Ascension Lutheran Church – Citrus Heights, CA – Sierra Pacific Synod, ELCA

Hymn of the Week for October 23, 2022 – We Cannot Measure How You Heal

John L. Bell (b. 1949) is a widely published hymn text writer who is part of the Iona Community in Scotland.  A minister in the Church of Scotland (Anglican), he has produced many collections of hymns as part of the Wild Goose Resource Group.  Perhaps his mostly widely known hymn is The Summons (Will You Come and Follow Me).

Bell often sets hymn texts to folk or familiar tunes.  He also makes extensive use of word shaping and text painting, connecting movements in the music with movements in the text.

We Cannot Measure How You Heal is Ascension’s hymn of the day for worship on October 23, 2022.  This text was written in cooperation with Graham Maule (1958-2019), with whom Bell frequently collaborated in writing hymns.  The tune for this hymn is YE BANKS AND BRAES, a Scottish hymn tune.

Our preaching texts for this Sunday are 2 Samuel 11:1-5 and 26-7, 2 Samuel 12:1-9, and Psalm 51 – David’s pursuit of Bathsheba and his dismissal of her husband Uriah, the prophet Nathan’s confrontation of David, and David’s cry to God, confessing his sins and begging for forgiveness.  David’s desire for healing and forgiveness and wholeness are echoed in this hymn text.