Featured Hymns- Ponte Sant' Angelo Methodist Church

Featured Hymns

17 May 2020

Forth in Thy Name, O Lord

Words by Charles Wesley
Music by John Hatton

At some point in our lives, we all do someone else's bidding. We might work for a company. We might volunteer for a charity. We might simply say "yes" to a request for help that we receive from a neighbor, friend, or family member. We are not going about our own business. We may not even be qualified to do the work. Instead, we are representing someone else. We use their credentials and act in their name. We ask the people we deal with to rely on the person we represent. We are often asked to rely on the people that they represent, too.

Being able to deal directly with someone who is trained or qualified usually makes us feel more comfortable. Let's use a simple example. For health issues you listen to doctors. For car problems you listen to mechanics. Both of these people are capable of giving good advice, but you would not want to mix them up! How much confidence would you have in a doctor's advice on rebuilding an engine, or a mechanic's advice on open heart surgery?

Sometimes we don't have direct access to the "experts." Instead, we have to rely on their representatives. If we talk with a doctor's nurse, we will usually accept that the nurse has adequate training to deliver the message, and that the doctor's medical diagnosis is contained in the message that the nurse is delivering. If we talk with a service writer at the garage, we will usually accept that the service writer has adequate training to deliver the message, and that we are hearing the mechanic's automotive diagnosis. The information and ideas are credible. They have meaning. This is not because of the skill or expertise of the nurse or the service writer. It is because they represent someone else who has knowledge and skill.

The same thing can happen in our lives as Christians. We have a powerful message to share, but the message is not our own. It is a message from God. We are sent to carry the message in our thoughts and our words and our actions. The words that we speak and the things that we do should convey the information and ideas--the truth--that we have learned from God, and the whole world should know that our message comes from God.

This week's featured hymn, Forth in Thy Name, O Lord, was written by Charles Wesley (1707-1788). It speaks verse by verse about the common, daily tasks that we pursue, but look at where it starts. "Forth in Thy Name, O Lord." In our daily labors, we go in the name of the Lord. In all of our works, we go in the name of the Lord. On our walk to heaven, we go (and can only go) in the name of the Lord. In thought and word and deed, all is done with a focus on the Lord, whose mission we pursue. Here are the words of the hymn:

1. Forth in thy name, O Lord, I go, 
my daily labor to pursue; 
thee, only thee, resolved to know 
in all I think or speak or do.
2. The task thy wisdom hath assigned, 
O let me cheerfully fulfill; 
in all my works thy presence find, 
and prove thy good and perfect will.
3. Thee may I set at my right hand,
whose eyes mine in-most substance see,
and labor on at thy command,
and offer all my works to thee.
4. For thee delightfully employ
what e'er thy bounteous grace hath given;
and run my course with even joy,
and closely walk with thee to heaven.

The tune DUKE STREET is universally attributed John Hatton (c1710-c1793). It is sung with several popular hymns, the best known possibly being Isaac Watts' Jesus Shall Reign. Others include Come, Let Us Tune Our Loftiest Song by Robert West, From All That Dwell Below the Skies by Isaac Watts, I Know that My Redeemer Lives by Samuel Medley, and O God, Beneath Thy Guiding Hand by Leonard Bacon. Although the tune is well known and well liked by hymn writers and hymn singers, little seems to be known of Hatton himself. The name "Duke Street" may have come from the street where Hatton lived. Perhaps the fact of Hatton's obscurity is itself an example of a servant doing his Lord's bidding, and letting the Lord shine instead of trying to capture the credit or attention.

What message do you carry? Whose name do you represent? There is power in the messages that you carry. The most powerful and joyful message of all is one that comes from the Lord.

God Bless You!