Guide Me Ever, Great Redeemer (ELW 618)
1 Guide me ever, great Redeemer,
pilgrim through this barren land.
I am weak, but you are mighty;
hold me with your pow’rful hand.
Bread of heaven, bread of heaven,
feed me now and evermore,
feed me now and evermore.
2 Open now the crystal fountain
where the healing waters flow;
let the fire and cloudy pillar
lead me all my journey through.
Strong deliv’rer, strong deliv’rer,
shield me with your mighty arm,
shield me with your mighty arm.
3 When I tread the verge of Jordan,
bid my anxious fears subside;
death of death and hell’s destruction,
land me safe on Canaan’s side.
Songs and praises, songs and praises
I will raise forevermore,
I will raise forevermore.
In Psalm 25 David prays for guidance. He desires to know the ways, paths, and truths of the Lord. “Teach me,” he begs his God.
Hymnwriter William Williams also asks to be guided by the great Redeemer. His request is not so much for knowledge, but for safe passage through this world. As a pilgrim in this barren land, he acknowledges we are weak and need holding; we are hungry and need bread from heaven; we are on a journey where a strong deliverer is required.
Williams knew the life of a pilgrim. He traveled over 95,000 miles drawing huge crowds. He was beaten up and cheered on. President Garfield, dying from an assassin’s bullet, was comforted by this song sung to him by his wife. Garfield cried, looked to his doctor, and exclaimed, “Glorious bliss, isn’t it?” This hymn was also sung at the funeral of Princess Diana.
Guiding God, we are weak, but you are strong. We hide ourselves in you. Shield us with your mighty arm and when the end comes, bring us home. Amen.