Feast of Joseph Grigg (October 27)   Leave a comment

Burning Bush Logo

Above:  The Burning Bush Logo

Image in the Public Domain

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JOSEPH GRIGG (CIRCA 1720-OCTOBER 29, 1768)

English Presbyterian Minister and Hymn Writer

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Joseph Grigg, born into an impoverished English family circa 1720, quit work as a mechanic in his twenties to become the full-time Assistant Minister of Silver Street Presbyterian Church, London.  In 1747 the Senior Minister, Thomas Bures died.  Shortly thereafter Grigg, recently married to a wealthy widow, resigned his position of about four years and retired to St. Albans, where he devoted his time to literary pursuits.  These included The Voice of Danger, the Voice of God (1756), Miscellanies on Moral and Religious Subjects (1756), and Four Hymns on Divine Subjects Wherein the Patience and Love of Our Divine Saviour is Displayed (1765).

Our saint wrote more than forty hymns, starting at his tenth year of life.  At that tender age Grigg wrote “Jesus, and Shall It Ever Be,” which he published in Four Hymns (1765).  Multiple versions of this hymn exist.  There is, of course, the original text, but perhaps the most often sung version is the Benjamin Francis (1734-1799) reworking from 1787.  Another hymn our saint wrote was “Behold, a Stranger at the Door,” originally twelve stanzas long.  The Lutheran Hymnal (1941) version has just five stanzas, however.

One stanza Grigg wrote remains in my mind as a succinct summary of the reality of the lives of many people:

Behold a Stranger at the door!

He gently knocks, has knocked before,

Has waited long, is waiting still;

You treat no other friend so ill.

Our saint died at Walthamstow, Essex, England, on October 29, 1768.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 25, 2014 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JAMES BAR-ZEBEDEE, APOSTLE AND MARTYR

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Joseph Grigg and others, who have composed hymn texts.

May we, as you guide us,

find worthy hymn texts to be icons,

through which we see you.

In the Name of God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 44:1-3a, 5-15

Psalm 147

Revelation 5:11-14

Luke 2:8-20

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 20, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS AMATOR OF AUXERRE AND GERMANUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; SAINT MAMERTINUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT; AND SAINT MARCIAN OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK

THE FEAST OF JOHANNES BUGENHAGEN, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARCELLINUS OF EMBRUN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF OLAVUS AND LAURENTIUS PETRI, RENEWERS OF THE CHURCH

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