Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12


Gaze Up in Throes of Death

Here is a Hymn (still in the rough) that I have been working on. Let me know what you think.

Feel free to use it if you deem it worthy.

Gaze Up in Throes of Death

Text by Ken Maher ©2014 Based on Numbers 21:4-9; John 3:14-18
To Tune of # 702 (LSB) “My Faith Looks Up to Thee” [Olivet]


Gaze up in throes of death, poison seeps, stealing breath,

in dust they lie.

Bitter the words complain, casting on God their shame.

Slaves to their wants remain and for this die.


But God looks down in love and sets in bronze above

a shining light.

Gentle is sin reproved thus in faith hearts are moved

so bitter works removed with sin’s dark blight.


See also in our sin the devil seeks to win

our grov’ling soul.

Poison inflames the heart distrusting from the start

to play our given part, that servant role.


Gaze up with eyes of Faith see there God’s holy face,

thorns crown His head.

In the Lord’s sacrifice all dying may find life

the serpent has his bite and is crushed dead.


For God so loved us all He lifted death’s dark pall

cast on this world.

The one who died, now raised, is rightly to be praised

Oh, sinner lift thy gaze to life unfurled!



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Year after Year

Luther once wrote: “In time one becomes tired of other hymns, but ‘Christ ist erstranden’ one can sing year after year.”  Christ Jesus Lay in Death’s Strong Bands was a hymn that he loved dearly and referred to often.  And why wouldn’t he?

Rarely will you find a hymn with a more encompassing, and comforting theology.  Here our true Paschal Lamb we truly see.  Here the story of our salvation, and God’s continued grace is played out before our eyes and in our ears.  In these few short stanzas is contained all that makes this Passiontide so important for you and me.  In these few short stanzas is the whole of the theology of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday … of the Cross and the Glory … of Suffering and Joy … of Death and Life.

So won’t you join me in singing (praying) it again this year? Even year after year, I guarantee you will not tire of it!

May God bless you and your loved ones in this most holy season as you remember that the victory remains with life, the reign of death is ended!

Christ Jesus Lay in Death’s Strong Bands

Christ Jesus lay in death’s strong bands For our offenses given;
But now at God’s right hand He stands And brings us life from heaven.
Therefore let us joyful be And sing to God right thankfully
Loud songs of alleluia! Alleluia!

No son of man could conquer death, Such ruin sin had wrought us.
No innocence was found on earth, And therefore death had brought us
Into bondage from of old And ever grew more strong and bold
And held us as its captive. Alleluia!

Christ Jesus, God’s own Son, came down, His people to deliver;
Destroying sin, He took the crown From death’s pale brow forever:
Stripped of pow’r, no more it reigns; An empty form alone remains;
Its sting is lost forever. Alleluia!

It was a strange and dreadful strife When life and death contended;
The victory remained with life, The reign of death was ended.
Holy Scripture plainly saith That death is swallowed up by death,
Its sting is lost forever. Alleluia!

Here our true Paschal Lamb we see, Whom God so freely gave us;
He died on the accursèd tree — So strong His love—to save us.
See, His blood now marks our door; Faith points to it; death passes o’er,
And Satan cannot harm us. Alleluia!

So let us keep the festival To which the Lord invites us;
Christ is Himself the joy of all, The sun that warms and lights us.
Now His grace to us imparts Eternal sunshine to our hearts;
The night of sin is ended. Alleluia!

Then let us feast this Easter Day On Christ, the bread of heaven;
The Word of grace has purged away The old and evil leaven.
Christ alone our souls will feed; He is our meat and drink indeed;
Faith lives upon no other! Alleluia!

Text and Music: Public domain

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Unworthy Servant Tho I Be

Maybe its all the nice compliments from Ruth … maybe I’m just feeling poetic lately … maybe I’m just waiting for someone to cry out “Don’t give up your day job!”  In any case, here is another hymn I have put to pen for this coming Sunday’s Gospel reading.

Text by Ken Maher

Luke 17:1-10

Tune: #609 (LSB) “Jesus Sinners Doth Receive” [78 78 77]

1. Temptations unto sin must come,

but woe to me for I have caused them.

Careless round the little ones,

my freedoms I do take for granted.

So I cry out unto Thee,

unworthy servant tho I be!

2. My life is an example poor,

so oft it’s lived without due rev’rence.

Little study of Your Word,

even less for Church attendance.

Sacraments, no thought from me,

unworthy servant that I be.

3. Sin all around, so plain to see,

e’en in the lives of those I care for.

Yet no rebuke will come from me,

fearing they might close that door.

Oh does respect mean more to me,

than if their souls God should receive?

4. And when from sin someone repents,

asking me for my forgiveness,

Are the words grudgingly spent,

or given out as if I care less?

Hold back this same, O not from me,

unworthy servant tho I be!

5. By myself I cannot stand,

before your mighty throne in heaven.

I give you naught but empty hand,

pleading but what You have given:

Your own dear Son upon that Tree,

Body broke, Blood shed for me.

6. Worthy servant, faithful fruit,

perfect life, became an offence.

Willingly bore my rebuke,

and now grants me full forgiveness.

Each and every time I need,

His wounded hands my case will plead.

7. Hear now, Lord, my fervent prayer,

given in the name of Jesus,

As I face this world of cares,

side by side with Him who frees us,

Increase my faith, help me to see,

a Worthy Servant I will be!

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The Feast Prepared

Text by Ken Maher

Luke 16:19-31

To Tune of #622 (LSB) “Lord Jesus Christ You Have Prepared” [87 87 887]

1. Hear how there was a wealthy man

not so unlike you or me,

He all for his own pleasure lived.

To satisfy all his needs,

The finest wines the richest fare,

were laid upon his table there,

nothing to good for him you see.

2. Down at his gates there sat a man,

cast out upon the cold street.

A beggar poor, his festered arms,

weak by his side, in so much need.

A man used up, a man cast out,

a man whose life went round about

seeking the scraps not fit to eat.

3. Lazarus, left this veil of tears,

lifted up on the angels’ wings.

Comforted, in the end you see,

his life was a glad offering.

Not so for the rich man to be,

for when he died and was buried,

all he would find was suffering.

4. In seeking to be rich like him,

we set ourselves a table.

The cost for dining there we’ll find,

a payment we’re unable.

God’s gifts of wealth are not for us,

to be used so, in selfish trust,

pleasure’s a passing fable.

5. If in yourself you should now see,

this selfishness convicted.

Do not so fear your future friend,

heav’n is ne-er restricted.

We’re all like beggars at the gate,

we’ve no right to demand a plate,

but at His table we’re seated.

6 Gladly let us hear Moses’ word,

and that of all the prophets.

The Father sent His Son so dear,

to come and bear our crosses.

Though He was rich He became poor,

suff’ring all that we had in store.

The cup of wrath He quaffed.

7. All this was done for humankind,

a dinner invitation,

to fill our souls with Word so dear,

to wash in His salvation,

to feast upon His Holy Sup,

eating the bread, drinking the cup,

our true Lord’s habitation.

8. May blessed table now prepared,

serve as our inspiration,

That we may seek to spend with care,

and selfless ministrations.

Our neighbour’s wants are now our own,

We have been blessed with heavn’ly home,

live it with true elation!

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Christ Set His Face

Text:   Luke 9:51-62

To Tune of #425 (LSB) “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” [Hamburg – LM]

Hymn Text by Ken Maher

1. Christ set His face to Calv’ry high,

When time came to be lifted up.

With resolve He would not decry

to down bitter dregs of that cup.


2. Foxes have holes and birds have nests,

by His care they ne’er suffer loss

For His own Son there’s no such rest

But lay His head upon the cross.


3. Love for Father, duty of Son

by such concerns He’s only led.

Buried is sin, and the day won

When He’s abandoned, left for dead.


4. All for fam’ly, for you, for me

Stretches out hand, not once looking back.

For this purpose all things He sees,

And in this gift we nothing lack.


5. When I set my face to His cross,

See again through my Saviour’s eyes;

May I come to count all as loss

But that my Lord for me did die!


He Turned Not Aside

Here’s a little something just in time for Palm Sunday …

Text by Ken Maher ©2010

Based on Numbers 22:1-34, Luke 19:29-40

To Tune of #442 (LSB) “All Glory, Laud, and Honor” [76 76 D]


1. A lowly beast of burden upon the road once trod.

God’s anger there before it in holy angel shod.

Unwitting was poor Balaam, the sword before him bared.

Unkind, the hand that lashed out when his own life was spared.


2. Once from the road it wandered into the field aside.

Once to the wall it pressed in, the master’s foot to bind.

When no more room was left it, upon the road it lay,

For love’s great burden led it to spare his life that day.


3. A second beast of burden, foretold to us by them.

God’s anger still unanswered in old Jerusalem.

Full seeing is this Jesus, the price that must be paid.

Yet gentle are the hands upon that donkey laid.


4. For love again the burden, He will not turn aside.

His Hand and foot so gentle upon the cross must bind.

A life again will lay down, ‘neath wrath and curse and scorn.

Unfair the anger’s target, yet gladly it is born.


5. Oh, Lord, so quickly kindled our anger does lash out.

Your sacrifice free given casts all our pride to rout.

Forgive our misplaced incense, that would Your love decry

And turn us from our danger with full and open eye.


6. Lord Jesus hear our praises to You the servant king.

Again our sins upon you, we gladly now will bring.

E’en now You bear them in love, as once you did back then,

So let our glad Hosanna’s uplift in bold AMEN!