Each week I receive an email reflection from The Fellowship of United Methodists in Music and Worship Arts. I was delighted to learn details from Catherine Stapleton Nance, Director of Music Ministries at St. John's UMC in Aiken, SC, about a traditional Lenten hymn we are singing today. I am happy to share portions of it here.
Lord, Who Throughout These Forty Days, #269 UMH.
The text of this hymn is fascinating considering its origin as a children’s devotion. The text doesn’t say those forty days but rather these forty days, highlighting the continued relevance of Christ’s wilderness journey, retelling the story of the journey, and relating it to our own journey of faith.
Consider this prayer-structured text and its retelling of the events of Jesus’ wilderness journey. Does God need the story recounted? Certainly not! I believe God loves to hear us recount the narrative, lest we forget. … The first phrase of stanzas 1 through 3 of this hymn narrates Jesus’ trials. The second phrase of all of the stanzas contains a prayer to guide us as we follow Jesus’ path during Lent.
1. Lord, who throughout these forty days for us did fast and pray, teach us with you to mourn our sins and close by you to stay.
2. As you with Satan did contend, and did the victory win,O give us strength in you to fight, in you to conquer sin.
3. As you did hunger and did thirst, so teach us, gracious Lord, to die to self, and so to live by your most holy Word.
4. And through these days of penitence, and through your Passiontide, forevermore, in life and death, O Lord, with us abide.
5. Abide with us, that through this life of doubts and hope and pain, an Easter of unending joy we may at last attain!
"Lord, Who Throughout These Forty Days," United Methodist Hymnal 269. Text from Claudia F. Hernaman, Child's Book of Praise: A Manual of Devotion in Simple Verse (1873).
Do you presently feel “sent” into the wilderness? Take these forty days of Lent and ask God what lessons you need to learn.
Grace and peace … --Pastor Pat