Monday, June 01, 2009

God Send Us Preachers

This week the theme of our Annual Conference is empowering a new generation. A highlight of Annual Conference is Ordination when we will ordain a new group of United Methodist pastors. I’ve written this hymn for the Commissioning Service this year. Please pray this as a prayer that God will continue to send us a new generation of pastoral leaders to lead our church into the future.

God send us preachers brash and true;
Make them to serve your holy word.
Your summons shall by them be heard.
In sermons bold, we have heard you.

You said the Word and there was light,
Made new creation by your voice.
When in your presence we rejoice,
You’ve come to cheer our darkest night.

Your living word made prophets bold,
The Spirit-giv’n Good News to preach.
None could out run your Spirit’s reach;
Brave preachers spoke as they were told.

God speaks to us by God’s own Son.
Salvation preached for all to see.
When truth is told, God’s victory,
God’s Word made flesh, God’s will is done.

Each time a preacher stands to speak,
Whenever hungry hearts are fed,
Your church discovers one more time
That Christians live not just by bread.

Give preachers courage to obey,
In some dead place or silent hell,
The angels’ Easter charge, “Go! Tell!”
To call more foll’wers to the Way.

These preachers shield from love of praise;
Ignite their sermons with your fire.
May they not fear their people’s ire,
But serve your Word, throughout their days.

When hands upon their heads are laid
On this, their commissioning day
May they know now your pow’r to say
That same strong Word your Saints obeyed.

Lord speak to us, our fears relieve;
Just say the word and we are healed.
Hearing your word is faith revealed,
Though we’ve not seen, yet we believe!

Will Willimon

Note: Can be sung to tune of #157 “Jesus Shall Reign,”


Brother Marty said...

Bishop Willimon,
I've been following your weekly letters and blog entries and must confess that my heart has been strangely warmed by your messages, and in particular, the poem/hymn you penned. In the rural church where I serve I've been sharing your messages and am encouraged to share with you that many are warming up to "the church" after a long cold spell.
Sir, you address the fundamentals of being a Christian, forgetting the politics of church. For that, I'm proud to say that I'm a United Methodist in the North Alabama Conference.

Joe DeWitte said...


Though it was not too long ago (just 4 years this July) since the first time I presided over the table of the Lord, I remember it vividly. To pronounce the Sanctum, blessing the people gathered in Christ's name, and the 'gifts of bread and wine,' has thus far, and continues to remain each time I do it, one of the most powerful experiences in Christ I have ever been a part of.

I say all that to say this. I cannot imagine the intensity of communion you must feel as you place your episcopal hands upon each ordinand, urging them to take thou authority, and blessing them in Christ's name to do Christ's work. While I am sure many of the acts of a Bishop are difficult, I truly envy you during this time, and hope that the power of Christ can be felt in your heart as you send Christ's messengers out to preach the Gospel with boldness and declare that the Kingdom of God has come near. Thank you for your service and may God continue to bless you!

William H. Willimon said...

Brother Marty, we are blessed to be a part of a wonderful conference!

Joe, thanks for these beautiful thoughts (I referred to your email in my Commissioning sermon today). You know well the great challenge and gift it is to be part of God's call on a new generation of leaders.

We are so excited to have Amy and you in North Alabama! Tom Bell can't wait!