Hear our voice, O Lord, according to your faithful love.
Newness of life
Father, I have lost the feeling of your presence. Yet deep in my heart I know that it is not because you left me, but because I have wandered from you.
"All we like sheep have gone astray. We have turned everyone to his own way." I confess that I have found that way hard and wearisome. My feet are tired of wandering. My heart is sick of being lost. I would return to you now and be led of you in your way, that I may walk once more with a sense of direction and a clear light upon my path.
O my Father, receive me—your prodigal child; prodigal because I have wandered in a far country, prodigal in my forgetfulness of you, prodigal in all the blessings I have taken for granted. Now, bowing before you, I acknowledge them all.
And now I rise and come back to you, my Father, knowing that you are even now running to meet me, placing over my shoulders the robe of your love, placing upon my hand the ring of your forgiveness, pressing upon me the case of a divine love that knows no limit—a love which loved me while I was yet a sinner—a love that brought Jesus to Calvary.
I thank you for that love; I thank you for this restoration. I thank you that you are still my Father, that I am still your child.
The new person
I know, Father that I must come to you just as I am. But I also know that I do not go away just as I came.
Often I have known failure—failure in the moral realm, failure in ethics, failure in my attitudes, failure in my disposition.
I have confessed all these defeats to you and you have graciously forgiven me. Yet I know, Lord, that merely to forgive me will not suffice. For unless I am changed, I shall do these same things again. At last I know, Lord, that only you can correct that within me which makes me do wrong.
Where I am blind, you must give me sight.
So, Lord, I acknowledge my total dependence upon you. Make me over into the person you want me to be, that I may yet find that destiny for which you gave me but. For His help, who is plenteous in mercy, I give you my gratitude.
—The Prayers of Peter Marshall, edited by Catherine Marshall. London: Peter Davies, 1955.
J.S. Bach. Ruht wohl, ihr heiligen Gebeine [Rest well, ye holy bones and members], the final chorus, and Ach Herr, lass dein lieb Engelein [Ah Lord, let thine own angels dear], the final chorale, from the St John Passion (BWV 245). Masaaki Suzuki, Bach Collegium Japan.
… both especially suited to Holy Saturday.
Ruht wohl, ihr heiligen Gebeine,
Die ich nun weiter nicht beweine,
Ruht wohl und bringt auch mich zur Ruh!
Das Grab, so euch bestimmet ist
Und ferner keine Not umschließt,
Macht mir den Himmel auf und schließt die Hölle zu.
Ach Herr, lass dein lieb Engelein
Am letzten End die Seele mein
In Abrahams Schoß tragen,
Den Leib in seim Schlafkämmerlein
Gar sanft ohn eigne Qual und Pein
Ruhn bis am jüngsten Tage!
Alsdenn vom Tod erwecke mich,
Dass meine Augen sehen dich
In aller Freud, o Gottes Sohn,
Mein Heiland und Genadenthron!
Herr Jesu Christ, erhöre mich,
Ich will dich preisen ewiglich!
(Martin Schalling, 1571)
Rest well, ye holy bones and members,
Which I henceforth shall never weep for,
Rest well and bring me, too, to rest!
The tomb which for you is assigned,
And henceforth no distress will hold,
Doth open heav'n to me and shut the gates of hell.
Ah Lord, let thine own angels dear
At my last hour my spirit bear
To Abraham's own bosom,
My body in its simple bed
In peace without distress and dread
Rest till the day of judgment!
And then from death awaken me,
That with mine eyes I may see thee
In fullest joy, O God's own Son,
My Saviour and my gracious throne!
Lord Jesus Christ, give ear to me,
I would thee praise eternally!
May God our Redeemer show us compassion and love. Amen.