A conversation/prayer during the sacrament hymn

With humble heart, I bow my head
And think of thee, O Savior Lord.
I take the water and the bread
To show remembrance of thy word.

Please help me to listen to the words of the hymn. I try and try, but for some reason, I never fully tune in to the words of the hymn. Is there something wrong with me? Can I not simultaneously harmonize and listen to the words? I’m tempted to blame it on the words themselves sometimes; C. S. Lewis always said that hymns are just really bad poetry. But I think there really is something there, but I haven’t learned to hear it yet. I am going to give it a go on this one– try to start with individual words, and see if I can work up to phrases and themes.



Help me remember, I implore,
Thou gav’st thy life on Calvary,
That I might live forevermore
And grow, dear Lord, to be like thee.

See! The words, the narrator or prayer here is having the same exact problem I am having! He too is imploring the Lord to help him remember and internalize the Savior’s ministry and sacrifice. I want to be able to find that too in this hymn.

He talks through things, through events that he probably already knows very well and considers primary answers. This perhaps is a difficult thing, but it is where we need to start to find God. What often seems rote is there for a reason. In order to feel close to God, in order to find true communion with Him and have an authentic encounter, we have to start somewhere that we might consider counterintuitive: through a rote script, through recalling simple principles, through a memorized scripture. But these come alive as we begin to recite or to sing. Think of it as small talk with God. I hate small talk too, but you have to do it if you want to strike up a conversation and get to know someone.

To be like thee! I lift my eyes
From earth below toward heav’n above,
That I may learn from vaulted skies
How I my worthiness can prove.

I love that image of turning your eyes from the ground to the sky. I can imagine him kneeling down, and beginning to look upwards. I rarely pray with my head up, but I think that we should take the time to look heavenward as well. As we pray, we can “learn from vaulted skies.” Oooh! “Vaulted skies” is such a beautiful phrase. I suppose it recalls a vaulted ceiling like in a Cathedral, and it sounds like “exalted.” I can’t exactly capture why this phrase is so beautiful.

Proving your worthiness? Why is he trying to prove anything? He is implying that he is already righteous, but he needs to do righteous deeds to be worthy? And can we ever truly be worthy of the Lord’s sacrifice? I think I’m going to think about the word “prove” a little differently here. The pray-er here wants to do something to show he is committed to the Lord– an outward act of an inward commitment.

As I walk daily here on earth,
Give me thy Spirit as I seek
A change of heart, another birth,
And grow, dear Lord, to be like thee.

Ah see, this next verse explains his feelings perfectly. He is still asking for a change of heart and another birth. This isn’t a one-time event, but a constant thing that we must re-seek and re-experience. Just like right now, I am seeking to have another change of heart. I am seeking the Lord’s help in finding meaning in and a change of heart towards something I consider perfunctory.

I somehow did it. Thanks for helping me find the spirit of that hymn.

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