A new approach to musical catechesis

This is a test post for something we’re trying at my church. We’ll post these on our website in the near future, but I want to see how this posts online. This is designed for our Sunday school families. The idea is that you can access the hymn with text and audio online and spend just a few minutes learning a hymn and unpacking the great Christian teaching that goes with it. There will be one hymn uploaded each month and the kids are encouraged to memorize the featured stanza.

The Gifts Christ Freely Gives

Text by Richard C Resch  (used by permission)

Music by Charles J. Dale (public domain)

Stanza 1 –  Listen

The Gifts Christ Freely Gives

He gives to you and me

To be His Church, His Bride, 

His chosen, saved and free!

Saints blessed with these rich gifts

Are children who proclaim

That they were won by Christ

And cling to His strong name.

About

This hymn is about what we call the “means of grace”.  God uses His gifts of Baptism, Absolution, the Word, and the Lord’s supper to give us forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation.

Vocabulary

Saints – All believers in Christ

Proclaim – To say something important

Bible Verses

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit – Matthew 28:19

22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23  If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.” – John 20:22-23

“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life – John 6:68

“Take, eat; this is my body…Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood…” – Matthew 26

Application

Look for these means of grace during Sunday worship.  They will all be there at a communion service (Hint: The Sign of the Cross is a remembrance of our Baptism).

Going Further

Read each stanza of the hymn, then, for stanzas 2,3, and 5 look up the corresponding section in Luther’s Small Catechism and read it together.

 Full Audio and Text Listen

Special Thanks to Richard Resch for permission and to Katie Schuermann for singing.

Stanza 2
The gifts flow from the font

Where He calls us His own;

New life He gives that makes

Us His and His alone.

Here He forgives our sins

With water and His Word;

The triune God Himself

Gives pow’r to call Him Lord.

 

Stanza 3

The gifts of grace and peace

From absolution flow;

The pastor’s words are Christ’s

For us to trust and know.

Forgiveness that we need

Is granted to us there;

The Lord of mercy sends
Us forth in His blest care.

 

Stanza 4

The gifts are there each day

The holy Word is read;

God’s children listen, hear,

Receive, and they are fed.

Christ fills them with Himself,

Blest words that give them life,

Restoring and refreshing

Them for this world’s strife.

 

Stanza 5

The gifts are in the feast,

Gifts far more than we see;

Beneath the bread and wine

Is food from Calvary.

The body and the blood

Remove our ev’ry sin;

We leave His presence in

His peace, renewed again.

 

Stanza 6

All glory to the One

Who lavishes such love;

The triune God in love

Assures our life above.

His means of grace for us

Are gifts He loves to give;

All thanks and praise for His

Great love by which we live!