“Witness, Mercy, Life Together”: A Hymn (by Pr. Charles Henrickson)

April 29th, 2011 Post by

President Harrison’s “Emphasis for the Church” is summed up in three terms, “Witness, Mercy, Life Together” (Martyria, Diakonia, Koinonia are the related Greek terms). The President’s Office has set up a blog, wmlt.org, to carry forward the theme of “Witness, Mercy, Life Together: In Christ, for the Church and the World.”

I’m going to be referring to this threefold emphasis in my preaching over the coming weeks, as I start a sermon series on the Book of Acts. So I thought it would be good to have a hymn to accompany the series. I’m aware that there are already a couple of hymns that fit the emphasis, “God’s Redeemed, Beloved and Holy” (by Pr. Stephen Starke) and “Witness, Mercy, Life Together” (by Pr. Alan Kornacki). But I thought I’d try my hand at writing one myself. The result is below.

For a tune, I’m suggesting Rex gloriae (LSB 494, 583). Click the music link and sing along! (An alternative tune could be O Durchbrecher (LSB 409, 531).)

If anybody wants to use this hymn, I’ve got it on a half-sheet insert (front and back), and I could send you the file attachment upon request. My e-mail address: henricksonc@yahoo.com

- – - – -

Witness, Mercy, Life Together

Witness, Mercy, Life Together,
Life in Christ, for Church and world;
Witness, Mercy, Life Together–
This shall be our flag unfurled!
Gathered, going, speaking, serving,
New life flowing from our Lord;
He shall feed us, onward lead us,
By His own life-giving Word.

Christ came down and dwelt among us,
Law and Prophets to fulfill;
Sent to save a world of sinners,
Jesus did the Father’s will.
Dying, rising, then ascending,
Christ is making all things new;
Pouring out His Spirit on us,
Christ now gives us work to do.

Witness bearing, Martyria,
Bold proclaiming of the truth;
Tongues of fire on each believer,
Now as in the Church’s youth.
Preaching, teaching, faith confessing,
Gospel reaching far and near;
Lord, we pray that You would open
Mouths to speak and ears to hear.

Mercy works, Diakonia,
Service done in Jesus’ name;
Hearts so moved with His compassion
For the poor, the weak, the lame.
Giving, caring, helping, healing,
Love that takes the lower place;
May our lives of humble service
Show the riches of God’s grace.

Life Together, Koinonia,
Sharing in a common birth;
Fellowship, with Christ the center,
We His body here on earth.
Growing, bearing fruit, forgiving,
Brothers living all as one;
Breaking bread, the Lord’s Communion,
Life eternal now begun.

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
Triune God, whom we adore,
Source of all the Church’s blessings,
Praise to You forevermore!
Guarding, guiding, still providing,
For our mission is Your own:
Witness, Mercy, Life Together–
Glory be to You alone!

- – - – -

Text: © 2011 Charles Henrickson
Tune: REX GLORIAE (LSB 494, 583) 87 87 D
Alternate tune: O DURCHBRECHER (LSB 409, 531)






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  1. Rev. Clint Poppe
    April 29th, 2011 at 15:27 | #1

    Great job Charlie! Thanks for sharing!!!

  2. The Rev. BT Ball
    April 29th, 2011 at 16:18 | #2

    Oh, I don’t know guys about hymns for a synodical movement/emphasis/program. Imagine if there was an Ablaze! praise song, (well I’m sure there probably were one or two) would we not have howled?

    If one were to use the Starke hymn from the synod’s website, you’d have to go through a bunch of hoops to get copyright permission, or subscribe to one of those licensing deals. No thanks.

    Continually Questioning Synodically yours,
    Ball

  3. mbw
    April 29th, 2011 at 18:17 | #3

    The Rev. BT Ball :
    Oh, I don’t know guys about hymns for a synodical movement/emphasis/program. Imagine if there was an Ablaze! praise song, (well I’m sure there probably were one or two) would we not have howled?
    If one were to use the Starke hymn from the synod’s website, you’d have to go through a bunch of hoops to get copyright permission, or subscribe to one of those licensing deals. No thanks.
    Continually Questioning Synodically yours,
    Ball

    If Pastor Henrickson releases it for intended use in MO synod churches, and if your church already licenses the music (which you have to) then are you forbidden to combine his words with the licensed music? I’ll send a question in to at least one rights organization, if that would be helpful. I’ve got the names of a couple of commonly used clearinghouses.

  4. A Beggar
    April 29th, 2011 at 20:33 | #4

    “. . . Tongues of fire on each believer,
    Now as in the Church’s youth. . . ”
    I’ve always thought that it APPEARED to be tongues of fire. Am I in a wrong translation?

  5. April 29th, 2011 at 23:25 | #5

    Three Matt Harrison hymns now! I don’t think Jerry had this many written about him. Can we just canonize Pr. Harrison and be done with it?

  6. April 30th, 2011 at 09:02 | #6

    The Rev. BT Ball : Oh, I don’t know guys about hymns for a synodical movement/emphasis/program.

    I take your point, Ben, and I did consider that when I wrote this hymn. I suppose one could “de-capitalize” the WMLT words, and that would make it less “synod-specific.”

    But I see “Witness, Mercy, Life Together” as more of an emphasis on biblical themes for the life of the church, and less as promoting a certain synodical program (much less a poorly done one like “Ablaze!”). I was looking over the lessons for this Easter season, saw that the First Reading consists of portions of Acts–we had recently done a Bible class on Acts–and was thinking how the WMLT emphasis could be a helpful companion for a sermon series. That’s why I wrote the hymn.

    The Rev. BT Ball : If one were to use the Starke hymn from the synod’s website, you’d have to go through a bunch of hoops to get copyright permission, or subscribe to one of those licensing deals. No thanks.

    That was one the reasons I chose not to use it. Also, our congregation does not know that tune yet.

  7. April 30th, 2011 at 09:06 | #7

    mbw : If Pastor Henrickson releases it for intended use in MO synod churches, and if your church already licenses the music (which you have to) then are you forbidden to combine his words with the licensed music? I’ll send a question in to at least one rights organization, if that would be helpful. I’ve got the names of a couple of commonly used clearinghouses.

    The tune(s) I am suiggesting for my text, “Rex gloriae (LSB 494, 583)” or, as an alternate, “O Durchbrecher” (LSB 409, 531)–both tunes are in the Public Domain, so copyright is not an issue for that.

  8. April 30th, 2011 at 09:09 | #8

    Steven Anderson : Three Matt Harrison hymns now! I don’t think Jerry had this many written about him. Can we just canonize Pr. Harrison and be done with it?

    This is not a “Matt fanboy” hymn. :^) Read the text and see if you find that there. Also, read my reply to Ben Ball above.

  9. April 30th, 2011 at 12:55 | #9

    Yes,yes, Charlie, I do indeed see that. I just thought that the three WMLT hymns in less than a year was a little funny. But we Scandawhovians do have to stick together. ;-)

  10. Old Time St. John’s
    May 1st, 2011 at 19:57 | #10

    I like it.

    As I read it, though, I ‘heard’ the tune to “Thy Strong Word Did Cleave the Darkness.” It’s a pretty good fit.

    I’m glad that composers are writing good hymns these days!

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