The Worship Quote of the Week for (07/15/2008):

"Lord, It Belongs Not to My Care"
Today's WORSHIP QUOTE is a very old poem by one of the English Puritan pastor-scholars, Richard Baxter (1615-1691). It is a text that reminds me of Paul's confidence in God when he wrote to the Philippian church, "For me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain." Take a look at Philippians 1:21-26 after you read this insightful poem.


Lord, it belongs not to my care,
Whether I die or live;
To love and serve thee is my share,
And this thy grace must give.

If life be long, I will be glad
That I may long obey;
If short, yet why should I be sad
To soar to endless day?

Christ leads me through no darker rooms
Than he went through before;
He that unto God's kingdom comes
Must enter by this door.

Come, Lord, when grace has made me meet
Thy blessed face to see;
For if thy work on earth be sweet,
What will thy glory be?

Then shall I end my sad complaints,
And weary, sinful days,
And join with the triumphant saints
That sing Jehovah's praise.

My knowledge of that life is small,
The eye of faith is dim;
But 'tis enough that Christ knows all,
And I shall be with him.

--Richard Baxter (1615-1691), from POETICAL FRAGMENTS, 1681. I was introduced to this powerful text when a friend showed me a lovely choral anthem by Carl Schalk (Augsburg 1978). We use this about once a year at our church. The choral setting omits the four lines that begin "Then shall I end."

Have a great week,

Chip Stam
Director, Institute for Christian Worship
School of Church Music and Worship
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Louisville, Kentucky

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