Beyond Books: “Come, Lord Jesus, Be Our Guest”

Come, Lord Jesus, be our guest
And let these gifts to us be blessed
Amen

1891 German version of "Come, Lord Jesus"
“Come, Lord Jesus” began as a Moravian prayer in the 18th century. Here’s how it appears (auf deutsch) in an 1891 Moravian hymnal – Hymnary.org

Today I’m happy to continue my new Anxious Bench series — on Christian writings that don’t take the form of books — by reflecting on the table grace that I’ve known all my life and am now teaching my children. Here’s an excerpt from the post:

So what’s so important about these fifteen words? How has [“Come, Lord Jesus, Be Our Guest”] changed the church, and perhaps the world?

First, it reminds us that Christian faith is not purely intellectual or other-worldly; it is incarnate, inseparable from the body’s physical needs.

Second, it reminds us that Christian faith is not individualistic; it is inseparable from our relationships, with Jesus and with his other followers. For me, this prayer especially drives home the realization that my faith is bound up with my family; it helps me remember that I know Jesus Christ not only by personal decision but because my parents and their parents and generations more knew him first.

Enstrom, "Grace"
Eric Enstrom’s famous 1918 photo, “Grace” – Wikimedia

May it be so with our children and their children as well! If Lutheran theologian Carl Braaten was right that Christianity is always “only a generation away from possible extinction” — meaning that it can’t be sustained in the form of buildings, books, or institutions, only through living faith passed on from one witness to another — then “Come, Lord Jesus” joins bedtime prayers and other seemingly simple liturgies in keeping alive a story that will be forgotten if it’s not shared.

Read the full post — including a Hamilton allusion that hints at a post coming soon! — at The Anxious Bench.

<<Read the first entry in this series


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