Monday, June 27, 2011

Hymn Lyrics for Luke 1:1-4

Luke writes his gospel so that we might have full assurance of faith. He writes in order “that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.” We need this assurance because our faith is often weak in this life and plagued by doubts. Like the man who cried out to Jesus, “I believe, help my unbelief,” so we too need our faith strengthened.

Faith never comes from looking at ourselves. Our obedience, our trust, our experience, our feelings or anything in us can never give us assurance. Romans 10:17 says, “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing the word of Christ.” Luke, the beloved physician who wrote this Gospel, understood that only sure knowledge of who Jesus is and what he did for us can give us the kind of assurance we need, and so he writes his Gospel to give us a sure testimony about the person and work of Jesus Christ.

This hymn, based on Luke 1:1-4, is influenced by this prayer from the Book of Common Prayer:

ALMIGHTY God, who didst inspire thy servant Saint Luke the Physician, to set forth in the Gospel the love and healing power of thy Son; Manifest in thy Church the like power and love, to the healing of our bodies and our souls; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Verse 1 is a prayer as we begin to look at Luke’s Gospel. We acknowledge that our souls need healing and ask that the book Luke the physician wrote for our healing might indeed be efficacious to the healing of our souls.

Verses 2 emphasizes the solid testimony Luke has given us in his Gospel.  Luke was not an eyewitness, but he had received the eyewitness testimony of the apostles and he had met many of the eyewitnesses to the life of Jesus, and interviewed them for his book.  We know Luke accompanied Paul and was with him during his arrest in Jerusalem in 57 A.D. and his voyage to Rome in 60 A.D.  In this interval of time in Palestine Luke had a chance to meet the apostles and other eyewitnesses, interviewing them as he compiled his Gospel.

Verse 3 confesses our disease but also looks to the cure doctor Luke gives us. Verse 4 is a prayer that the inspired Gospel of Luke can answer through the Spirit.

Verse 5 is playing off the name Theophilus, which means beloved of God or lover of God. Although Theophilus was a real person, he also stands for the goal Luke aims for, namely, for his readers to know themselves as loved by God, which produces a love for the Father and the Son in return.

O Father, Heal Our Souls

To the tune: ST. THOMAS. Based on Luke 1:1-4. Words: William Weber, 2011.

v. 1
O Father, heal our souls,
as we approach this book,
that Luke the doctor gave to us,
to Christ our Lord we look.

v. 2
A testimony sure,
is giv’n of Jesus’ life,
from witnesses who heard the Lord,
and saw Him with their eyes.

v. 3
Diseases harm our souls,
our faith is often weak,
but all who look to Jesus Christ
will find the health they seek.

v. 4
O Father, hear our prayer,
to know Your only Son,
the truth of who He really is,
and all that He has done.

v. 5
O Father, make us know,
that we are loved in Christ.
For we are His and He is ours,
we share His love and life.

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