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Great is Thy Faithfulness
Inspired by the words of the prophet Jeremiah, Rev. Thomas Chrisholm penned the lyrics of the beloved hymn, “Great is Thy Faithfulness” (LSB 809). After 40 years of Jeremiah preaching God’s word of warning to Jerusalem, it finally happened… The city fell and the children of Israel became enslaved to their enemies. The first three chapters of the book of Lamentations are words of heartbreak and doom and gloom: bitter weeping, loneliness, harsh labor, hunger, and abandonment of the sanctuary.
Sound familiar? Here we are in the 21st century in the metropolis of New York City with our pandemic woes: weeping as we mourn the dead, isolating ourselves in our apartments and houses, struggling to find employment or valiantly trying to equip ourselves with new skills, seeing longer and longer lines in food banks, and trying to figure out what it means to be church behind a mask or in front of a computer screen.
In this dark context, Jeremiah’s words point us to the bright hope of God’s steadfast and unending love:
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases,
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
Rev. Chrisholm shared his poem based on this text with his friend, Rev. William Runyan, who composed the music. Since 1923, this hymn has been included in countless American hymnals.
1. Great is thy faithfulness, O God my Father
There is no shadow of turning with thee;
Thou changest not, thy compassions they fail not;
As thou hast been, thou forever wilt be.
Great is thy faithfulness! Great is thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed thy hand hath provided;
Great is thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!
2. Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon, and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love. Refrain
3. Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside! Refrain
In these dark days, may this hymn be a source of comfort to you, reminding you of God’s faithfulness in the ever-changing seasons of our lives. Our God never changes. His love never ceases. His peace endureth forever. This we sing. This we proclaim!
God’s richest blessings to you, my dear Sisters-in Christ!
Dr. Jean Boehler
Cantor, Redeemer Evangelical Lutheran Church, The Bronx, New York
LWML Atlantic District Chairperson for Human Care