Friday, November 30, 2018

HYMN: O Lord, My Faith Is Weak, I Know

Sometimes an idea for a hymn text comes to me quite easily after I do my preparation. I'd been on something of a roll when I started my work for the Twenty-First Sunday After Trinity. That roll hit a brick wall and came to a dead stop. I had no idea where to go with the Propers, even after preaching a sermon for that Sunday in the Church Year. To be fair, life intervened in some less-than-appealing ways, which usually doesn't help--and it certainly didn't in this case, though this final product was surely shaped by the events in my life. Finally, late last week, a snippet popped into my head. It wasn't a first line, which is usually the most helpful way an idea comes to me, as I like to work from Alpha to Omega, if you will. And that original snippet didn't even make the cut.

Anyway, the Gospel appointed for Trinity XXI, John 4:46-54, sees a powerful man approaching Jesus. He asks Jesus to come home with him and heal his son. The man had faith in Jesus--a weak faith, but faith nonetheless. Still, he wanted a sign. Even after a rejoinder from the Lord, the man repeats his request. Finally Jesus tells the man, "Your son lives." There's no promise, just the bare-bones truth that the boy is still alive. The man heads home, and on the way his servants meet him with the news that his son has been healed at the hour Jesus spoke the Word to him. 

This hymn text focuses on faith, especially the weakness of faith in adversity. It's easy enough to believe when all is well, but what about when the news isn't good? Do we trust the Word which tells us that our Lord will work good in all things for those who are called according to His purpose? Anyway, here is the text. I've used the tune before, which is not ideal, but it was the only one in Lutheran Service Book which fit the meter and mood of the text. As always, feedback is love.

O Lord, My Faith Is Weak, I Know

1. O Lord, my faith is weak, I know.
I trust my mind and senses.
Satan, relentless, wicked foe,
Batters my frail defenses.
I seek a wonder or a sign,
Some proof to show Your love is mine.
Restless, I seek Your favor.

2. You know my poor and wretched state.
My faith is fragile, lowly.
I love Your Word but hesitate
To love and trust You solely.
When life is pleasing, I can see
How You provide all things for me.
Then I know well Your goodness.

3. Grant that, by grace, I may believe
Even in tribulation:
To trust beyond what I perceive,
Trusting You for salvation.
Let every fiery, piercing dart
Which penetrates my trembling heart
Ignite true faith from embers.

4. Grow and sustain this faith in me,
That, when I face oppression,
I cling by faith to Your decree,
Trusting You without question.
Grant me the confidence, O Lord,
To wield with faith the Spirit’s sword,
Trusting Your Word to save me.

5. O Word Incarnate, hear my plea!
Bear with me in my weakness
Until I trust more than I see:
Bold, yet in humble meekness,
Looking to You in every need,
O Christ, my Lord and God indeed.
Speak but the Word to heal me.

© 2018, Alan Kornacki, Jr.
87 87 887
Trinity XXI; Prayer; Faith in Affliction

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