Tuesday, July 23, 2013

For All the Faithful Women (Strength in Hymn)

For All the Faithful Women
Herman Stuempfle, Jr.

For all the faithful women who served in days of old
To you shall thanks be given, to all their story told. 
They served with strength and gladness in tasks your wisdom gave. 
To you their lives bore witness, proclaimed your power to save."

O God, for saints and servants, those named and those unknown
In whom through all the ages Your light of glory shone,
We offer glad thanksgiving and fervent prayer we raise
That faithful in Your service, our lives may sing Your praise.

We praise your name for Miriam, who sang triumphantly
While Pharaoh's vaunted army lay drowned beneath the sea.
As Israel marched to freedom, her chains of bondage gone,
So we may reach the kingdom your mighty arm has won.

To Hannah, praying childless, before the throne of grace,
You gave a son and called him to serve before your face.
Grant us her perseverance; Lord, teach us how to pray
And trust in your deliverance when darkness hides our way.

For Ruth, who left her homeland and ventured forth in faith,
Who pledged to serve and worship Naomi's God till death.
We praise you, God of Israel, and pray for hearts set free
To bind ourselves to others in love and loyalty.

We honor faithful Mary, fair maiden, full of grace.
She bore the Christ, our brother, who saved our human race.
May we, with her, surrender ourselves to your command
And lay upon your altar our gifts of heart and hand.

We sing of busy Martha, who toiled with pot and pan
While Mary sat in silence to hear the word again.
Christ, keep our hearts attentive, to truth that you declare,
And strengthen us for service when work becomes our prayer.

Recall the outcast woman with whom our Lord conversed,
Christ gave her living water to quench her deepest thirst.
Like her, our hearts are yearning, Christ offers us his word,
Then may our lips be burning to witness to our Lord.

We praise the other Mary, who came at Easter dawn,
And near the tomb did tarry, but found her Lord was gone.
As joyfully she saw him in resurrection light,
May we by faith behold him, the day who ends all night.

Lord, hear our praise of Dorcas, who served the sick and poor.
Her hands were cups of kindness, her heart an open door.
Send us, O Christ, your body, where people cry in pain,
And touch them with compassion to make them whole again.

For Eunice and for Lois, we sing our thanks and praise.
Young Timothy they nurtured and led him in your ways.
Raise up in ev'ry household true teachers of your word
Whose lives will bear clear witness to Christ, our risen Lord.

All praise to God the Father!  All praise to Christ the Son!
All praise the Holy Spirit, who binds the Church in one!
With saints who went before us, with saints who witness still,
We sing glad alleluias and strive to do Your will.

Sunday morning I went to the church down the street with my father.  Early in the service, he walked to the front to invite his fellow parishioners at New Hope Lutheran to the memorial service for my mother, who sang in the choir there.  We are planning much music, beloved hymns.  She loved to sing.  We will sing for her.

In the Sunday service one of the hymns we sang was "For All the Faithful Women." However, we only sang the first, seventh, and last verses.  So touching to see that the seventh verse is about Martha and Mary, and so were the Gospel reading and part of the sermon.  My mother's name is Mary.  She was the perfect blend of busy service and quiet friendship.  Dad has said so many times in the past few days that he didn't know how many people's lives she had touched until she had passed away.  She was a faithful woman, a saint, who served in days anew, not days of old.  Dad says we should repay her love by passing it on, following her example.

Later that afternoon, her pastor, John Sabatelli, arrived at my parents' home to discuss the memorial.  But we didn't just talk about the details of the service.  He wanted us to talk about my mother.  He listened well: about her love of music, flowers, birds, really all of nature, photography, stained glass, travel, and most of all, her family.  She was a faithful woman, a beloved woman.  She was, and always will be, my mother.

May all of the generations of women (and men) in our family be just as faithful.  The picture below (from my post Five Generationswas taken last October.  My mother Mary is in the back on the left, Grandma Hess in the front.  Mary, the oldest of my seven daughters, is holding her older son. I'm on the right holding her younger son.

Who has been a faithful woman in your life?

Virginia Knowles

P.S. #1: The photos in this post were taken at New Hope Lutheran on Sunday morning, with the exception of the one of Rev. Sabetelli, taken in the afternoon at the house, and the ones of my mother and family.

P.S. #2: You can see my photo tributes to my mother's life here:
P.S. #3:  If you are interested in the topic of women knowing and serving God, you will like these books by Carolyn Custis James:  When Life and Beliefs Collide: How Knowing God Makes a Difference and Half the Church: Recapturing God's Global Vision for Women. The first of these specifically discusses the women named Mary in the Bible, and how they related to Jesus.  Women need to know their theology well, and even more, they need to know and love their Savior well.  We are not just wives and mothers.  We are daughters of the Heavenly Father.  We are not bound by gender.  We are empowered by our faith and the Holy Spirit.  See also Women's Voices Rising.


  1. the photos you chose to illustrate this hymn are lovely. And so are the women in your family!
    (stopping by from Domstically Divine)

  2. Thank you for sharing this hymn and the lovely tribute to your mother. Those old hymns so often have verses we never heard of. I thought the verse about Martha and Mary was special, especially since your mother's name was Mary. I hope and pray that the Lord gives you extra grace and comfort in the days and months to come.

  3. Oh, you have shared a wonderful memory of your mother's life. The hymn, For all the Faithful Women, is beautiful. It is new to me and i am glad you shared it.
    God be with you and your family.
    Visiting from Still Saturday.

  4. Stopping by for a Sunday blog visit via Jumping Sunday.
    Totally love my visit to your blog today. Love all of the photos.

  5. i love all your photos in this post, full of life.

    kiss time

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  7. Yesterday I went to a funeral for a woman named Ruth. They sang verses from this hymn at the funeral. I was quite taken with this old hymn. What a treasure it is. Thank you for sharing your reflections. Your mother loved all the things I loved too including music, nature, stained glass and the Lord. May God bless and keep you!