Jul 25, 2011

Song suggestion: Genesis 32:22-31

If your worship this week includes the reading of Genesis 32:22-31, here’s a traditional hymn you might want to take a look it. 

It was written in the 18th century by Charles Wesley, one of history’s most prolific and best known hymn-writers.  It’s based on the story of Jacob wrestling with the unknown stranger by the Jabbok River.  It’s a long text—thirteen stanzas—but well worth the read.  Most hymnals today only include 5-6 stanzas.

If you want to sing it (or some of it!), here are a few traditional tunes that would work:


Come, O Thou Traveller Unknown

Come, O thou Traveller unknown,
whom still I hold, but cannot see!
My company before is gone,
and I am left alone with Thee;
With Thee all night I mean to stay,
and wrestle till the break of day.

I need not tell Thee who I am,
my misery and sin declare;
Thyself hast called me by my name,
look on Thy hands, and read it there;
But who, I ask Thee, who art Thou?
Tell me Thy name, and tell me now.

In vain Thou strugglest to get free,
I never will unloose my hold!
Art Thou the Man that died for me?
The secret of Thy love unfold;
Wrestling, I will not let Thee go,
till I Thy name, Thy nature know.

Wilt Thou not yet to me reveal
Thy new, unutterable Name?
Tell me, I still beseech Thee, tell;
to know it now resolved I am;
Wrestling, I will not let Thee go,
till I Thy Name, Thy nature know.

’Tis all in vain to hold Thy tongue
or touch the hollow of my thigh;
Though every sinew be unstrung,
out of my arms Thou shalt not fly;
Wrestling I will not let Thee go
till I Thy name, Thy nature know.

What though my shrinking flesh complain,
and murmur to contend so long?
I rise superior to my pain,
when I am weak, then I am strong
and when my all of strength shall fail,
I shall with the God-man prevail.

My strength is gone, my nature dies,
I sink beneath Thy weighty hand,
Faint to revive, and fall to rise;
I fall, and yet by faith I stand;
I stand and will not let Thee go
till I Thy Name, Thy nature know.

Yield to me now, for I am weak,
but confident in self-despair;
Speak to my heart, in blessings speak,
be conquered by my instant prayer;
Speak, or Thou never hence shalt move,
and tell me if Thy Name is Love.

’Tis Love! ’tis Love! Thou diedst for me!
I hear Thy whisper in my heart;
The morning breaks, the shadows flee,
pure, universal love Thou art;
To me, to all, Thy bowels [mercies] move;
Thy nature and Thy Name is Love.

My prayer hath power with God; the grace
unspeakable I now receive;
Through faith I see Thee face to face,
I see Thee face to face, and live!
In vain I have not wept and strove;
Thy nature and Thy Name is Love.

I know Thee, Saviour, who Thou art.
Jesus, the feeble sinner’s friend;
Nor wilt Thou with the night depart.
but stay and love me to the end,
Thy mercies never shall remove;
Thy nature and Thy Name is Love.

The Sun of righteousness on me
hath rose with healing in His wings,
Withered my nature’s strength; from Thee
my soul its life and succour brings;
My help is all laid up above;
Thy nature and Thy Name is Love.

Contented now upon my thigh
I halt, till life’s short journey end;
All helplessness, all weakness I
on Thee alone for strength depend;
Nor have I power from Thee to move:
Thy nature, and Thy name is Love.
Lame as I am, I take the prey,
hell, earth, and sin, with ease o’ercome;
I leap for joy, pursue my way,
and as a bounding hart fly home,
through all eternity to prove
Thy nature and Thy Name is Love.


For more worship resources based on Genesis 32:22-31, or other scripture passages for July 31, 2011 (the seventh Sunday after Pentecost), click on Proper 13A in the list of “Labels” at the lower right side of the page.

For other song suggestions related to the lectionary passages for July 31, 2011, see Hymns & Songs: Proper 13A and Praise & Worship Songs: Proper 13A.