How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds, ELW 620
How sweet the Name of Jesus sounds
In a believer’s ear!
It soothes his sorrows, heals his wounds,
And drives away his fear.
It makes the wounded spirit whole,
And calms the heart’s unrest;
’Tis manna to the hungry soul,
And to the weary, rest.
Dear name! The rock on which I build,
My shield and hiding place,
My never failing treasury, filled
With boundless stores of grace!
By thee my prayers acceptance gain,
Although with sin defiled;
The devil charges me in vain,
And I am owned a child.
O Jesus, shepherd, guardian, friend,
My prophet, priest and king,
My Lord, my life, my way, my end,
Accept the praise I bring.
How weak the effort of my heart,
How cold my warmest thought;
But when I see thee as thou art,
I’ll praise thee as I ought.
Till then I would thy love proclaim
With every fleeting breath,
And may the music of thy name
Refresh my soul in death!
Theme for this week: Praise for the experience of God’s goodness
I have always marveled that “God” is talked about so confidently by people who have so little data. Where in this world of tragedy and sorrow is it clear that “God” is good, or that “God-Whoever-It-May-Be” loves us? From sheer evidence, outward (destruction and death) and inward (a troubled spirit), you would think one might postulate the opposite. Indeed, many have.
The reformer Martin Luther’s anguish, before coming to rest in God’s mercy in Christ, was this awareness of the naked, threatening Majesty of God. And the joy that drove the Reformation was this re-discovery of God’s kindness towards us in Christ. This hymn reflects that joy. “Sweet” is the word the hymnist chose—perhaps a bit dated, but groping for a way to communicate the delight of knowing God is “for us,” and not against us. As verse six sings, then and only then, “I see thee as thou art”, so that “I’ll praise thee as I ought.”
Sweet, you are, Lord. Sweet to offer yourself to us in our brokenness, sweet to accomplish everything necessary to hold us again, sweet to be there for us in the daily challenge. Come to us again with your sweetness this day. Amen.