Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A Lamb Goes Uncomplaining Forth -- Lent begins

There are so many good hymns in the Lenten season.  So many Lenten hymns offer vivid descriptions of God's love and compassion upon sinners.  They deserve to be sung often, even memorized. 

Put to music and rhyme, these hymns become lodged in our memories.  For better or for worse, we learn our theology best when we learn our hymns.  For that reason, it is wisest (some might say, "meet, right, and salutary") that we gravitate toward hymns that proclaim solid theology in such vivid terms.  These hymns may not be the most popular amongst various church bodies and congregations.  But it is far better to learn what is solid rather than what is sentimental.  And the more familiar we become with what is solid, the more we appreciate the sentiment and emotional ties we have with these rich hymns.

For meditation, I offer to you: A Lamb Goes Uncomplianing Forth by Paul Gerhardt (1607-1676)

A Lamb goes uncomplaining forth
   Our guilt and evil bearing
And, laden with the sins of earth,
   None else the burden sharing.
Goes patient on, grows weak and faint,
   To slaughter led without complaint,
      That spotless life to offer,
Bears shame and stripes and wounds and death,
   Anguish and mockery and says,
      "Willing all this I suffer."

This Lamb is Christ, the soul's great friend,
   The Lamb of God, our Savior;
Him God the Father chose to send
   To gain for us his favor.
"Go forth, my Son," the Father said,
   "And free my children from their dread
      Of guilt and condemnation.
The wrath and stripes are hard to bear,
   But by your passion they will share
      The fruit of your salvation."

"Yes, Father, yes, most willingly
   I'll do what you command me.
My will conforms to your decree;
   I'll do what you have asked me."
O wondrous Love, what have you done?
   The Father offers up his Son,
      Desiring our salvation.
O Love, how strong you are to save!
   You make his bed within the grave
      Who built the world's foundation.

From morn till eve, in all I do.
   I'll praise you, Christ, my treasure.
To sacrifice myself fo ryou
   Shall be my sin and pleasure.
My stream of life shall ever be
   A current flowing ceaselessly,
      Your constant praise outpouring.
I'll treasure in my memory,
   O Lord, all you have done for me,
      Your gracious love adoring.  (CW 100)

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