“O Master, Let Me Walk with You,” ELW 818 and LBW 492
1 O Master, let me walk with you
in lowly paths of service true;
tell me your secret; help me bear
the strain of toil, the fret of care.
2 Help me the slow of heart to move
by some clear, winning word of love;
teach me the way ward feet to stay,
and guide them in the homeward stay.
3 Teach me your patience; share with me
a closer, dearer company,
in work that keeps faith sweet and strong,
in trust that triumphs over wrong.
4 In hope that sends a shining ray
far down the future’s broad’ning way,
in peace that only you can give;
with you, O Master, let me live.
Please don’t fault me for my ironic response to the following encounter with an elderly parishioner. We were in her room in a nursing home, having conversation before sharing communion. She maligned the nursing home administrator for a full half-hour, then we went through the words of the confession of sins and absolution. She said, “Pastor, I don’t know why I need forgiveness. I’m just a nice old lady.” I thought about a variety of responses, but ended up answering, “Well, just in case.” She repeated my words not as irony but deeper wisdom: “Yes, just in case.”
Verse three of Gladden’s wonderful hymn prays that God “Teach me your patience, share with me, a closer, dearer company.” I wonder if we know how just a bit of patience in our relationships, sometimes sorely tested, creates enough space for God’s grace to take root and grow. Patience, Lord, “just in case.”
You call us to serve you and we give it a try. Those various and fantastic callings are always with people, so give us patience to create space for your presence as we serve. Amen.