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Text: Jakob Paulii (1844-1915) Tune: Norwegian Folk

Jesus sending the 70 out two by two James Tissot

Teach me to know your ways, O Jesus,

And follow you along life’s way.

I know that all I have and cherish

Has come from you and all you say.

But with your hand, O Lord, direct me.

When I look up and see the end,

When every tear on earth has perished

I have a hope that lives in heav’n.

Teach me to know your thoughts, O Jesus;

So I can practice them each day.

And when my heart with grief is beating

Then you must call me on my way.

When I have longed for death to take me,

O say what you, O Lord, have thought,

So I can see the morning sunrise

Beyond my sorrow and my doubt.

So teach me most of all to cherish

The boundless love that sets me free

Which kindles all the stars in heaven

When joy’s bright sun has set for me.

Love dries the tears that it created,

And heals the wounds that throb and ache.

Its way goes through our pain and losses,

And gives more joy than we can take.


Portrait of Hauge

Like sheep to wolves. Wise as serpents, innocent as doves! What a menagerie we have here! And a strange one at that. Here Jesus is sending us out into the evil world, defenseless and weak. Is he sending us out to our deaths? It sounds like it. For Christians, death is not the worst thing--we know we are safe in Jesus and that the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church. But there’s something more here. When it comes to winning souls, we have learned over the millennia, that swords may make nominal Christians out of whole nations by decree, but it hasn’t gone very deep in the hearts of the people.

It has been said that although Saint Olav made Norway Christian by decree, it wasn’t really by the sword. It was the miracles that his dead body performed on people who touched his corpse that began to convert Norwegians. Hans Nielsen Hauge, the Norwegian farm boy, who had a life changing experience of salvation, followed his Lord and started walking innocently through Norway with the good news. He was not without wisdom, meeting with people in their homes, teaching and preaching, encouraging others to preach and teach the faith as he was doing. Scholar say it was he who really Christianized Norway. And when the Danish King and his bishops came like wolves with the sharp teeth of the law to make him stop his preaching, his movement only grew and grew, changing the entire country.

I have been reading some church newspapers from the 1940s lately. When World War II was raging, the papers were full of weapons, battles, casualties, great men and awful tyrants as the killing machines ground on and on. There seems to be nothing else but war. And then on a side note, there will be an announcement that some missionaries are leaving for China. What? Aren’t the mission offices reading the papers?

Johann Aasgaard, Mary Aasgaard Hinderlie, Carroll Hinderlie

Yet they go. Some, like Carroll and Mary Hinderlie, on their way to China, ended up interned in a Japanese prison camp in the Philippines. Some others made it to China and testified to the Lord Jesus Christ, changing the lives of some. After the Bamboo Curtain lifted, more Chinese Christians emerged from the underground than any missionaries could have imagined.

They went like sheep straight toward the wolves. But they were following their shepherd into the fray. His voice comforted them and gave them peace even as they faced the worst humanity could offer. God’s ways are not our ways. Therefore we need to be taught his ways, as the hymn prays he will do. Jesus knows what we do not; which is why we like sheep must follow him through the valley of the shadow of death, fearing no evil.

It is Christ’s mission strategy of love that we keep having to learn. It goes against most natural thinking There are not many hymns that fit this lesson, but this one gets at the paradoxes in the sermon of our Shepherd. He is thinking completely different from the way we do, but we know one thing: we can trust his way to save us. As our hymn writer puts it, “Love dries the tears that it created, and heals the wounds that throb and ache/Its way goes through our pain and losses/And gives more joy than we can take.”


Jakob Paulli, a Danish pastor and scholar, was an orthodox Lutheran with a high church bent. He served the Danish court as confessor and friend to the royals; he taught homiletics at the pastoral seminary in Copenhagen and wrote several hymns. The Norwegian folk tune has been a favorite of the gospel and jazz singers in Norway. Sissel sang it for the wedding of Princess Märthe Louise of Norway and Ari Behn in 2002.The tune is an old Norwegian folk tune.


Sissel sings this at the wedding of Princess Märtha Louise in 2002

Sondre Bratland

Stein Ove Berg, Norwegian country sound

Pieter Liebeck Piano Improvisation on tune

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