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Return to the Lord

May 7, 2020

“You are a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” Nehemiah 9:7

There are some passages from scripture that I can’t read. I can only sing them, even if only to myself. Today’s Old Testament passage from the Moravian Daily Texts is one such text. I would have had to think for a moment before being able to tell you that these ancient words come from the Book of Nehemiah. I didn’t have to think at all before I started humming Richard Hillert’s setting of these words as the Gospel Acclamation for Lent from Holy Communion, Setting One, in Lutheran Book of Worship (p. 63).

This hymnal is the worship book of my childhood; we were born within a few years of each other. To serve now as the Senior Pastor at Grace, where so much of this hymnal was born and where it continues to be used, is a gift.

Since the earliest days of the church, faithful musicians have helped us hear and know the Word of God through song, creating new works that are acts of praise and beauty in and of themselves.

Thanks to this particular Gospel Acclamation, sung for a few weeks every year throughout my childhood, I have come to know God as the One whose love abounds and whose anger is slow; who has grace and mercy aplenty for us all. I’ve come to know that God just wants to us return, so much so that Jesus has come to dwell with us.

I have a feeling that I will be humming this reminder of God’s abundant love throughout the day.

You’re welcome for the ear worm.

Be well, friends. You are loved.

God of grace and mercy, there is so much in this world that must anger you. That disappoints you. Instead of anger, you work to redeem us through love. Help us to know this love and to return to you, you who have never left us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Image: Still Life with LBW, Daily Texts, Coffee, Laptop, Notepad, Hair Bow, by David R. Lyle, (c. five minutes ago). The LBW pictured is the one I was gifted by my parents upon my confirmation in 1991 (First English Lutheran Church, Appleton, WI).

From → COVID-19

  1. Paul Haberstock permalink

    And I can remember the 1965 Synodical convention in Detroit when coastal districts teamed to defeat the hymnal in preparation for the Synod with the call for an inter-Lutheran hymnal that could be recognized coast to coast and border to border by all Lutherans out of which came *The Lutheran Book of Worship*. Paul Haberstock

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