“Let Us Ever Walk With Jesus”Handbook to the by Sigismund von Birken, 1626-1681
Translated by J. Adam Rimbach, 1871-1941
Let us ever walk with Jesus, follow His example pure,
Through a world that would deceive us and to sin our spirits lure.
Onward in His footsteps treading, pilgrims here, our home above,
Full of faith and hope and love, let us do our Father’s bidding,
Faithful Lord, with me abide; I shall follow where You guide.
Let us suffer here with Jesus, and with patience bear our cross.
Joy will follow all our sadness; where He is, there is no loss.
Though today we sow no laughter, we shall reap celestial joy;
All discomforts that annoy shall give way to mirth here-after..
Jesus, here I share Your woe; help me there Your joy to know.
Let us gladly die with Jesus. Since by death He conquered death,
He will free us from destruction, give to us immortal breath.
Let us mortify all passion that would lead us into sin;
And the grave that shuts us in shall but prove the gate to heaven.
Jesus, here with You I die, there to live with You on high.
Let us also live with Jesus, He has risen from the dead
That to life we may awaken. Jesus, you are now our head.
We are Your own living members; where You live, there we shall be
In Your presence constantly, living there with You forever.
Jesus, let me faithful be, life eternal grant to me.
Ok, I’ll just say it. Even though I pick the hymns, plan the services, live with the Rector, and follow the lectionary, lent snuck up on me this year. All of my worship eggs were in the Transfiguration Sunday basket . The final Sunday of Epiphany was a blow-out-pull-out-the-virtual-stops sort of day. It was a glimpse of glory in so many ways, and I had been anticipating it for weeks. But the thing about the final Sunday of Lent is that Ash Wednesday is just around the corner. Quite literally. And so here I sit at 3 in the afternoon on this penitential day, a little shell-shocked that it has come.
I have had the above hymn running through my head…. since high school. I have never seen or sung it anywhere except the Green LBW – Lutheran Book of Worship – with which I learned my first hymnody as a high school student. I don’t even really remember singing it at Calvary, but I spent many hours playing through that hymnal in my living room, and I always came back to this hymn. Maybe it’s the walking. Maybe it’s the transformation. Maybe it’s the journey. Maybe it’s the future hope. I don’t know. But it’s my theme for Lent 2010. Our life with Christ is lived one step at a time, with God’s grace, the hope of heaven, the love of the Father, and the equipping of the Holy Spirit as our constant companions. Lent, to me, is a specific season each year to make deep, abiding investments in that journey. Living so much of my Christian life in mega-church Evangelicalism helped to deepen my walk with Christ, but [for me] cheapened my Easter experience because we were not a Lenten people. I am profoundly grateful for each chapter of the story that Jesus is writing in and with and through my life. I wouldn’t want to be where I am now without the experiences of my life before. And my life before lives in deeper relief in my memory because of the elements of it that I miss now.
Anyway, I digress.
There’s always the talk of giving up stuff for Lent. Chocolate, candy, bread, Facebook, celebrity blogs, The Bachelor – the list is endless. I think there is a lot of merit to the idea of asceticism for the sake of knowing Christ more deeply. I think of Philippians 3 – giving up adored things for Lent is one small way that we can share in the fellowship of His sufferings. Skipping peanut butter cups isn’t going to make me more like Christ, though, if it’s a mere 40-day religious habit. But if peanut butter cups are part of something that cause me to think of myself more than others, that distract me from discipleship, that rob me of a God-centered life, then Lent is a great time to add the discipline of skipping them.
So, Stephanie, you ask, what are you giving up for Lent? Nothing. I’m putting something on for Lent. And I’ll state them publicly for the good of the order.
Reading during Lent: NT Wright’s Reflecting the Glory , and also finishing the Thoene Zion Covenant series – again. The Wright makes me want to be more like Christ, and the Thoene reminds me to pray for the persecuted in our broken world. It breaks my heart. And I need my heart to be broken.
Putting on during Lent: I will tell you this if you promise you won’t laugh. Promise? ok. Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred will be a 40 Day Shred for me, Sundays off. Some discipline with my body and with exercise is dramatically necessary at this moment in my life. I love this DVD, it kicks my butt, and making it a 40 day commitment with the intention of honoring Christ with my temple sounds like a very good thing to do.
Committing to memory during Lent: The te deum (see below), and the words to the hymn above will be read every morning and every night. I intend to commit them both to memory. I can’t think of anything better on which to fix my eyes and ears.
Communicating during Lent: I’ll be blogging my way through. The discipline helps me, whether anyone reads it or not.
I have several gigs over the next 40 days in non-Lenten contexts… I’m opening for Fernando Ortega in Madison on March 12th, leading worship for the Women in Christian Media national conference on February 26th, working with Jill Briscoe and Anne Graham Lotz for Just Give Me Jesus in Greenville on March 19-20, so there are many opportunities to make deep spiritual investments in my own life that will have the opportunity to overflow and bless others. That’s what I’m praying, but I’m mostly praying that my soul’s journey will bless the Lord, and that all within me will bless His holy name. The Lord to me is so infinitely kind.
Love to you, dear brothers and sisters in the faith.
We praise thee, O God:
we acknowledge thee to be the Lord.
All the earth doth worship thee:
the Father everlasting.
To thee all Angels cry aloud:
the Heavens, and all the Powers therein.
To thee Cherubin and Seraphim
continually do cry,
Holy, Holy, Holy :
Lord God of Sabaoth;
Heaven and earth are full of the Majesty
of thy glory.
The glorious company of the Apostles praise thee.
The goodly fellowship of the Prophets praise thee.
The noble army of Martyrs praise thee.
The holy Church throughout all the world
doth acknowledge thee;
The Father of an infinite Majesty;
Thine honourable, true and only Son;
Also the Holy Ghost the Comforter.
Thou art the King of Glory O Christ.
Thou art the everlasting Son of the Father.
When thou tookest upon thee to deliver man
thou didst not abhor the Virgin’s womb.
When thou hadst overcome the sharpness of death
thou didst open the Kingdom of Heaven to all believers.
Thou sittest at the right hand of God in the glory of the Father.
We believe that thou shalt come to be our Judge.
We therefore pray thee, help thy servants
whom thou hast redeemed with thy precious blood.
Make them to be numbered with thy Saints in glory everlasting.
O Lord, save thy people
and bless thine heritage.
Govern them and lift them up for ever.
Day by day we magnify thee;
And we worship thy Name ever world without end.
Vouchsafe, O Lord to keep us this day without sin.
O Lord, have mercy upon us have mercy upon us.
O Lord, let thy mercy lighten upon us
as our trust is in thee.
O Lord, in thee have I trusted
let me never be confounded.