One Was Old, Another Barren

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One was old, another barren,
and a third was young and fair,
when God promised wondrous blessings
for the sons they were to bear.
Though incredible each promise,
yet they trusted and believed,
guarding closely in their hearts the
visions that they had received.

Sarah must have told her baby,
as she calmed his anxious cry,
"God has promised you more children
than the stars up in the sky!
Little Isaac, kings and nations
will descend from you one day,
destined to inherit blessings
if they follow in God's way."

And Elizabeth, once barren,
must have whispered to her son,
"Someday, John, you'll be God's herald
to announce the Promised One!
Someday you will speak with courage
words from God for all to hear,
calling people to repentance,
telling them the Christ is near."

Mary must have echoed prophets
in her cradle lullabies,
"Jesus, you will be our Savior,
Christ the Lord, Love's great surprise!
Someday I may watch you suffer,
and your pain may pierce my soul,
but I trust that God will heal my
broken heart and make it whole."

God, we thank you for these mothers
and the faith they had to share.
May we also trust your promise
for the children in our care,
that through us the Spirit’s blessings
may upon them come to fall,
giving them the strength and courage
to be faithful to your call.

Author: Mary Nelson Keithahn

Mary Nelson Keithahn, a United Church of Christ minister and church education specialist, works out of her home in Rapid City, South Dakota as a curriculum writer-editor, journalist, and lyricist for musical dramas and anthems. She has also written over eighty hymns, and her texts are included in hymnals or supplements published by the Advent Christian Church, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, Faith Alive Christian Resources, Alternatives for Simple Living/Selah, Episcopal Church, Presbyterian Church, United Church of Canada and the United Methodist Church. Mary is a Life Member and former board member of Choristers Guild and a Life Member of the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada. She is also a member of ASCAP. --mnk Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: One was old, another barren
Title: One Was Old, Another Barren
Author: Mary Nelson Keithahn (1997)
Meter: D
Source: Time Now to Gather
Language: English


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