Text: Gracia Grindal (1943-) Tune: Scandinavian folk tune arr. Daniel Charles Damon (1945-)
1. To love the Lord with all our hearts,
With all our souls and minds,
And love our neighbors as ourselves,
And always to be kind,
As Christ commanded us to do,
We need to be created new.
Have mercy on us, Lord.
2. Love cannot spring from hearts of stone
Or souls that have gone dry.
It only gushes forth from those
Who set their own needs by
And go to find the source that gives
The waters that they need to live.
Have mercy on us, Lord.
3. Lord, I am thirsty for your grace
And hungry for your love.
I need you so that I can serve
My neighbor and my God.
Come, fill me with your gentleness
So I can help those in distress.
Have mercy on us, Lord.
4. Lord Jesus, send your show’rs of grace
Into my heart of stone,
So that the fruits of faith will bloom
Like roses by your throne,
As all of heaven’s chorus sings
With love to you, our Lord and King. Have mercy on us, Lord.
Copyright 2006 Wayne Leupold Editions, Inc./See below for details on copyright info
In this hymn I focused on the question of the great commandment which Jesus treats in this passage as he is debating with the scribes and Pharisees. It is fundamental. As Jesus says, All the Law and Prophets hang on it. Central to the Christian faith, the command to love one another, the neighbor, is all over Scripture. Christians were known from the beginning as people who loved their God and neighbors, even their enemies. Ronald Stark in his book The Rise of Christianity: How the Obscure, Marginal Jesus Movement Became the Dominant Religious Force in the Western World in a Few Centuries (1997) describes how amazed the citizens of Rome were to see their Christian neighbors sacrifice their own interests, even their lives, to minister to the poor and sick, taking care of abandoned children, giving of themselves for others in the worst situations. It was so different and so attractive, many wanted to know who this God was who taught his followers to care for the neighbor. When they found out about Jesus and his love for them, they also became his followers.
We are messed up on the word love. We think it is a feeling and if it not there, we can’t love. Thus the chaos in relationships we are suffering today. The tradition means deeds, acting to comfort the neighbor---by doing things the neighbor needed to be done.
For this we need the love of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit to change us and give us the sense for the other, what they need from us, and the power to do it. Our focus is not on how we are feeling about what we are doing, but on whether or not the neighbor is being well served.
From Luther we know that our good deeds do not save us, thank goodness. The play Everyman from the English Middle Ages shows that the only figure that can accompany us to heaven is Good Deeds. The play was performed at the Guthrie one year. I took my parents. We talked about the notion that Good Deeds went with us all the way. I wondered about that. My mother said, “Yes, that is true. It says in Revelation 14:13 …”for their deeds follow them.” This rather stretched my grasp of Scripture. She was dead right. These deeds do not save you. But they do take root and flower in the lives of others.
I have wondered if we will still regret our sins or at least the consequences of them in heaven. I think everything will be so changed we will not. In the full joy of heaven we will be granted the joy of seeing in those around us the fruits of our deeds blossoming beside the throne of grace. It will be all joy and thanksgiving for the “fruits of faith/will bloom like roses by your throne.” Maybe even what we meant for evil, God will have used for good. Not a regret to be found. God be praised!
As I was writing these hymns for the lectionary, I often had a tune in mind. For this text, I thought of the wonderful folk tune, "I himmelen, I himmelen," the tune for one of our great All Saints’ Day hymns, "In Heaven Above." I suggested it as a possible tune. Daniel Charles Damon, the composer who set this first collection of the Series A Gospel hymns did an arrangement of the tune for this text. He usually wrote a new tune, letting my suggestion stand. But here we have the tune arranged by him.
Dan is now retired, but he served a local United Methodist congregation in the Bay Area. He has composed texts and tunes for almost his entire life. He has played jazz piano at various venues in the area and has used that sound in many of his hymn tunes. He continues to write both tunes and texts and over the years has become a dear friend.
You can sing the text to any of these settings. You can see Dan's arrangement below.
Nidaros Brass/gorgeous! https://youtu.be/iEDjzjcgvTg
MogensDahlKoncertsal Grieg’s version https://youtu.be/vY5XuHCjQJM
Region Gävleborg https://youtu.be/rztIS9ughhc
The instructions for downloading the hymns and using them are below. Some fifteen years ago, Wayne Leupold asked me to write a text for every lesson in the Revised Common Lectionary. I did with his gracious support. He has published all of them with tunes by contemporary composers. Because of the virus, choral music and hymnody publishers are experiencing hard times. You can see many collections of hymns on his site. Take a look and order some if you would like to see more.
Wayne Leupold Editions (WLE) has a rapidly expanding online database of new hymn texts and tunes, an invaluable resource for any church. Hymns and congregational songs can be found to suit any service, season, or occasion. One copy of any selection may be downloaded for personal use only. For additional copies in any format a church must:
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