Posted by: rcottrill | March 13, 2015

My Jesus, As Thou Wilt

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Words: Benjamin Schmolk (b. Dec. 21, 1672; d. Feb. 12, 1737); translated from German by Jane Borthwick (1813-1897)
Music: Jewett, by Carl Maria Friedrich Ernst von Weber (b. Nov. 18, 1786; d. June 5, 1826)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: Weber was a German classical composer and pianist. The hymn tune Jewett was a musical theme adapted from his opera Der Freischütz (the Marksman).

This is a truly wonderful hymn. Unfortunately, most hymnals include only three of the seven stanzas (CH-1, 4, and 7). The practice is not that unusual. Editors often include only a few stanzas of longer hymns. This is done for one or more of several reasons.

¤ More space is needed on the page
¤ Some stanzas are deemed doctrinally inaccurate, or too sectarian
¤ Some stanzas are poetically inferior or awkward to sing
¤ The belief that congregations don’t like long hymns

Regarding the last point, there are service leaders who, when they see a hymn with even four stanzas, feel they must shorten it by skipping one. (Often, without a shred of logic, it is the third that is left out.) Frankly, I find this ridiculous. Some hymns and gospel songs have a logical flow that is missed if stanzas are omitted. (At Calvary is like that.) Other times each stanza presents worthwhile teaching–as the present one does. If it is a quality hymn, why not sing it all?

Or, there are alternatives.

You could use the hymn as a devotional reading (perhaps in unison). Or sing some stanzas and have the congregation read the others in unison. Or split the hymn, and sing the latter part of it later in the service. Occasionally, if I want to make a specific point, I will select stanzas to suit. But it is not an arbitrary skipping to shorten the hymn. And on another occasion I will use the whole hymn. For other ideas click on the link above to 30+ Ideas for Promoting Hymn Singing.

CH-1) My Jesus, as Thou wilt! Oh, may Thy will be mine!
Into Thy hand of love I would my all resign;
Through sorrow, or through joy, conduct me as Thine own,
And help me still to say, my Lord, Thy will be done!

CH-2) My Jesus, as Thou wilt! If needy here and poor,
Give me Thy people’s bread, their portion rich and sure.
The manna of Thy Word Let my soul feed upon;
And if all else should fail, my Lord, thy will be done!

CH-3) My Jesus, as Thou wilt! If among thorns I go,
Still sometimes, here and there, let a few roses blow.
But Thou on earth along the thorny path hast gone;
Then lead me after Thee; My Lord, Thy will be done!

Submission to the will of God is the relentless theme of this great hymn. “Thy will be done” is part of the Lord’s Prayer (in the King James Version).

“Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10).

Just as the holy angels faithfully do the will of God in heaven, it should be our desire for that to happen on earth. And, when Christ comes to reign, it will. Meanwhile, it should be the commitment of each person’s heart to do that, day by day. With similar words, the Gospels record the submission of the Lord Jesus to His heavenly Father in Gethsemane: “Not as I will, but as You will” (Matt. 26:39; Mk. 14:36; Lk. 22:42).

CH-4) My Jesus, as Thou wilt! Though seen through many a tear,
Let not my star of hope grow dim or disappear;
Since Thou on earth hast wept, and sorrowed oft alone,
If I must weep with Thee, my Lord, Thy will be done!

CH-5) My Jesus, as Thou wilt! If loved ones must depart,
Suffer not sorrow’s flood to overwhelm my heart;
For they are blest with Thee, their race and conflict won;
Let me but follow them, my Lord, Thy will be done!

Glance through the hymn and see the various circumstances in which the author pledges to seek only the will of God. Times of sorrow or joy, whatever comes his way (CH-1 and 7); times of pressing need (CH-2); times of “thorns,” or painful trials (CH-3); times of sorrowful loss of loved ones (CH-4 and 5); at the time of death (CH-6). What a great compendium this is, worthy of our careful meditation.

CH-6) My Jesus, as Thou wilt! When death itself draws nigh,
To Thy dear wounded side I would for refuge fly;
Leaning on Thee, to go where Thou before hast gone;
The rest as Thou shalt please; my Lord, Thy will be done!

CH-7) My Jesus, as Thou wilt! All shall be well for me;
Each changing future scene I gladly trust with Thee:
Straight to my home above I travel calmly on,
And sing, in life or death, my Lord, Thy will be done!

Questions:
1) If you were able to add a stanza to this hymn, for what human circumstance would it call for the believer’s submission to God?

2) Do you use this hymn in your church? (If not, would it be possible to introduce it?)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org


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