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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Friday, March 20, 2020  

Today’s Hymn

Early let us seek your favor;
early let us do your will.
Blessed Lord and only Savior,
with your love our spirits fill.
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus,
you have loved us; love us still.
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus,
you have loved us; love us still.

“Savior, like a Shepherd Lead Us” (v. 4) by Dorothy Ann Thrupp
Hymn 187, Glory to God: The Presbyterian Hymnal

Reflection
Perhaps you can remember singing this hymn in Sunday School years ago. If so, that was the intention of its early eighteenth- century author, Dorothy Ann Thrupp. Thrupp often worked under a pseudonym and was not initially given credit for her writings, but among her oeuvre were compilations of Hymns for the Young, where our verse for today is found. There is repetition in the verses, always a good feature in children’s hymns: “Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus,” etc. Fourth Church’s current hymnal, unlike its predecessor, changes “Thy” to “your” and, modestly, “bosoms” to “spirits” in the last verse. Can’t you see today’s children giggling at “bosoms” or even wondering what the word means?

The simplicity of the hymn still appeals, and I would say, to both children and adults. “Early let us seek your favor; Early let us do your will.” For children and even for adults, perhaps we should early in the day ask for God’s blessing and early in each day think about and ask God what God’s will for us is this day.

Since we are considering the final verse of the hymn, maybe we should be comforted by the closing lines: “You have loved us, love us still,” paraphrased as “You have loved us in the past, right? So as the day ends and we, perhaps, have not discerned fully or fulfilled adequately your will, you will still love us, won’t you? We hope, we pray. We have that assurance.”

Prayer
Loving God, when we sometimes try too hard to be eloquent and elaborate, help us to become childlike and just simply and straightforwardly ask to discern your will. Then help us to try to do it. And, at day’s end, may we be grateful for the steadfast reassurance of your love, no matter what. Amen.

Written by Rebecca Dixon, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

Reflection and Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church


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