If Then There Is Encouragement

This is another hymn I wrote for the fun of writing it.  In Philippians, Paul quotes a hymn that is widely regarded as the “‘Christ Hymn,” one that was used in liturgical circles by early Christianity.  When I came across it, I said, hey, why not make it into a hymn again.  The text is Philippians 2:1-11, and in this version there are nods to Galatians 3:28 — “In Christ Jesus there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male and female” — and Psalm 85:10 — “Mercy and truth are met together, righteousness and peace have kissed.”  Honestly most of my hymns have nods to this last one, it’s my favorite scripture ever.

The hymn is below the jump.  The tune is Forest Green.

If then there is encouragement
in consolating words,
if in this world by hatred bent
the Spirit can be heard,
its voice is in our unity
it speaks when we, in faith,
despite our wide divergences
hold fast to unearned grace.

Grant strength to bear our burdens,
and share another’s grief,
that we may know for certain
Your love in all we see.
This is not a task we do alone:
our joy will be complete
when living in community
Your mercy and justice meet.

Lord Jesus Christ let now Your mind
live once again in us,
for though you equaled even God,
you lived with humbleness,
Your body, knit to mundane flesh,
appeared to us a slave,
You suffered death upon the cross,
descended to the grave.

Now God reveals this mystery
confounding humankind:
Christ’s resurrected body,
once poor, now rests on high,
and at His name all knees shall bend
and every tongue proclaim
the Son who knows humanity,
the God who shares our pain.

Let now this heavenly model
become our life in Christ:
that we might see divinity
in service throughout life
to one another, women, men
all people, slaves set free:
as children whose example
predicts the life to be.

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