Saturday, October 22, 2011

FW: Lost Hymn of the Month: "Lord, As Thou Wilt"




Feed: Lutheran Hymn Revival
Posted on: Friday, October 21, 2011 9:06 PM
Author: (Amberg)
Subject: Lost Hymn of the Month: "Lord, As Thou Wilt"


Job with his wife and friends

This hymn was rightly placed under the section of "New Obedience" in The Lutheran Hymnal.  The faith that justifies does not justify because of the patience and joy that it works in our afflictions, but solely on account of the work of Christ, who has reconciled the Father to us apart from our assenting to his will.

But faith most certainly does work patience and joy in the midst of suffering.  The exercise of faith which is prayer contains that constant and daily plea that every baptized Christian prays, "Thy will be done."  "God's will is done when he breaks and hinders every evil plan and purpose of the devil, the world and our sinful nature, which do not want us to hallow God's name or let his kingdom come, and when he strengthens and keeps us firm in his word and faith until we die.  This is his good and gracious will."

This is from Luther's Small Catechism.  This is why we need to sing Lutheran hymns.  The loss of this hymn is tragic not because a few stodgy dead-orthodox Lutherans miss singing it, nor even because its tune is more beautiful than anything written in the last century.  The loss of this hymn is to be lamented because it so clearly teaches and admonishes Christians how to pray, "Thy will be done."

One can see the fear and trembling with which Bienemann, the author, wrote this hymn.  When he says, "No other wish I cherish," the German actually says, "My desire is all for You."  This is what the Psalmist sings throughout Psalm 119 and elsewhere.  God works in us a desire for his will that comes from our experiencing his grace and mercy.

Did I just say "experience?"  You're darn right I did!  Faith is purely passive in its reception, but this does not mean it is idle or lethargic.  A sinner who has learned that it is God's will to save him and believes it begins also to believe that there is nothing left to chance, and that no matter what happens in this life and world that seems to cry against God's will being good and gracious, yet all things work together for good for them that love God.

And look at what he prays for.  He prays for discipline, since that is what is needed for purity in this life. He asks for faithfulness, since that is what truth must lead to.  He asks for honor, not vainglory, but respect towards his neighbor.  He asks that he be given a love for God's holy word, since the flesh hates it and fights against the Spirit dwelling in us through faith.  He is terrified of false doctrine, since that is the root of all mis- and unbelief.  He asks not for riches or glory or the best health and the happiest life, but for what serves his everlasting bliss.

And finally he then addresses that final test, the death that all unbelievers fear and before which our own flesh quakes and from which it flees.  But God's will is to keep us in his Word and faith until we die, since if he has done that, then we have everything, and we have lost nothing.

Let's sing this again.  Any suggestions for updating the language would be appreciated.

I am drawing this from

"Lord, as Thou Wilt, Deal Thou With Me"
by Kaspar Bienemann, 1540-1591
Translated by Emanuel Cronenwett, 1841-1931

1. Lord, as Thou wilt, deal Thou with me;
No other wish I cherish.
In life and death I cling to Thee;
Oh, do not let me perish!
Let not Thy grace from me depart
And grant an ever patient heart
To bear what Thou dost send me.

2. Grant honor, truth, and purity,
And love Thy Word to ponder;
From all false doctrine keep me free.
Bestow, both here and yonder,
What serves my everlasting bliss;
Preserve me from unrighteousness
Throughout my earthly journey.

3. When, at Thy summons, I must leave
This vale of sin and sadness,
Give me Thy grace, Lord, not to grieve,
But to depart with gladness.
To Thee my spirit I commend;
O Lord, grant me a blessed end
Through Jesus Christ, my Savior.

Hymn #406
The Lutheran Hymnal
Text: Ps. 40:8
Author: Kaspar Bienemann, 1574
Translated by: Emanuel Cronenwett, 1880, alt.
Titled: "Herr, wie du willst, so schick's mit mir"
Tune: "Herr wie du willst"
1st Published in: Deutsch Kirchenamt
Town: Strassburg, 1525

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