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Students sitting outside Bockman
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Sunday, September 02, 2018

Next Day

1 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.

2 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.

3 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.

4 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.

In my father's office there has long been on display a magnet with a picture of John Wayne in cowboy gear and the quote "Talk low, talk slow, and don't talk too much." Verse 3 of this hymn sounds like it comes from that same school of oratory, although really what we are asking is to talk at the right time and in a way that bestows grace.

It certainly pairs well with the readings we ponder again this Lord's Day, given James and his concern for "bridled tongues" and given the purity professionals in Mark 7 who use their words chiefly to differentiate and exclude. How can your words be used in this new week to upbuild rather than destroy? To effect peace rather than discord? And whose cross is God calling you to help carry?

Spirit of truth, grant me self-control, discernment and compassion in my speech. In what I say and when I say it, may your grace flow through me to others. Amen.

Mark D. Williamson, '05
Pastor, Grace Lutheran Church, Dodgeville, Wis.

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