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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Thursday, March 19, 2020  

Today’s Hymn

You have promised to receive us,
poor and sinful though we be;
you have mercy to relieve us,
grace to cleanse, and power to free.
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus,
early let us turn to you.
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus,
early let us turn to you.

“Savior, like a Shepherd Lead Us” (v. 3) by Dorothy Ann Thrupp
Hymn 187, Glory to God: The Presbyterian Hymnal

As I read these words from a valued, well-known hymn, I recalled leading weekday worship in retirement communities throughout my ministry. An early lesson I sought to learn was to take the risk of including a hymn or two in the service. As long as there was a way to provide the correct note on which to begin, and as long as I chose one of the “old chestnuts” in the hymnal, these musical moments became the most participative and moving in our worship. Individuals who had not seemed particularly present joined in, the words and the melody ingrained in their memories. Even a halting service would come alive.

When I worried that the lyrics were old fashioned and their theology outdated, my own parochial views were transformed by the singing. Besides, consider the words of this verse. God has promised to receive us, to welcome us, “poor and sinful though we be,” despite our frailties and failings. God’s grace is what truly matters; “you have mercy to relieve us, grace to cleanse and power to free.”

And this verse contains a call to discipleship as well. “Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus, early let us turn to you.” The words and the music echo in my mind. The memories of those weekday, worshipful moments will always be with me.

God of melody and poetic word, open me to your presence in musical moments. Help me, help all of us to discern your guidance as we sing your praises, blessed Jesus. Amen

Written by Jeffrey Doane, Parish Associate for Older Adults

Reflection and Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

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