Lenten Hymns and their Story

March 03, 2023

“O Christ, You Walked the Road”

Herman Stuempfle [1923-2007] provided texts based on lectionary reading for different Sundays of the Festival times of the Church year.  According to his wife, Gretchen, he was commissioned by Lutheran Social Services for it's 50th anniversary in 1998.  
The text explicates Matthew 4:1-11, the record of Jesus being tempted by Satan in the wilderness.  In verse one, we are led to realize that Jesus faced the foe that tempts us.  He walked the walk that we, too, must take.  He fought the devil as we must fight him.  
Verse 2 refers to reaction of the hungry Jesus to Satan’s taunting words, “if you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread" [Matthew 4:3].  Jesus is quoting Deuteronomy 8:3.   The hymn text uses the imagery of bread and hungry hearts, to remind us that God’s living Word is the food that imparts grace.
Verse 3 is a prayer that our faith in God’s love might be sustained without special miracles.  Verse 4 cites the lures of “easy grain” that surround us, just as Satan tempted Jesus with an easy trade-off.  As they looked down from a high mountain, it would take only a simple act of worship to bring an unbelievable reward.  Jesus rejected Satan by quoting Deuteronomy 6:13.
Verse 5 begins with a repetition of words from verse one.  The last lines offer another prayer, asking Christ to stay with us as we fight the ancient foe, the same foe He once fought and conquered for us.   

O Christ, You walked the road our wand’ring feet must go.
You faced with us temptation’s pow’r and fought our ancient foe.

LSB 424

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