Singing about Edifying Speech

Our pastor is preaching from Eph 4:29 this Sunday: “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”

My family sang some months back the Johann Heermann text, “O God, My Faithful God.”  It’s one of the few hymns I’ve encountered that speaks at any length to the notion of edifying speech.  And with Catherine Winkworth translating, it comes off well in English. Note the third stanza:

O God, my faithful God, true fountain everflowing,
without whom nothing is, all perfect gifts bestowing:
give me a healthy frame, and may I have within
a conscience free from blame, a soul unstained by sin.

Give me the strength to do with ready heart and willing,
whatever you command, my calling here fulfilling–
to do it when I ought, with all my strength; and bless
whatever I have wrought, for you must give success.

Keep me from saying words that later need recalling;
guard me, lest idle speech may from my lips be falling:
but when within my place, i must and ought to speak,
then to my words give grace, lest I offend the weak.

When dangers gather round, oh, keep me calm and fearless;
help me to bear the cross when life seems dark and cheerless;
help me, as you have taught, to love both great and small,
and, by your Spirit’s might, to live at peace with all.

Our family sang the text to the tune WAS FRAG’ ICH NACH DER WELT, but it also goes quite well with the more familiar NUN DUNKET (“Now Thank We All Our God”).

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