Hymn of the Day - Advent to Epiphany

Dec 31 Lord, for the years – Timothy Dudley-Smith

Lord, for the years your love has kept and guided
Timothy Dudley-Smith (1926 - )
© Timothy Dudley-Smith in Europe and Africa. © Hope Publishing Company in the United States of America and the rest of the world. Reproduced by permission of Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.

Tune:  LORD OF THE YEARS, Michael Baughen (1930 - )
© Michael Baughen/Jubilate Hymns Ltd.

Timothy Dudley-Smith

Timothy Dudley-Smith

For reasons of copyright, this hymn text may not be downloaded.

Lord, for the years your love has kept and guided,
urged and inspired us, cheered us on our way,
sought us and saved us, pardoned and provided,
Lord of the years, we bring our thanks today.

Lord, for that word, the word of life which fires us,
speaks to our hearts and sets our souls ablaze,
teaches and trains, rebukes us and inspires us,
Lord of the word, receive your people's praise.

Lord, for our land, in this our generation,
spirits oppressed by pleasure, wealth and care;
for young and old, for commonwealth and nation,
Lord of our land, be pleased to hear our prayer.

Lord, for our world; when we disown and doubt him,
loveless in strength, and comfortless in pain;
hungry and helpless, lost indeed without him,
Lord of the world, we pray that Christ may reign.

Lord, for ourselves; in living power remake us,
self on the cross and Christ upon the throne;
past put behind us, for the future take us,
Lord of our lives, to live for Christ alone.

Timothy Dudley-Smith (born 1926)
'Lord, for the years your love' by Timothy Dudley-Smith (b. 1926). © Timothy Dudley-Smith in Europe and Africa. © Hope Publishing Company in the United States of America and the rest of the world. Reproduced by permission of Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.

Timothy Dudley-Smith

Welcome to my home in Cambridge, as together we say goodbye to 2020, what a strange, difficult, tragic and heroic year. I have been asked to share a word with you about the hymn, ‘Lord for the years’, as we look forward to a new year. I wrote it over 50 years ago now, for the centenary of Scripture Union.

And, you know, there’s a different experience in reading a hymn, or hearing it read, compared with singing it. We shall hear it sung soon. But in the meantime, may I read it to you verse by verse, with just a tiny comment on each of the five verses.

The first is about thankfulness, which is a big part of Christian discipleship.

Lord, for the years your love has kept and guided,
urged and inspired us, cheered us on our way,
sought us and saved us,

Those are Jesus’ words. He came to seek and to save.

                                    pardoned and provided,

that’s from the Lords prayer: forgive us our sins, give us our daily bread.

sought us and saved us, pardoned and provided,
Lord of the years, we bring our thanks today.

And then, about the scriptures.

Lord, for that word, the word of life which fires us,
speaks to our hearts and sets our souls ablaze,

Do you remember how, in 1953 at the coronation of our present Queen, in the service at Westminster Abbey, she was presented with a Bible.

We present you with this book, the most valuable thing this world affords. Here is wisdom, this is the royal law. these are the lively oracles of God.

Why is the Bible described in those amazing terms? Well, the answer is because it’s our guidebook to heaven.

And then we pray for our country.

Lord, for our land, in this our generation,
spirits oppressed by pleasure, wealth and care;

That s just again what Jesus said in his parable of the sower, that it was the cares for the riches and the pleasures of this life that choked any spiritual life within us.

for young and old, - we think of Covid
                        for commonwealth and nation,

Lord of our land, - our very materialistic land - be pleased to hear our prayer.

Then we look more widely at the world.

Lord, for our world; when we disown and doubt him,
loveless in strength, and comfortless in pain;
hungry and helpless
,

- describes so much of our world today as it comes to us on the television

lost indeed without him,

- again Jesus’ words, to seek and to save that which was lost

Lord of the world, - and here’s the climax,
                        we pray that Christ may reign.

And then for ourselves. It has to begin with us. Jesus talked to Nicodemus, you remember, about being born again as a new creation.

Lord, for ourselves; in living power remake us,
self on the cross and Christ upon the throne;
past put behind us, for the future take us,

That doesn’t mean we can’t remember and give thanks for the past. The picture is of someone running a marathon; they don’t look behind them. They press towards the mark, and we do the same.

Lord of our lives, to live for Christ alone.

And Michael Baughen wrote a tune to it, to which it has usually been sung ever since. I hope that it may speak to you as you hear it.

God bless you.

Lord, For The Years · The Orchestra Choir and Congregation of All Souls Church
The Hymn Makers: Timothy Dudley-Smith (Tell Out, My Soul)
℗ 1996 Integrity Music

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