Christ is our Redeemer
Partake of Me
I live by the power of the living Father who sent me; in the same way, those who partake of me will live because of me.
Bread of the world, in mercy broken, wine of the soul, in mercy shed, by whom the words of life were spoken, and in whose death our sins are dead;
Look on the heart by sorrow broken, look on the tears by sinners shed; and may Thy feast to us be the token that by Thy grace our souls are fed.
Reginald Heber (1783-1826)
A Communion hymn
Reginald Heber wrote this hymn specifically for use in the service before the Eucharist. Its simple lines focus first on Christ and then on the attitude of the singer. Christ has spoken words of life and has taken our sins to the cross with Him. We are sorry for our sins and take this “feast” of bread and wine as a “token” of the forgiveness that Christ offers.
For sixteen years Heber served as a parish priest in the village of Hodnet in western England. Three times he was asked to become the bishop of Calcutta, India, and twice he turned it down. Finally at the age of forty, he accepted the call and sailed for India with his wife and two daughters. Three years later, after preaching to a crowded church near Hindu shrines to Vishnu and Siva, he suffered a stroke and died.
While Heber’s hymns initially met with official church resistance, many of them were eventually published shortly before his death and have been a blessing to believers for nearly two centuries.
Our Holy Week readings are adapted from The One Year® Book of Hymns by Mark Norton and Robert Brown, Tyndale House Publishers (1995). Today’s is taken from the entry for April 4.
For more reflection on Holy week, see The Passion, Tyndale’s companion book to Mel Gibson’s powerful movie about the last twelve hours of Jesus’ life.
Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House