Sunday, June 21, 2009

Hymn of the Week: Faith Of Our Fathers

Given that today is Father's Day, it seems appropriate to choose a hymn that speaks highly of "fathers." Indeed, one of the Ten Commandments tells us to "honor thy father," which speaks to the importance of doing just that.

The "fathers" in this hymn, however, are not necessarily our fathers by flesh and blood. They are those who carried the Word of God to the nations and fought His battles. The first verse reminds us that their faith lives on. The second verse reminds us of our responsibility, carried out before by these fathers, to spread the Gospel message throughout the world. The third verse remind us to preach in love—reminding us that winning souls includes our "kindly words and virtuous life."

Although the hymn is common in Baptist and Protestant hymnals, it was written by an English Catholic, Frederick W. Faber. Its original third stanza, which you can view here, speaks of Mary's prayers winning England back to God. Nevertheless, the words of the stanzas below should echo in the hearts of any Christian.

Faith Of Our Fathers

Faith of our fathers, living still,
In spite of dungeon, fire and sword;
O how our hearts beat high with joy
Whenever we hear that glorious Word!


Faith of our fathers, holy faith!
We will be true to thee till death.

Faith of our fathers, we will strive
To win all nations unto Thee;
And through the truth that comes from God,
We all shall then be truly free.


Faith of our fathers, we will love
Both friend and foe in all our strife;
And preach Thee, too, as love knows how
By kindly words and virtuous life.


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