johann Heerman which can be found on page 696 of the Lutheran Service Book. What a great hymn! While not in Lenten section (we are in Lent ya know!) of the hymnal what a terrific hymn to sing this time of the year.

What struck me more than anything else was the last two stanzas in that they confess that which we hope for; the bodily resurrection after we pass through this life’s final portal. Take a look:

Let me depart this life
Confiding in my Savior;
Do Thou my soul receive
That it may live forever;
And let my body have
A quiet resting place
Within a Christian grave;
And let it sleep in peace.

And on that solemn day
When all the dead are waking,
Stretch o’er my grave Thy hand,
Thyself my slumbers breaking.
Then let me hear Thy voice,
Change Thou this earthly frame,
And bid me aye rejoice
With those who love Thy Name.

Maybe those stanzas stood out because this week marks a two year anniversery of the death of one of my oldest and dearest friends. Maybe it was because of the class I’m currently teaching in Sunday school where I remind the students over and over that our faith is, as the writer to the Hebrews states, a faith in things hoped for and not seen even as we study the historicity of the Bible.

Either way, the last two stanzas brought me comfort as I sung them with the assurance and confidence that no more does death have its sting thanks to Christ’s work on the cross.

Here is the hymn in its entirety:

O God, Thou faithful God,
Thou fountain ever flowing,
Without whom nothing is,
All perfect gifts bestowing,
Grant me a healthy frame,
And give me, Lord, within,
A conscience free from blame,
A soul unhurt by gain.

And grant me, Lord, to do,
With ready heart and willing,
Whate’er Thou shalt command,
My calling here fulfilling;
And do it when I ought,
With zeal and joyfulness,
And bless the work I’ve wrought,
For Thou must give success.

Oh, let me never speak
What bounds of truth exceedeth;
Grant that no idle word
From out my mouth proceedeth;
And then, when in my place
I must and ought to speak,
My words grant power and grace
Lest I offend the weak.

If dangers gather round,
Still keep me calm and fearless;
Help me to bear the cross
When life is dark and cheerless,
To overcome my foe
With words and actions kind;
When counsel I would know,
Good counsel let me find.

And let me with all men,
As far as in me lieth,
In peace and friendship live,
And if Thy gift supplieth
Great wealth and honor fair,
Then this refuse me not,
That naught be mingled there
Of goods unjustly got.
If Thou a longer life
Hast here on earth decreed me;

If Thou through many ills
To age at length wilt lead me,
Thy patience on me shed.
Avert all sin and shame
And crown my hoary head
With honor free from blame.

Let me depart this life
Confiding in my Savior;
Do Thou my soul receive
That it may live forever;
And let my body have
A quiet resting place
Within a Christian grave;
And let it sleep in peace.

And on that solemn day
When all the dead are waking,
Stretch o’er my grave Thy hand,
Thyself my slumbers breaking.
Then let me hear Thy voice,
Change Thou this earthly frame,
And bid me aye rejoice
With those who love Thy Name

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He was almost my oldest and dearest friend too.
That honor, my friend, goes to you.

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  • I'm Frank Gillespie
  • From The Haut South
  • Confessional Lutheran
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