Saturday, March 15, 2008

o for a thousand tongues to sing

Each day of Lent I am publishing one of Charles Wesley's hymns or poems. In my experience, the selection of Charles Wesley's hymns that we actually use in worship is very small. This is sad, because his hymns are filled with deep theological truths and great beauty.

Use these as a part of your Lenten disciplines, and share any thoughts or reactions in the comments.

Tomorrow is Palm Sunday, the day we remember and celebrate Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, and the kick-off to Holy Week. Charles wrote O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing to commemorate his own conversion--Christ's entry into his heart.

The original poem that Charles wrote contained 18 stanzas, 17 of which are included in the United Methodist Hymnal as #58. I'm only including here the seven stanzas found in #57, including the "optional" sixth stanza. Apparently, there was some fear of causing offense when the Hymnal was edited.

Lent Day 34

O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing
(United Methodist Hymnal #57)

O for a thousand tongues to sing
my great Redeemer's praise,
the glories of my God and King,
the triumphs of his grace!

My gracious Master and my God,
assist me to proclaim,
to spread through all the earth abroad
the honors of thy name.

Jesus! the name that charms our fears,
that bids our sorrows cease;
'tis music in the sinner's ears,
'tis life, and health, and peace.

He breaks the power of canceled sin,
he sets the prisoner free;
his blood can make the foulest clean;
his blood availed for me.

He speaks, and listening to his voice,
new life the dead receive;
the mournful, broken hearts rejoice,
the humble poor believe.

Hear him, ye deaf, his praise, ye dumb,
your loosened tongues employ;
ye blind, behold your Savior come,
and leap, ye lame, for joy.

In Christ, your head, you then shall know,
shall feel your sins forgiven;
anticipate your heaven below,
and own that love is heaven.

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