January 8, 2021

The High Tower

And if in lonely places, a fearful child, I shrink, he prays the prayers within me I cannot ask or think; in deep unspoken language, known only to that love 
Here's a long-ish hymn that goes with today's watchword, but is too long to post in a devotional. Called The High Tower, it was written in the 1600's by Paul Gerhardt, and translated by Frances Bevan in 1899. It is based on Psalm 62:6. 

Gerhardt is one of the greatest hymn-writers in the German language. We still sing several of his hymns in English, among them, O Sacred Head, Now Wounded.

Is God for me? I fear not, though all against me rise;
I call on Christ my Savior, the host of evil flies.
My friend the Lord Almighty, and he who loves me, God, what enemy shall harm me, though coming as a flood?
I know it, I believe it, I say it fearlessly,
that God, the Highest, Mightiest, forever loveth me;
at all times, in all places, he standeth at my side,
he rules the battle fury, the tempest and the tide.

A Rock that stands forever is Christ my Righteousness,
and there I stand unfearing in everlasting bliss;
no earthly thing is needful to this my life from heaven,
and nought of love is worthy, save that which Christ has given.
Christ, all my praise and glory, my Light most sweet and fair,
the ship wherein he saileth is scatheless everywhere;
in him I dare be joyful, a hero in the war,
the judgment of the sinner affrighteth me no more.

There is no condemnation, there is no hell for me,
the torment and the fire my eyes shall never see;
for me there is no sentence, for me has death no stings,
because the Lord who saved me shall shield me with his wings.
Above my soul’s dark waters his Spirit hovers still,
he guards me from all sorrow, from terror and from ill;
in me he works and blesses the life-seed he has sown,
from him I learn the Abba, that prayer of faith alone.

And if in lonely places, a fearful child, I shrink,
he prays the prayers within me I cannot ask or think;
in deep unspoken language, known only to that love
who fathoms the heart’s mystery from the throne of light above.
His Spirit to my spirit sweet words of comfort saith,
how God the weak one strengthens who leans on him in faith;
how he hath built a city, of love, and light, and song,
where the eye at last beholdeth what the heart had loved so long.

And there is mine inheritance, my kingly palace-home;
the leaf may fall and perish, not less the spring will come;
as wind and rain of winter, our earthly sighs and tears,
till the golden summer dawneth of the endless year of years.
The world may pass and perish, thou, God, wilt not remove—
no hatred of all devils can part me from thy Love;
no hungering nor thirsting, no poverty nor care,
no wrath of mighty princes can reach my shelter there.

No Angel, and no heaven, no throne, nor power, nor might,
no love, no tribulation, no danger, fear, nor fight,
no height, no depth, no creature that has been or can be,
can drive me from thy bosom, can sever me from thee.
My heart in joy upleapeth, grief cannot linger there—
while singing high in glory amidst the sunshine fair;
the source of all my singing is high in heaven above;
the Sun that shines upon me is Jesus and his love.

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