"O LORD, WE HEED THY LOVE’S REQUEST"
"…This do in remembrance of Me" (Lk. 22.19)
INTRO.: A song which exhorts us to partake of the Lord’s supper in remembrance of Christ is "O Lord, We Heed Thy Love’s Request." The text was written and the tune was composed both by Austin Taylor, who was born on Oct. 14, 1881, in Morgantown, KY, and died in 1973 at Uvalde, TX. He was best known as a song leader and hymn writer among churches of Christ in the twentieth century, producing several hymns that have been in many of our hymnbooks, such as "Closer to Thee," "Home on the Banks of the
River," and "Do All in the Name of the Lord." Some of his lesser known songs that have been used in a few of our more recent books include "When My Work on Earth Is Done," "Jesus Is Strong and Able to Save," "Jesus, Keep Me Pure and Holy," "On the Sun-Bright Road of Calvary," "He Is Coming Again," "Go Bring the Lost One In," "There Is a Work that You Can Do," and "Jesus, I Come to Thee," along with tunes for "Love Made Me Free" and "Do You Praise and Thank Him?" I have no information on when "O Lord, We Heed Thy Love’s Request" was written or where it was first published. Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, it appeared in the 1959 Majestic Hymnal No. 2 and the 1978 Hymns of Praise both edited by Reuel Lemmons and published by the Firm Foundation Co.
The song is intended to remind us of what the Lord’s supper represents.
I. Stanza 1 focuses on the elements of the Lord’s supper
"O Lord, we heed Thy love’s request, And come as souls redeemed and blest
Around Thy table Thou hast spread With fruit of vine and broken bread."
A. Jesus Himself requested that His disciples partake of the Lord’s supper in His kingdom: Matt. 26.26-29
B. Because it is our custom to eat our meals at a table, the observance of the Lord’s supper may be symbolized as being around His table: 1 Cor. 10.21
C. The elements of the Lord’s supper are the bread and the fruit of the vine: Mk. 14.22-25 (both hymnbooks in my collection which contain the song, published by the same company, have "fruit of wine," but as I have been told that brother Taylor was very precise in his grammar and wording, I assume that this is probably a typographical error, because the Bible specifically refers to the cup as "the fruit of the vine.")
II. Stanza 2 focuses upon what the elements mean in the Lord’s supper
"Thy life-blood shed upon the cross To cleanse our souls of sin’s dark dross,
Thy body pierced on Calvary, Have proved the boundless love of Thee."
A. The cup represents the blood of Christ shed upon the cross to cleanse us from sin: 1 Cor. 11.25-26
B. The bread represents His body which hung and was pierced on Calvary: 1 Cor. 11.23-24
C. His willingness to shed His blood and die for our sins proves His love for us: Eph. 5.2
III. Stanza 3 focuses on the results of eating the Lord’s supper
"Here faith and hope and love grow strong; Our gratitude breaks forth in song
In memory of Thy dying love That lifts our souls to Thee above."
A. Eating the Lord’s supper helps to strengthen our faith, hope, and love: 1 Cor. 13.13
B. It also produces a gratitude in our hearts for God’s unspeakable gift: 2 Cor. 9.15
C. It does these things by causing us to remember the death of our Savior for us: 1 Cor. 15.1-3
CONCL.: Any hymn which solemnly centers our attention on the suffering and death of Christ is certainly appropriate for use before the Lord’s supper. Thus, we sometimes sing "Near the Cross," "Nailed to the Cross," "When My Love to Christ Grows Weak," "Hallelujah! What a Savior!", "Lead Me to Calvary," "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross," "’Tis Midnight; and on Olive’s Brow," "Night, With Ebon Pinion," "Beneath the Cross of Jesus," and the like. However, it is also good to have songs that specifically talk about the elements of the Lord’s supper and what they mean, such as, "By Christ Redeemed," "The Lord’s Supper," "Upon the First Day of the Week," and "In Memory of the Savior’s Love." And it is especially helpful to have new, or unfamiliar, songs by members of the Lord’s church which can help us remember the purpose of the Lord’s supper as we commune with Savior and say to Him, "O Lord, We Heed Thy Love’s Request."