Preserve Your Word, O Savior (LSB 658)
Third to Last Sunday of the Church Year
This end of the Church Year hymn makes clear that missions and outreach are not mutually exclusive, but hand in hand. They are the work of God and the hope of every Christian. “Preserve Your Word, O Savior to us this latter day,” asks that the saints of God below would remain in the faith and be joined by others in Christ’s kingdom. Those who sing begin by praying for the extension of the kingdom and finally ask the Father to preserve the little flock, the singer’s own parish.
The first verse asks that the Holy Trinity would enlarge the kingdom. Its vast concern is for people everywhere and yet personal: “Oh keep our faith from failing.” Verse two is concerned with neighbor, those who are not Christians, as we cry alongside of one another, “Convince, convert, enlighten . . . to all who dwell below.” Verse three turns to Zion, historically a reference to the stronghold of the New Testament Church, that she would be defended from all danger. Verse four narrows the circle still more as it prays for faithful pastors and faithful preaching. Finally our hymn concludes with the picture of Christ Jesus bringing each little congregation over the wind and the waves of life on the last day, “Then we will reach the harbor In Your eternal Light.”
Lord of all hopefulness (LSB 738)
Third to Last Sunday of the Church Year – Series B
This is a vocational hymn that follows the Christian through the course of their day’s activities: from waking to labor, to homing, to sleeping. Each of four verses also highlight the various times of the day beginning, noon, evening, and end. Those who sing pray for blessing at the different hours according to the Lord’s presence in these various endeavors of life. Its usage as the chief hymn of the day seems curious as it is quite general, not specifically Trinitarian, Christological, Sacramental, or a clear pairing to the widow’s mite (Mark 12:38–44). One may find a reference to the Second Person of the Trinity in the phrase “Whose strong hands were skilled at the plane and the lathe . . .” With its beautiful tune one can imagine a usage perhaps with children in its simplicity, at the beginning or ending of the day in the family devotional. As for its use in the Church Year, parishes may consider their Christian liberty to highlight the text with something stronger or more in keeping with end time themes.
Rev. Adrian N. Sherrill serves Trinity Lutheran Church, Denver, Colorado.