from the hymn Father, We Thank Thee Who Hast Planted

from the hymn FATHER, WE THANK THEE WHO HAST PLANTED.


Father, we thank thee who hast planted
Thy holy Name within our hearts.
Knowledge and faith and life immortal
Jesus thy Son to us imparts.
Thou, Lord, didst make all for thy pleasure,
Didst give man food for all his days,
Giving in Christ the Bread eternal;
Thine is the power, be thine the praise.

Watch o'er thy Church, O Lord, in mercy,
Save it from evil, guard it still,
Perfect it in thy love, unite it,
Cleansed and conformed unto thy will.
As grain, once scatter'd on the hillsides,
Was in this broken bread made one,
So from all lands thy Church be gather'd
Into thy kingdom by thy Son.


Text Greek.  from the Didach, c.110, translated by F. Bland Tucker, 1895-1984

Faith

FAITH.


So slowly, Lord, I have learned to trust
And know that soon or late
The answer to my prayers
Will come; that I must wait,
Must give you time to pause and see
What answer will be best for me.


By Celta C. Joseph

O Little Town of Bethlehem

O LITTLE TOWN OF BETHLEHEM.


O little town of Bethlehem,
How still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by;
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting Light;
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee to-night.

For Christ is born of Mary,
And, gathered all above,
While mortals sleep, the angels keep
Their watch of wondering love.
O morning stars, together
Proclaim the holy birth!
And praises sing to God the King,
And peace to men on earth.

How silently, how silently,
The wondrous gift is given!
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of His heaven.
No ear may hear His coming,
But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive Him still,
The dear Christ enters in.

O holy Child of Bethlehem!
Descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin, and enter in,
Be born in us to-day.
We hear the Christmas angels
The great glad tidings tell;
Oh come to us abide with us,
Our Lord Emmanuel!


By Phillips Brooks (1835-1893)

Pass Me Not, O Gentle Saviour

PASS ME NOT, O GENTLE SAVIOUR.


Pass me not, O gentle Saviour,
Hear my humble cry;
While on others Thou art smiling,
Do not pass me by.

Let me at a throne of mercy,
Find a sweet relief;
Kneeling there in great contrition,
Help my unbelief.

Trusting only in Thy merit,
Would I seek Thy face;
Heal my wounded, broken spirit,
Save me by Thy grace.

Thou the Spring of all my comfort,
More than life to me,
Whom have I on earth beside Thee?
Whom in heav'n but Thee?

Saviour, Saviour
Hear my humble cry;
While on others Thou art calling,
Do not pass me by.

Amen.


By Fanny Crosby (1820-1915)

Pathways

PATHWAYS.


Along the varied paths of life
That we must travel on
There are a few along the way
That we must walk alone.
When friends can only stand beside
And wait a dawn that's new,
That can not lift the heavy load;
It must be bourne by you.
Still there is one who understands --
He too this path has trod --
Remember how he walked alone,
The only son of God.


By Celta C Joseph

from A Series of Eight

from A SERIES OF EIGHT.


Rise, my soul, on wings of fire,
  Rise the rapturous choir among;
Hark! 'tis Nature strikes the lyre,
  And leads the universal song.


By Gray (1716-1771)

from the hymn Simple Gifts

from the hymn SIMPLE GIFTS.


'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free,
'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gain'd,
To bow and to bend we shan't be asham'd,
To turn, turn will be our delight
'Till by turning, turning we come round right.


By the Shaker community, 19th Century

The Song of a Heathen

THE SONG OF A HEATHEN (Sojourning in Galilee, AD 32).


IF Jesus Christ is a man,--
  And only a man,-- I say
That of all mankind I cleave to him,
  And to him will I cleave alway.

IF Jesus Christ is a God,--
  And the only God,-- I swear
I will follow Him through heaven and hell,
  The earth, the sea, and the air!


By Richard Watson Gilder (1844-1909)

To the Supreme Being

TO THE SUPREME BEING.


The prayers I make will then be sweet indeed
If Thou the spirit give by which I pray:
My unassisted heart is barren clay,
That of its native self can nothing feed:
Of good and pious works Thou art the seed,
That quickens only where Thou say'st it may:
Unless Thou show to us Thine own true way
No man can find it: Father! Thou must lead.
Do Thou, then, breathe those thoughts into my mind
By which such virtue may in me be bred
That in Thy holy footsteps I may tread;
The fetters of my tongue do Thou unbind,
That I may have the power to sing of Thee,
And sound Thy praises everlastingly.


By Michelangelo (1475-1564); translated by William Wordsworth (1770-1850)

Take Time to Be Holy

TAKE TIME TO BE HOLY.


Take time to be holy,
Speak oft with thy Lord;
Abide in Him always,
And feed on His Word.
Make friends of God's children;
Help those who are weak;
Forgetting in nothing
His blessing to seek.

Take time to be holy,
The world rushes on;..
Spend much time in secret
With Jesus alone --
By looking to Jesus,
Like Him thou shalt be;..
Thy friends in thy conduct
His likeness shall see..

Take time to be holy,
Let Him be thy Guide,
And run not before Him,
Whatever betide;..
In joy or in sorrow,
Still follow thy Lord,
And, looking to Jesus,
Still trust in His Word.

Take time to be holy,
Be calm in thy soul;
Each tho't and each motive
Beneath His control;..
Thus led by His Spirit
To fountains of love,
Thou soon shalt be fitted
For service above.


By William D Longstaff (1822-1894)

The Test of Love -- Is Death

THE TEST OF LOVE - IS DEATH.


The Test of Love – is Death –
Our Lord – “so loved” – it saith –
What Largest Lover – hath –
Another – doth –

If smaller Patience – be –
Through less Infinity –
If Bravo, sometimes swerve –
Through fainter Nerve –

Accept its Most –
And overlook – the Dust –
Last – Least –
The Cross’ – Request –


By Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

Thou Dost Demand Our Love, Holy Lord Christ

THOU DOST DEMAND OUR LOVE, HOLY LORD CHRIST.


Thou dost demand our love, holy Lord Christ,
And batest nothing of thy modesty;
Thou know’st no other way to bliss the highest
Than loving thee, the loving, perfectly.
Thou lovest perfectly – that is thy bliss:
We must love like thee, or our being miss –
So, to love perfectly, love perfect Love, love thee.


By George MacDonald (1824-1905)

from Thy Will Be Done

from THY WILL BE DONE.


We see not, know not; all our way
Is night, -- with Thee alone is day:
From out the torrent's troubled drift,
Above the storm our prayers we lift,
Thy will be done!


By John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892)

To Scatter Flowers

TO SCATTER FLOWERS.


O Jesu! O my Love! Each eve I come to fling
Before Thy sacred Cross sweet flowers all the year.
By these plucked petals bright, my hands how gladly bring,
I long to dry Thine every tear!

To scatter flowers! -- that means each sacrifice,
My lightest sighs and pains, my heaviest, saddest hours,
My hopes, my joys, my prayers, -- I will not count the price.
Behold my flowers!

With deep, untold delight Thy beauty fills my soul.
Would I might light this love in hearts of all who live!
For this, my fairest flowers, all things in my control,
How fondly, gladly I would give!

To scatter flowers! -- behold my chosen sword
For saving sinners' souls and filling heaven's bowers.
The victory is mine: yes, I disarm Thee, Lord,
With these my flowers!

The petals in their flight caress Thy Holy Face;
They tell Thee that my heart is Thine, and Thine alone.
Thou knowest what these leaves are saying in my place;
On me Thou smilest from Thy throne.

To scatter flowers! -- that means, to speak of Thee, --
My only pleasure here, where tears fill all the hours;
But soon, with angel hosts, my spirit shall be free,
To scatter flowers!


By Saint Therese, of Lisieux (1873-1897), also known as the 'Little Flower of Jesus'

Communion Hymn of the Gallican Rite

COMMUNION HYMN OF THE GALLICAN RITE (in the Bangor Antiphonary, 7th Century).


1. Come all ye holy,
take the body of your Lord,
Drink of his chalice,
take the blood for you outpoured.

2. Saved by his body,
by his sacred blood, we raise
Grateful our voices
unto God in hymns of praise.

3. Giver of life, he
Christ our Saviour, Son of God,
Bought our redemption
by his cross and precious blood.

4. Dying for all men,
he the Lord prepared this feast,
Offered as victim,
offering himself as priest.

5. God to our fathers
ordered sacrifice of old;
So he in symbols
Christ the victim true foretold.

6. Giver of light, the
one Redeemer of our race,
He to his holy
servants gives abundant grace.

7. Come, who with pure hearts
in the Saviour’s word believe;
Come, and partaking
saving grace from him receive.

8. God our defender,
guardian sure in this our strife,
Gives to his faithful
after death eternal life.

9. He to the hungry
gives as food this heavenly bread,
Fountain of life, he
gives to drink the blood he shed.

10. Christ, source of all things,
who here feeds us sinful men,
When his great day dawns,
judge of all, will come again.


Translated by Adrian Fortescue (1874-1923)

Confidence

CONFIDENCE.


Thou layest Thy hand on the fluttering heart
And sayest, “Be still!”
The shadow and silence are only a part
Of Thy sweet will.
Thy Presence is with me, and where Thou art
I fear no ill.


By Frances Ridley Havergal (1836-1879)


A lot of these poems are personal dialogs with God; you might say that they are prayers in poetic form.


Come, Thou Almighty King

COME, THOU ALMIGHTY KING.


Come, Thou Almighty King,
Help us Thy name to sing,
Help us to praise:
Father, all glorious,
O’er all victorious,
Come, and reign over us,
Ancient of Days.

Come, Thou Incarnate Word,
Gird on Thy mighty sword,
Our pray’r attend:
Come, and Thy people bless,
And give Thy word success:
Spirit of holiness,
On us descend.

Come, Holy Comforter,
Thy sacred witness bear
In this glad hour:
Thou who almighty art,
Now rule in ev’ry heart,
And ne’er from us depart,
Spirit of pow’r.

To the great One in Three
Eternal praises be
Hence evermore.
His sov’reign majesty
May we in glory see,
And to eternity,
Love and adore.


By Anonymous


Come, Father, Son and Holy Ghost! This is an affirmation of the Blessed Trinity. Praise His name for ever and ever, amen.


Casting All Your Care Upon God, For He Careth For You

CASTING ALL YOUR CARE UPON GOD,
FOR HE CARETH FOR YOU.

1 Peter 5:7

Come heavy souls, oppressed that are,
With doubt, and fears, and carking care.
Lay all your burdens down and see
Where’s one that carried once a tree
Upon his back, and which is more,
A heavier weight, your sins he bore.
Think then how easily he can
Your sorrows bear that’s God and Man;
Think too how willing he’s to take
Your care on him, who for your sake
Sweat bloody drops, prayed, tasted, cried,
Was bound, scourged, mocked, and crucified.
He that so much for you did do,
Will yet do more, and care for you.


By William Washbourne


This is truly the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, as prophesied in the Old Testament. As great as your spiritual burdens may seem, Jesus took those burdens that we may be free and reconciled with God.


Thou dost demand our love, holy Lord Christ

THOU DOST DEMAND OUR LOVE, HOLY LORD CHRIST.


Thou dost demand our love, holy Lord Christ,
And batest nothing of thy modesty;
Thou know’st no other way to bliss the highest
Than loving thee, the loving, perfectly.
Thou lovest perfectly – that is thy bliss:
We must love like thee, or our being miss –
So, to love perfectly, love perfect Love, love thee.


By George MacDonald (1824-1905)


This is a very sweet poem expounding on God’s love for all of us. We, the created in return, can do no more than love him entirely.


Breathe on Me, Breath of God

BREATHE ON ME, BREATH OF GOD.


Breathe on me, Breath of God,
Fill me with life anew,
That I may love what Thou dost love,
And do what Thou wouldst do.

Breathe on me, Breath of God,
Until my heart is pure,
Until my will is one with Thine,
To do and to endure.

Breathe on me, Breath of God,
Till I am wholly Thine,
Until this earthly part of me
Glows with Thy fire divine.

Breathe on me, Breath of God,
So shall I never die,
But live with Thee the perfect life
Of Thine eternity.

Amen.


By Edwin Hatch (1835-1889)


This is a poem of great symmetry—it is not only rhyme-and-meter, but each stanza has the same consonant count by line. Count by finger-- first line: 6, second: 6, third: 8, and fourth line: 6. There is freedom in order, and this freedom pours out a most powerful message.


Behold the savior of mankind

BEHOLD THE SAVIOR OF MANKIND.


Behold the Saviour of mankind
Nailed to the shameful tree!
How vast the love that him inclined
To bleed and die for thee!

Hark, how he groans! while nature shakes,
And earth's strong pillars bend;
The temple's veil in sunder breaks,
The solid marbles rend.

'Tis done! the precious ransom's paid,
"Receive my soul," he cries!
See where he bows his sacred head!
He bows his head, and dies!

But soon he'll break death's envious chain,
And in full glory shine:
O Lamb of God! was ever pain,
Was ever love, like thine?


By Samuel Wesley, Sr. (1662-1735)


This is of course the gospel, the story of the saving of mankind, that we may be united again with God. It is this saving grace of Jesus that frees us from the bonds of sin.


O Father, give the spirit power to climb

O FATHER, GIVE THE SPIRIT POWER TO CLIMB.


O Father, give the spirit power to climb

To the fountain of all light, and be purified.
Break through the mists of earth, the weight of the clod,
Shine forth in splendour, Thou that art calm weather,
And quiet resting place for faithful souls.
To see Thee is the end and the beginning,
Thou carriest us, and Thou dost go before,
Thou art the journey, and the journey's end.


By Boethius (480-c. 524), translated by Helen Waddell (1889-1965)

From More Latin Lyrics: From Virgil to Milton; fourth edition; translated by Helen Waddell. I have several more poems from this book marked for later sharing. Ms. Waddell can't translate into modern English rhyme-and-meter all of the Latin Christian lyrics from the Middle Ages; what's more important is that their messages are of a high poetic quality.

A Canon. I will sing unto the Lord...

A CANON.


I WILL sing unto the Lord, because he hath dealt so lovingly with me; yea, I will praise the name of the Lord most High.


By R. Woodward

From the book “Lyric Poetry of Glees, Madrigals…”, compiled by Thomas Ludford Bellamy, published in 1840. In music, a canon is a contrapuntal composition that employs a melody with one or more imitations of the melody played after a given duration. The type of canon here is not unlike a Christian praise song. A very similar passage is in Psalm 13 (KJV).


from the hymn: In Temptation

from the hymn IN TEMPTATION.


Thou of life the fountain art,

Freely let me take of Thee;
Spring thou up within my heart,
Rise to all eternity.

By Charles Wesley (1707-1788)

The author of this one, Charles Wesley, is a founder of the Methodist denomination. It's from the last stanza of one of his some 1,600 hymns, this entitled "In Temptation". "Praise songs" are very very short poems in this form; they have a similar exhortation from believer to God.


from the hymn: Amazing Grace

From the hymn AMAZING GRACE.


Amazing grace! How sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed!

Thro’ many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
‘Tis grace hath bro’t me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.

When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we first begun. Amen.


Text by John Newton


I sometimes arrange hymns, or parts of hymns, to poetry. Amazing Grace is a true-story song written in 1773, yet it is loved by Christians the world over today; it praises God for saving a sinner, and for leading him home through this often stormy path called life.


from the hymn: Alleluia! Sing to Jesus

From the hymn ALLELUIA! SING TO JESUS.


Alleluia! King eternal,

Thee the Lord of Lords we own;
Alleluia! born of Mary,
Earth thy footstool, heav’n thy throne;
Thou, within the veil hast entered,
Robed in flesh, our great high priest;
Thou on earth both priest and victim
In the Eucharistic feast.

Text by William Chatterton Dix


An affirmation of our Lord, the one who died on the cross for us, that we may be reconciled with God. We, in return, owe him our hearts, our minds, our strengths, and our very souls.