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Students sitting outside Bockman
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Sunday, June 03, 2018

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O God, my faithful God,
true fountain ever flowing,
without whom nothing is,
all perfect gifts bestowing:
give me a healthy frame,
and may I have within
a conscience free from blame,
a soul unstained by sin.

Give me the strength to do
with ready heart and willing
whatever you command,
my calling here fulfilling--
to do it when I ought,
with all my might--and bless
whatever I have wrought,
for you must give success.

Keep me from saying words
that later need recalling;
guard me, lest idle speech
may from my lips be falling;
but when, within my place,
I must and ought to speak,
then to my words give grace,
lest I offend the weak.

When dangers gather round,
oh, keep me calm and fearless;
help me to bear the cross
when life seems dark and cheerless;
help me, as you have taught,
to love both great and small,
and, by your Spirit's might,
to live at peace with all.

Winkworth's translation of Heermann's original German retains a sense of urgency.  Verse one's prayer for "perfect gifts"--healthy frame, conscience free, soul unstained--is realized in verse two's desire to do "whatever you command" and "to do it when I ought." It's clear that the lyricist sees a connection between the blessings that God bestows and our responsibility to use those blessings in the service of others.

This week's readings began with a command to keep the Sabbath and ended with Jesus intentionally breaking the Sabbath, but for purposes that brought goodness and healing to others. When we sing in verse four, "help me, as you have taught, to love both great and small," it's a call to live according to God's will, especially when we are the "great." But in those times when we are the "small," when our clay jar is broken, then Sabbath is revealed as pure gift.

Make us thankful for your gift of rest Lord, and by your Spirit's might, may we live at peace with all. Amen.

Scott Thompson, '96
Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Kalispell, Mont.

This God Pause daily devotion is brought to you by the alumni of Luther Seminary.