Monday, June 26, 2017

A Hymn on the Ten Commandments

Note: I recently composed this paraphrase of Luther's Small Catechism on the explanation of the Ten Commandments. Since it's 12 verses, it may be useful, for example, to sing a verse or two related to the commandment on which you are teaching, and then sing verses 10-12 as a conclusion, setting the commandments in the wider context of salvation theology and the rest of Scripture, leading us to Christ as our only Savior. Coming up in the 1 Year Lectionary, the Sixth Sunday after Trinity falls on July 23, 2017, and the Old Testament reading is the Ten Commandments from Exodus 20:1-17. If there is any feedback on the wording, this is a working draft, but I present it if it may be of service to the church. God's blessings! 

The Ten Commandments Hymn
Text: paraphrase of the Small Catechism by Joshua V. Schneider
Meter: 87 87 D
Suggested Tune: Joyous Light, LSB 932

1. God the Lord brought you from Egypt
From the land of slavery
Him alone you then must worship
“Have no other gods but me”
Carve no image, make no idol,
Place no other on His throne;
Let your fear, love, trust and reverence
Rise to One True God alone.

2. Never take God’s Name but lightly
Teaching falsely, lies or hate
Never use God’s Name for cursing
For His Holy Name is great.
Take His Name for pray’r and praising
Teaching truly, and in love
Bear His Name, the Christian’s honor,
His the Highest Name above!

3. Always keep the Sabbath holy,
‘Tis a day of peace and rest,
Set aside your toilsome labors
By the Word of God be blest.
Gladly hear God’s Word and teaching
Let His Word into your heart,
For six days for work He’s given,
Set the seventh day apart.

4. Honor father and your mother,
Anger and despise them not
Leaders, by our God are given
So respect them as you ought.
Honor them, serve and obey them,
Loved and cherished from His hand,
So the generations after,
Will live long within the land.

5. God’s Word says: “You shall not murder”
Life is good, a precious gift
We are made in God’s own image,
No fist ‘gainst your neighbor lift.
Do not hurt or harm his body,
Help and support his every need;
Guard the weak and the defenseless
Who are loved by God indeed.
6. You shall not commit adultery,
Lead a chaste and decent life,
Let not your eyes lusting, wander
From your husband or your wife.
Keep the marriage union holy
Let not sin drive it apart,
Bless what God has joined together
Love and honor in your heart.

7. God’s Word says: “You shall not ste—al”
Any neighbor’s property
Do not take his goods or get them
any way dishonestly.
Help him to improve and keep them,
Do as you would, unto you;
Gain your goods by honest labor
Work and give with your hands true.

8. Bear no witness ‘gainst your neighbor,
Using tongue to lash or lie
Do not slander or betray him,
Spreading rumors falsely by.
But defend his reputation
Use your tongue to bless and pray
And whenever you are doubtful,
Speak it in the kindest way.

9. God’s Word says, “You shall not covet”
That means want it sinfully.
Covet no man’s wife or workers
Not his home, or property.
Do not scheme, allure or take them
Help them always to be true;
Content, faithful in their duty,
Just as God desires of you.

10. God the Lord says, “I am jealous”;
Punish those who disobey,
But to thousand generations
I bless all who will obey.
I give grace and every blessing
If you love all my commands.
So do not relax or weaken
Even one of my demands.

11. I confess, Lord, I have broken
Your most holy, just commands.
I can make no claim of merit
That before your justice stands.
But before your throne of mercy,
I am pleading by your Son;
Pour on me His grace and favor,
That upon the cross was won.

12. Jesus Christ obeyed and honored
Every law of God for us.
Though His law is good and holy,
It can give no righteousness.
But by faith it has been given
To all who believe and trust
It’s the righteousness of Jesus,

Praise and thank His Name so Just.

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