Friday, 16 May 2008

Father, hear the prayer we offer

There’s a hymn that begins "Father, hear the prayer we offer". It's in the old English Hymnal, and also in the Australian Hymn Book.
I think it's supposed to be a hymn about being willing to take the hardships that come with following Jesus. The problem is - it’s not focused enough on Jesus, and following him, as the cause of this hardship. It sounds like it’s asking for hardship as an end in itself. That’s not discipleship. That’s masochism.
Christians suffer because we want to be faithful to Jesus. The Bible assumes that true Christians are usually going to be a minority, in a world that’s against the Christ they follow. And that means they’re going to suffer. Not because that suffering’s good in itself. But because it comes with loyalty to Jesus. See Rom 8:18-30; 1 Pet 2:18-3:22; etc.
So I re-wrote the hymn. To be about the cost of discipleship.
Here it is.

Father, hear the prayer we offer.
Not for ease will that prayer be.
But the path our Saviour followed,
May we follow faithfully.

We have heard the Saviour call us:
“Lift your cross, and follow me!
When this world rejects and hates you,
Will you to me faithful be?”

Following the crucified one,
We are sure to share his shame.
Give us grace, come loss, come suff’ring,
Faithfully to own his name.

When at last the race is over,
Fought the fight, the battle won,
This alone shall be our glory:
“Good and faithful one, well done!”

Anyone wanna put a tune to it...? Meter: 8.7.8.7.

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