Today, on the 475th anniversary of Martin Luther’s death, I want to share the words of a beautiful hymn written by Martin Luther. It is a moving meditation on Psalm 130 that was first sung at the funeral of Frederick the Wise, and then also sung at Martin Luther’s own funeral. This hymn was sung at our congregation’s online Ash Wednesday worship service yesterday, and seems very fitting to share here as we begin our Lenten journey together. This post is a continuation of a series that I have shared paring poems with the psalms and other scripture. You can others here: poems, prayers, psalms, and promises.

Psalm 130

Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord.
Lord, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
    to the voice of my supplications!
If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,
    Lord, who could stand?
But there is forgiveness with you,
    so that you may be revered.
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
    and in his word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord
    more than those who watch for the morning,
    more than those who watch for the morning.
O Israel, hope in the Lord!
    For with the Lord there is steadfast love,
    and with him is great power to redeem.
It is he who will redeem Israel
    from all its iniquities.

Scripture Reading – 2 Corinthians 5:20-21

We entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Devotional Poem: Out of the Depths I Cry to You by Martin Luther

Out of the depths I cry to you; O Lord God, hear me calling.
Incline your ear to my distress in spite of my rebelling.
Do not regard my sinful deeds. 
Send me the grace my spirit needs; 
without it I am nothing.

All things you send are full of grace; you crown our lives with favor.
All our good works are done in vain without our Lord and Savior.
We praise you for the gift of faith; 
you save us from the grip of death;
our lives are in your keeping.

In you alone, O God, we hope, and not in our own merit.
We rest our fears in your good word and trust your Holy Spirit.
Your promise keeps us strong and sure; 
we trust the cross, your signature,
inscribed upon our temples. 

My soul is waiting for you, Lord, as one who longs for morning;
no watcher waits with greater hope than I for your returning.
I hope as Israel in the Lord, 
who sends redemption through the Word.
Praise God for grace and mercy!

Closing Prayer (A Prayer of Martin Luther’s)

O God, where is there another like you? You forgive sin and forgive the iniquity of the lowest of your people. You do not stay angry forever, for you are merciful and you pardon our transgressions and cast all our sins into the deep sea. Do continue forever to be merciful, so that we may walk in the light of your Word and escape every trap of Satan and of the world, through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Redeemer. Amen.

3 thoughts on “Out of the Depths I Cry to You by Martin Luther

  1. John and I love that hymn. When we lived on Long Island, the congregation didn’t sing it, so we had the choir do it during a Lenten service. People responded to the beautiful words. Sadly, the old chorales are not chosen often. The church we belong to now in Asheville rarely uses them.

    Liked by 1 person

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