Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Photo of the Week

Now be my heart inspired to sing
The glories of my Savior-King,
Jesus the Lord:
How bright his beauties are!

- from Isaac Watts' hymnographic rendering of Psalm 45

Monday, October 28, 2019

Quote of the Week

"Prayer does not fit us for the greater work; 
Prayer is the greater work."

- Oswald Chambers, early 20th-century pastor and writer, 
author of My Utmost for His Highest

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Lord, Pour Out Your Spirit (Prayer Anthem)

(Photo by Giovanni Dall'Orto, Wikimedia Commons)
These past few months we've laid out a challenge at church to take a year to commit to concerted prayer for revival--that is, for a fresh movement of God's work in and through us, and reaching our community in new ways--and this new hymn was inspired by that commitment. Its verses lift up successive prayers for our church, our local area, our nation, and the world. In its repetitive nature, it fits with my "prayer anthem" genre of songs--designed to be easily memorized and sung as a prayer any time of day or night without having to look up the words. The tune here is that of the classic hymn "More about Jesus" (with a slight tweak to the timing). I originally posted a slightly different version of this song a couple months ago, so if you'd prefer to use the original, you can find it here.

Lord, Pour Out Your Spirit (Revival Prayer)

God of our hope, we raise this prayer,
Placing our church beneath your care:
Here in this Body have your way;

Reign in this very place today!

     Lord, pour out your Spirit!
     Lord, pour out your Spirit!
     As we proclaim the Gospel call,
     Lord, let revival's fire fall!

God of our hope, we raise this prayer,
Placing our homes beneath your care:
Here in this city have your way;

Reign in this very place today!


God of our hope, we raise this prayer,
Placing our country in your care:
Here in this nation have your way;

Reign in this very place today!


God of our hope, we raise this prayer,
Placing our world in your care:
In all the nations have your way;

Reign in this very place today!


Saturday, October 26, 2019

Saturday Synaxis

I should like to speak with you, my God,
And yet what else can I speak of but you?
Indeed, could anything at all exist
Which had not been present with you from all eternity,
Which didn't have its true home
And most intimate explanation in your mind and heart?
Isn't everything I ever say really a statement about you?...
What could I say about you except that you are my God,
The God of my beginning and end, 
God of my joy and my need, 
God of my life?

- Karl Rahner

Friday, October 25, 2019

Hymn of the Week: Glory Be to God

This week's work is a Trinitarian hymn of praise. It should fit most tunes with an meter. I've set it to a version of the tune associated with a little-known work of the early 20th century, the "Brigade Hymn" (composed by the founder of the boys' discipleship program called Christian Service Brigade).

Glory Be to God

Glory be to God our Father,
Maker of all things,
Fountainhead of love and power:
There is none like him!

     Praise be ever to our Maker,
     Praise be to our Lord!
     May his glory fill the earth,
     Both now and evermore!

Glory be to Christ our Savior,
Sacrifice for sin;
He has triumphed in his death
And when he rose again!

     Praise be ever to our Savior,
     Praise be to our Lord!
     May his glory fill the earth,
     Both now and evermore!

Glory to the Holy Spirit,
Counselor and friend,
Comforter and giver of
His blessings without end!

     Praise be ever to the Spirit,
     Praise be to our Lord!
     May his glory fill the earth,
     Both now and evermore!

Glory be to God forever,
Blessed Trinity,
Infinite in joy and mercy,
Grace and unity!

     Praise be ever to the Father,
     Spirit, and the Son!
     Glory to the One-in-Three,
     The endless Three-in-One!

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Photo of the Week

There is a safe and secret place beneath the wings Divine,
Reserved for all the heirs of grace; O be that refuge mine!
The least and feeblest there may bide, uninjured and unawed;
While thousands fall on every side, he rests secure in God.

- verses 1 & 2 of the hymn "There Is a Safe and Secret Place," by Henry Francis Lyte, 19th cent.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Quote of the Week

"Nothing can bring greater happiness than doing God's will for the love of God."

- Miguel Febres Cordero, late 19th-century Ecuadorian Catholic cleric

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Saturday Synaxis

God our Father, we thank you for the world and for all your gifts to us: for the sky above, the earth beneath our feet, and the wonderful process which provides food to maintain life. We thank your for our crops, and for the skills and techniques needed to grow and use them properly. Help us to use your gifts in the spirit of the giver, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

- J. R. Worsdall

Friday, October 18, 2019

Hymn of the Week: A Lighthouse of Mercy

This week's new hymn is a prayer that we--as individuals, families, churches, and the global Body of Christ--will be active and effective in shining the light of the Gospel. It's written to a slightly modified version of the tune to the early 20th-century hymn "Nothing Between."

A Lighthouse of Mercy

I want to be a witness for Jesus,
Shining his light by word and by deed;
Lord, let your Kingdom come as in heaven;
Here is your servant: O Lord, send me!

     Lord, make my life a lighthouse of mercy;
     Let your light shine in all that I do:
     May the lost see the joy of your Gospel,
     Leading them homeward, leading to you.

Lord, may the grace of your love be with us,
Filling the moments of daily life,
So that with friends, with family and neighbors,
We may reflect your radiant light.

     Lord, make our home a lighthouse of mercy;
     Let your light shine in all that we do:
     May the lost see the joy of your Gospel,
     Leading them homeward, leading to you.

Let your great love fill this congregation;
Lord, bless this church with fruits of your grace:
Pour out the pow'r of your Holy Spirit,
That we may follow all of your ways.

     Lord, make our church a lighthouse of mercy;
     Let your light shine in all that we do:
     May the lost see the joy of your Gospel,
     Leading them homeward, leading to you.

In all the nations, Lord, may your people
Live as ambassadors of your reign:
Shining your light, declaring your praises;
'Til every knee will bow at your name!

     Lord, make your saints a lighthouse of mercy;
     Let your light shine in all that we do:
     May the lost see the joy of your Gospel,
     Leading them homeward, leading to you.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Photo of the Week

Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way;
Say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come..."
Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped.
Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy.

- Isaiah 35:3-6

Monday, October 14, 2019

Quote of the Week

"Resolved: that all men should live for the glory of God. Resolved second: that whether others do or not, I will."

- Jonathan Edwards, 18th-century American pastor and theologian, from his list of resolutions

(Painting: "Allegory of Fortitude," by Botticelli, 1470)

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Saturday Synaxis

I know not, O my God, what may befall me today, but I am well convinced that nothing will happen which Thou hast not foreseen and ordained from eternity. I adore Thy eternal, unknowable designs; I submit to them for Thy love; I sacrifice myself in union with the sacrifice of Jesus Christ my divine Savior. I ask in His holy name for patience and persevering trust in the midst of my sufferings, and perfect conformity of my will to Thine in all things, past, present, and to come. Amen.

- Elizabeth of France, royal family member executed in 1794

Friday, October 11, 2019

Hymn of the Week: Trust in God

This hymn is a fairly simple composition around the theme of trusting God. The first verse is a general introduction to the theme; the second reflects on Psalm 23; the third uses the Gospel images of Jesus calming the storm and walking on the water; and the final verse celebrates Jesus' victory in his death and resurrection. The tune is that of the old French Christmas carol "Bring a Torch."

Trust in God

Trust in God when trouble surrounds you;
Trust His name when trials have come.
He will never forsake us or leave us;
He has been faithful through the ages:
Our God, ever our mighty fortress,
Our God, ever our gracious King.

Follow Him through grief and through sorrow;
Follow Him through the shadowy vale.
On the right path He faithfully guides you;
Goodness and mercy, always with you:
Our God, ever our patient Shepherd,
Our God, ever our resting-place.

Though the storms of this life rage around you,
Though tempests roar and your heart be afraid,
He has given us hope in the darkness;
We have an anchor for our souls:
Our God, walking amid the tempest,
Our God, calming the wind and waves.

Hallelujah, He is our Savior!
Hallelujah, He is our King!
Though we walk in a sin-tainted world,
Jesus has beaten death and darkness:
Our God, risen and mighty Conqueror,
Our God, Lord over everything!

Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Photo of the Week

Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;
You make my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
Surely I have a delightful inheritance.

- Psalm 16:5-6

Monday, October 07, 2019

Quote of the Week

"For all the grand talk about stellar things that God wants [us to do], it does not occur to [us] how grand a thing God says it is to learn how to persevere and wait upon him.... A crossroads waits for you. Jesus is that crossroads. Because almost anything in life that truly matters will require you to do small, mostly overlooked things over a long period of time with him."

- Zack Eswine, The Imperfect Pastor

Saturday, October 05, 2019

Saturday Synaxis

O God, whose matchless power is ever new and ever young:
Pour out your Spirit upon us and your whole Church;
That with renewed faith, vision, and obedience
We may the more joyfully testify to your new creation in Christ,
And more selflessly serve your new order amidst the old;
For the glory of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

- from Contemporary Parish Prayers

Friday, October 04, 2019

Hymn of the Week: My Shepherd Is Faithful

This week's hymn is an attempt to include a song of confession in our hymnography--it's something that was common in the biblical psalms, but does not hold a significant share of the classic corpus of Christian hymns. The chorus attempts to incorporate the traditional lines of the "general confession" as used in several Christian liturgies. The first verse takes the image of the Good Shepherd seeking the lost sheep; the second adopts the language of Psalm 51; and the third concludes with a biblical reminder of the assurance of forgiveness. The tune used here is from an old Civil War-era folk song, "The Dying Volunteer."

My Shepherd Is Faithful

My Shepherd is faithful; He comes after me;
Though blindly I walk long and far from His sheep.
He leaves in the fold ninety-nine all behind,
Walks my broken trail, and in love rescues me!

     In Your mercy, dear Lord, chase after your sheep;
     I've wandered away in my thought, word, and deed,
     In things that I've done and the things left undone;
     Have mercy, O Lord; from my sins rescue me!

Have mercy upon me, compassionate Friend:
Cleanse me from my sin and forgive me again.
For I know that I've done what's wrong in your sight;
Restore joy to me, and a clean heart within!


There's no condemnation for sheep in His flock;
His love has redeemed; by His blood we are bought.
His children, though blemished, are washed white as snow:
Forgiven they stand at the foot of the cross!


Tuesday, October 01, 2019

Photo of the Week

To the waters of life take the vessel of prayer;
There are joys everlasting awaiting thee there!

- from the hymn "To the Waters of Life," by Eliza Hewitt, c.1900