10 July 2007

Today a Good Friend Buries His Father

Pastor Paul McCain, who has written about his father so beautifully on his Cyberbrethren blog, buries his father today. This last good bye in this age of the world is heart-wrenching. But we know we lay the body to rest in the sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ. I know of no hymn that captures the whole sadness and joy better than "This body in the grave we lay" - I offer the text here today in honor of my friend and his father:

This body in the grave we lay
There to await that solemn day
When God Himself shall bid it rise
To mount triumphant to the skies.

And so to earth we now entrust
What came from dust and turns to dust
And from the dust shall rise that day
In glorious triumph o'er decay.

The soul forever lives with God,
Who freely hath His grace bestowed
And through His Son redeemed it here
From every sin, from every fear.

All trials and all griefs are past,
A blessed end has come at last.
Christ's yoke was borne with ready will;
Who dieth thus is living still.

We have no cause to mourn or weep;
Securely shall this body sleep
Till Christ Himself shall death destroy
And raise the blessed dead to joy.

Then let us leave this place of rest
And homeward turn, for they are blest
Who heed God's warning and prepare
Lest death should take them unaware.

So help us, Jesus, ground of faith;
Thou hast redeemed us by Thy death
From endless death and set us free.
We laud and praise and worship Thee.
LSB 759


wm cwirla said...

This is THE classic Lutheran burial hymn, recovered in LSB after being lost to the LW generation. It needs a better tune, but the text is great.

William Weedon said...

One of my parishioners told me once that it was always sung (auf Deutsch) at every graveside service in his home parish in Missouri.

wm cwirla said...

Yes, it was once nearly a graveside "ordinary" at every Lutheran funeral.

Paul T. McCain said...

Thanks Brother Weedon, my dad had heard this a number of years ago at a service for the commemoration of the faithful departed at CTS Fort Wayne and had said at that time, "That's a hymn I'd like at my funeral." We sang it before he died, at his bedside and we printed the words in the bulletin for those gathered.

It is a terrific hymn indeed.

The great Lutheran chorales sang my father into heaven. They are the greatest sermons in the Lutheran Church, without question.