Some time ago, I conducted a funeral for someone who wanted us to sing the hymn “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” at the service. I thought I knew what hymn this was, but it turned out to be something I had never seen or heard before. Maybe I should be embarassed at that, since it seems to be a well-known American spiritual song, but I’m not. Though it has not been included in any Lutheran hymn books, it’s not really a terrible hymn. It is written in the form of a prayer, based loosely on James 1:17. Its main weakness is that it has little mention of justification or forgiveness in its three verses. The only place where the subject comes up is in the first line of the last verse: “Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth.” So I wrote the following as a final verse to bring the comfort of Christ home to those who needed to hear it:
Lord, Thou hast spoken, and I trust Thy Promise:
Joy everlasting, forgiveness of sin.
Cleanse me from guilt through Thy Son’s holy off’ring,
Seal my inheritance, usher me in.
I hereby give permission for anyone to use this verse in any way that hallows God’s name and lets His kingdom come.