As it is penned in the footnote, we learn this gracefully inspiring hymn was used in the opening worship service of The Riverside Church in New York, NY. Harry Emerson Fosdick is the author of the words and the pastor of this outstanding church. The year was 1930. Reading from a source that speaks of what an intelligent and committed pastor/preacher Fosdick was, his contributions to the Kingdom of the Lord were, and still are, seen as outstanding. It is the message found in his expressions which ought to lead everyone of us to greater and higher living of our Faith. The first verse, slowly if you will, allowing each phrase to nurture our living faith.
God of grace and God of glory, on thy people pour thy power; crown thine ancient church’s story, bring its bud to glorious flower.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage, for the facing of this hour, for the facing of this hour.
These words speak to us of the opportunity for our faith growth in our loving God. They tell us what it is that God so generously shares with all who seek. What more do we need to help and guide us through life than God’s generous grace and beautiful glory? The answer to this question is, nothing. There is nothing we face that God’s power will not overcome for us! God will not only assist us to over-come the challenges of life but will bring our faith to a glorious flower. God will overcome all the pain we experience, whatever loss we suffer, the crosses we carry in the living of our days.
Not only has this hymn been an inspiration through-out my ministry but I had the opportunity to worship in Riverside Church. This opportunity came while I was trying to make my way through The Doctor of Ministry Degree offered by Drew University School of Theology. During the Summer slow down months, it was a requirement that we Doctor of Ministry students had to spend a month on campus attending classes. The school’s beautiful campus is located in Madison, New Jersey, a city located not far from New York City. One Sunday four of us drove across the bay into “The City” to attend worship at Riverside Church. The experience was more than worth the effort it took to get us there. The church building was like one I had never been in before or since. The whole experience was very inspiring. But mostly it was the building and knowing a little of its history and prominence that lifted me in God’s grace and glory even to this day.
Wonderful Creator God, our hearts are lifted as we have opportunities to grow in our faith, for it is through the Church, Christ’s Church that we are blest with knowledge of your eternal Truth and gracious Love. May we always be found worthy and able to serve your Kingdom here on earth. In Jesus our Redeemer we pray. Amen.