Just a Closer Walk With Thee (ELW 697)
Just a closer walk with thee,
grant it, Jesus, is my plea;
daily walking close to thee,
let it be, dear Lord, let it be.
1 I am weak but thou art strong:
Jesus, keep me from all wrong;
I'll be satisfied as long
as I walk, let me walk close to thee. Refrain
2 Through this world of toil and snares,
if I falter, Lord, who cares?
Who with me my burden shares?
None but thee, dear Lord, none but thee. Refrain
3 When my feeble life is o'er,
time for me will be no more;
guide me gently, safely o'er
to thy kingdom shore, to thy shore. Refrain
Text: North American traditional
I grew up in a Midwestern Lutheran congregation that favored classical music traditions. So I did not appreciate this hymn until later in life after living in the Southwest and discovering Patsy Cline. It was her voice and performance that made this American hymn speak to me. It portrays how we might feel walking through each day, leaning on God for strength; walking humbly in the faith and hope that God offers us, without requiring us to be particularly clever, powerful, wealthy, or self-confident.
One reason for this hymn's longevity is how it speaks through many cultures. There are uncountable hymnals, arrangements, recordings, and videos to sample: classical, gospel, jazz, folk, for just a start. Patsy Cline's arrangement features the prayerful melody flowing over a rhythmic chorus:
Walk, walk, walk.
Just a closer walk.
It demonstrates the durability of a hymn that is strong enough to carry the freight of its appealing message.
God of wonder, we thank you for the gift you have given us in music. Grant that we may hear, play, and sing your word with one another throughout the world. Amen.