862

Take Us as We Are, O God

Scripture References

Further Reflections on Scripture References

This hymn text takes as its theme the need for Christians to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. God showed his love by sending his son Jesus to “become flesh and dwell among us” (st. 1). We may experience peace through divine grace (st. 2) and be agents of healing (st. 3). And we are to be “light, salt, and yeast” in the world, to witness to the “last, lost, and least” (st. 4). Note how the opening verbs for each stanza – “Take,” “Bless,” “Break,” and “Give” – are also the primary verbs for the actions in the Lord’s Supper: a wonderful way of connecting our daily walk with the Lord with the spiritual nourishment of this sacrament.
 
Sing! A New Creation

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

God’s grace grants our baptism, and gives us our identity and our calling; however, it is up to us, with a renewed spirit, to respond to his call. We understand that just as “God reminds and assures us of our union with Christ in covenant love,” he also is “expecting our love and trust in return” (Our World Belong to God, paragraph 37). 
 
“We hear the Spirit’s call to love one another…to accept one another and to share at every level…and so fulfill the love of Christ” (Song of Hope, stanza 12). As washed and sanctified people, God’s children are called to “more and more [we] become dead to sin and live holy and blameless lives,” (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 26, Question and Answer 70) and this means “the dying away of the old-self, and the rising-to-life of the new” (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 33, Question and Answer 88). And so, as part of our baptism, God’s children are called to offer their lives to Christ. 
862

Take Us as We Are, O God

Additional Prayers

A Petitionary Prayer
 
Take us as we are, O God, but make us what we should be in the world you love.
                Make us salt and yeast and light.
                Make us prophets, priests, and kings.
                Make us agents, witnesses, and models of kingdom life.
Take us as we are, O God, but make us what we should be in the world you love,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Cornelius Plantinga, Jr. 
— Cornelius Plantinga, Jr.
862

Take Us as We Are, O God

Tune Information

Name
ENDLESS FEAST
Key
F Major or modal
Meter
7.6.8.6.8.6

Recordings

862

Take Us as We Are, O God

Hymn Story/Background

The first word in each of the four stanzas, to “take, bless, break, and give” form the basis for this text, following the fourfold shape of the Eucharist. Those words may also bring to mind the invitation in liturgies for the Lord’s Supper to “take, eat, remember, and believe.” The text speaks into the relationship between the Body of Christ and the consecrated bread offered to the people of God. We pray that that God will “take” us, the body of Christ (st.1) and “bless” us for service (st. 2). St. 3 uses the word “break,” referring to the broken loaves Christ fed to five thousand as well as to the new life given when Christ broke open graves. The final stanza invites God to send us: “Give us to the world,” using images from the Sermon on the Mount, that as we are nourished we too may nourish others.
 
The tune ENDLESS FEAST was composed for this text. Though presented in eighth notes, the meditative chant-like melody should not be rushed.  Note also that, though in the key of F, the song ends on C, each time leading back to the next verse; in that way, the melody keeps going in this aptly named ENDLESS FEAST.
 
This hymn, including the music, was first published in New Psalms and Hymns and Spiritual Songs, by Carl P. Daw, Jr, and published by Hope Publishing in 1996. 
— Emily Brink

Author Information

Carl P. Daw, Jr. (b. Louisville, KY, 1944) is the son of a Baptist minister. He holds a PhD degree in English (University of Virginia) and taught English from 1970-1979 at the College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia. As an Episcopal priest (MDiv, 1981, University of the South, Sewanee, Tennesee) he served several congregations in Virginia, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. From 1996-2009 he served as the Executive Director of The Hymn Society in the United States and Canada. Carl Daw began to write hymns as a consultant member of the Text committee for The Hymnal 1982, and his many texts often appeared first in several small collections, including A Year of Grace: Hymns for the Church Year (1990); To Sing God’s Praise (1992), New Psalms and Hymns and Spiritual Songs (1996), Gathered for Worship (2006). Other publications include A Hymntune Psalter (2 volumes, 1988-1989) and Breaking the Word: Essays on the Liturgical Dimensions of Preaching (1994, for which he served as editor and contributed two essays. In 2002 a collection of 25 of his hymns in Japanese was published by the United Church of Christ in Japan. His current project is preparing a companion volume to Glory to God, the 2013 hymnal of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).  
— Emily Brink

Composer Information

Alfred Fedak (b. 1953), is a well-known organist, composer, and Minister of Music at Westminster Presbyterian Church on Capitol Hill in Albany, New York. He graduated from Hope College in 1975 with degrees in organ performance and music history. He obtained a Master’s degree in organ performance from Montclair State University, and has also studied at Westminster Choir College, Eastman School of Music, the Institute for European Studies in Vienna, and at the first Cambridge Choral Studies Seminar at Clare College, Cambridge.
 
As a composer, he has over 200 choral and organ works in print, and has three published anthologies of his work (Selah Publishing). In 1995, he was named a Visiting Fellow in Church Music at Episcopal Seminary of the Soutwest in Austin, Texas. He is also a Fellow of the American Guild of Organists, and was awarded the AGO’s prestigious S. Lewis Elmer Award. Fedak is a Life Member of the Hymn Society, and writes for The American Organist, The Hymn, Reformed Worship, and Music and Worship. He was a member of the Presbyterian Committee on Congregational Song that prepared Glory to God, the 2013 hymnal of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
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