Gracious Spirit, dwell with me: I would gracious be;
Help me now thy grace to see, I would be like thee;
and with words that help and heal,
thy life would mine reveal;
and with actions bold and meek,
for Christ my Savior speak.
Truthful spirit, dwell with me, I would truthful be;
Help me now thy truth to see, I would be like thee;
And, with wisdom kind and clear,
thy life in mine appear;
And with actions brotherly, speak Christ’s sincerity.
Holy Spirit, dwell with me, I would holy be;
Show thy mercy tenderly, make me more like thee;
Separate from sin, I would and cherish all things good,
And whatever I can be give him who gave me thee.
Mighty Spirit, dwell with me, I would mighty be;
Help me now thy power to see, I would be like thee;
‘Gainst all weapons hell can wield,
be thou my strength and shield;
Let thy word my weapon be, Lord, Thine the victory.
These last two lines of “Gracious Spirit Dwell With Me” by K. Lee Scott (b. 1950) apply to today’s first reading, in which, one by one, seven brothers bravely endured torture and death rather than to defile the laws of their ancestors, confident that the victory of eternal life was theirs in the Lord. The Psalm is a cry to the Lord, to remain in the presence of the Lord and steadfast in his paths. The second reading is also a prayer for strength, endurance, and protection against all evil. K. Lee Scott has composed over 300 compositions, and the author of three of the four verses of text (and the original hymn that went with it) was Thomas T. Lynch (1818-1871). The melody is based on Adoro te devote by Thomas Aquinas, originally written in the 1200s.
Our second anthem this morning is also a supplication to the Lord amidst doubt and adversity. “Oh, Kind Jesus,” by Robert Hunter, ties together both the first reading and the Gospel, which says that “those who are deemed worthy to attain to the coming age and to the resurrection of the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. They can no longer die, for they are like angels; and they are the children of God because they are the ones who will rise.” We recall the seven brave sons of the first reading, who were arrested with their mother, and their faith in the Lord’s resurrection and the eternal life that awaited them.
Oh, kind Jesus, loving Saviour, guide me gently,
with Thy love.
In my thoughts Thou art ever, waking, sleeping,
Thou art near.
When I doubt Thee Lord, forgive me, fold me, safely
in thine arms.
When dark shadows fill my being, be Thou ever
near to me.
Bless, I pray Thee, all Thy children, guide them, surely
to Thy home.
—Lorraine Joy Welling, Director
Gloria Dei Choir