“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9

This Sunday at the 9:00am service we will sing the classic hymn, “God of Grace and God of Glory”.

God of grace and God of glory, on your people pour your pow’r;
crown your ancient Church’s story, bring its bud to glorious flow’r.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage for the facing of this hour. 

The hymn was written by the Rev. Harry Fosdick.  In 1925, Rev. Fosdick was asked to resign from his pastoral position First Presbyterian Church in New York City.  Not long afterwards, John Rockefeller, Jr. asked Rev. Fosdick to come be the pastor of Park Avenue Baptist Church.  The Rev. Fosdick declined.  He did not want to be seen as the pastor to the richest man in America.  Fosdick was known for addressing the economic inequalities in the country.

Cure your children’s warring madness; bend our pride to your control;
shame our wanton, selfish gladness, rich in things and poor in soul.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage lest we miss your kingdom’s goal.

Rockefeller was undeterred and he reached a compromise with the pastor.  The Rev. Fosdick would head a new, nondenominational church built in a less wealthy part of town, and Rockefeller would be the primary funder of the new building.  The new church would be called the Riverside Church as it overlooked the Hudson River.  “God of Grace and God of Glory” was being written while the church was being built and at the church’s inaugural worship service it was sung during the processional.

Save us from weak resignation to the evils we deplore;
let the gift of your salvation be our glory evermore.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage serving you whom we adore.

Rev. Fosdick was originally asked to resign from First Presbyterian because he stayed true to his theological beliefs despite controversy.  He said no to the richest man in the country because of his theological convictions.  I am convinced that repeated stanza of this great hymn was a personal prayer of his, “Grant us wisdom, grant us courage…”

This is my prayer for you today.  We face a number of challenges today.  Challenges that test our assurance of hope and struggles that tempt us to throw in the towel.  In whatever trials and challenges you face today, may God grant you the wisdom to apply your core convictions and may God give you the courage to see them through.