Fling Wide the Door (ELW 259, focus on verse 2)
1 Fling wide the door, unbar the gate;
the King of glory comes in state;
the Lord of lords and King of kings,
the Savior of the world who brings
his great salvation to the earth.
So raise a shout of holy mirth
and praise our God and Lord,
Creator, Spirit, Word.
2 He is the rock of our belief,
the heart of mercy’s gentle self.
His kingly crown is holiness;
his scepter is his loveliness;
he brings our sorrows to an end.
Now gladly praise our king and friend,
and worship him with song
for saving us from wrong.
3 Oh, happy towns and blessed lands
that live by their true king’s commands.
And blessed be the hearts he rules,
the humble places where he dwells.
He is the rightful Son of bliss
who fills our lives and makes us his,
creator of the world,
our only strength for good.
4 Come, Lord, our Savior, Jesus Christ;
our hearts are open wide in trust.
Oh, show us now your lovely grace,
upon our sorrows shine your face,
and let your Holy Spirit guide
our journey in your grace so wide.
We praise your holy name,
from age to age the same!
Text: Georg Weissel, 1590-1635; tr. Gracia Grindal, b. 1943
Text © 1978 Lutheran Book of Worship, admin. Augsburg Fortress.
Reprinted under OneLicense.net #A730924
The second verse of our hymn shows an interesting tension between rock and heart. When we hear the words rock and foundation, we often think of things that are hard and everlasting. And yet, the writer says that the very core and foundation of our belief is heart, mercy, and gentleness—traits that we often think of as being soft and relatively short-lived. And in a similar way, later in the verse we sing that he brings our sorrows to an end so that we may praise him for saving us from wrong. We often think that sorrows end because that which is causing the sorrow is taken away; not often do we think that our own action could be the culprit! Jesus is always engaging in these creative tensions, loving us even though we misunderstand and get in our own way. As you think about your relationship with Jesus and others, what role does forgiveness—of ourselves and others—play in this idea of welcome? How might forgiveness change your ability to fling wide the door?
Jesus, we come to you knowing that we don’t measure up to your holiness in ways that deserve your love, and this keeps us from truly coming to you or welcoming you with joy. Continue to take our doubt, shame, and burdens away so that we can come to you in joyful worship! Amen.