Peace, to soothe our bitter woes,
God in Christ on us bestows;
Jesus bought our peace with God
with his holy, precious blood;
peace in him for sinners found
is the gospel's joyful sound.
Peace within the church still dwells
in our welcomes and farewells;
and through God's baptismal pow'r
peace surrounds our dying hour.
Peace be with you, full and free,
now and through eternity.
Grandpa Knute had a ministry. My only great-grandparent living at the time of my birth, he would spend his Sunday afternoons visiting the homebound, singing Norwegian hymns for them. As commendable as that was, some critics noted that most of those visited were widows, some of whom didn't seem to be very homebound. Since Grandpa Knute himself had been widowed for a number of years, suspicious connections were made in the minds of some and tongues sometimes wagged. Nonetheless, he was undeterred and his ministry continued.
He likely sang "Den store hvide flok" ("Behold the Host Arrayed in White," ELW 425) and "I himmelen, i himmelen" ("In Heaven Above," ELW 630) but also "Fred ࣲ bরte for bitter nরd" ("Peace to Soothe Our Bitter Woes"), bringing comfort to those bereaved, including himself, who outlived his spouse and nine of his eleven children, two of whom died in an 1897 lightning storm.
Announcing a soothing of our woes, the hymn addresses the baptismal calling which undergirds our relationship with a gracious God, day by day our whole lives through.
O God, in Holy Baptism, you call us daily to return to you. Soothe our woes, that we may sing your praise for others. Amen.