Posted by: rcottrill | May 23, 2019

Remember Me, O Mighty One

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Words: (author unknown)
Music: Joanna Kinkel (b. July 8, 1810; d. Nov. 15, 1858); adapted by George Frederick Root (b. Aug. 30, 1820; d. Aug. 6, 1895)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal (none, as of this date)
Hymnary.org

Note: Joanna Kinkel was a German composer. We don’t know the author of the words, but they were published in an 1880 hymn book, so likely come from the nineteenth century. I can recall a men’s choir I was in, back in the 1960’s, singing this prayer quite effectively. On the Wordwise Hymns link you get a bonus: a link to a quartet singing this hymn.

The word remember is a common one. There are things we want to secure in our memories and give attention to at a later time. Perhaps it’s a phone call we want to make, or something to add to the weekly shopping list. And, as we get older, recalling some things, like dates and phone numbers, seems to get more difficult. Remembering names can get harder too. We may see a face in our mind’s eye, but the name eludes us for a time.

Another dimension may be added when it’s a person we remember. He or she may be absent from us for a time, or possibly has passed away. To remember them involves more than just calling a name or face to mind. There’s an emotional and intentional element too. On Remembrance Day, November 11th, we show respect for those who died in service for our country, expressing our approval of their sacrifice with speeches, songs and ceremonies.

“Remember me” is a phrase used quite a few times in the Bible. The intentional aspect of it can be seen in the words of Joseph, who’d been falsely accused and locked in an Egyptian prison. When Pharaoh’s butler, a fellow-prisoner, was released, Joseph said to him, “Remember me when it is well with you, and please show kindness to me; make mention of me to Pharaoh, and get me out of this house” (Gen. 40:14). Attention with intention.

When the Lord Jesus says the Lord’s Supper (or Communion) is to be celebrated “in remembrance of Me” (I Cor. 11:23-26), it’s not simply a matter of going through a familiar ritual. We are being directed to meditate sincerely on His sacrifice on the cross, and to live, day by day, in such a way that we show our personal application of it.

Frequently in Scripture the phrase is used in prayer. Nehemiah prayed, “Remember me, my God, for good, according to all that I have done for this people [i.e. the Jews who’d returned to Judea after captivity in Babylon]” (Neh. 5:19). And later he prays, “Remember me, O my God, concerning this also, and spare me according to the greatness of Your mercy!” (Neh. 13:22).

The psalmist prays, “Remember me, O Lord, with the favour You have toward Your people; oh, visit me with Your salvation” (Ps. 106:4). And the prophet Jeremiah prays, “O Lord, You know; remember me and visit me, and take vengeance for me on my persecutors. In Your enduring patience, do not take me away. Know that for Your sake I have suffered rebuke” (Jer. 15:15).

It can be seen from these few examples that the call for God to “remember” is often a cry for help in time of need. We see the same thing with the words of the dying thief, hanging on a cross next to Christ. “He said to Jesus, ‘Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom’” (Lk. 23:42). A plea which the Lord promised to fulfil. “Jesus said to him, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise’” (vs. 43).

In Psalm 25, David voices an urgent plea for protection, guidance, and God’s forgiveness:

“Remember, O Lord, Your tender mercies and Your lovingkindnesses, for they are from of old….According to Your mercy remember me, For Your goodness’ sake, O Lord” (Ps. 27:6, 7).

We don’t know what events brought David to pray that way, but it may have been this distressed petition which inspired a passionate prayer hymn. The author of the words may remain unknown to us, but they are poignant.

Note: Stanza 2 seems to be referring to the incident when Peter asked if he could come to Jesus, walking on the sea. But he became afraid and began to sink (Matt. 14:22-33). The author uses it as a picture of a fear of sinking in a time of great distress.

1) When storms around are sweeping,
When lone my watch I’m keeping,
‘Mid fires of evil falling,
‘Mid tempters’ voices calling,

Remember me, O Mighty One!
Remember me, O Mighty One!

2) When walking on life’s ocean,
Control its raging motion;
When from its dangers shrinking,
When in it’s dread deep sinking,

3) When weight of sin oppresses,
When dark despair distresses,
All through the life that’s mortal,
And when I pass death’s portal,

Questions:
1) Have you face days of extreme difficulty and maybe “dark despair” as the hymn describes?

2) Did the Lord provide in some special way, when you prayed?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal (none, as of this date)
Hymnary.org


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