Let All We Do

In celebration of the 200th year (1812-2012) of First Presbyterian Church, numerous special events took place that highlighted the theme of “honoring the past, celebrating the present, and transforming the future.” These activities helped the congregation to rejoice in the abundant grace God has provided our church in its 200 years, and to pray for God’s grace to follow in the years to come. 

In 2010, Minister of Music Suzanne Riehl proposed to the Worship Committee that a hymn be commissioned for this anniversary celebration. The text of Let All We Do was conceived and written by Thomas H. Troeger, professor emeritus, Yale Divinity School and Institute of Sacred Music. The tune was written by Sally Ann Morris, composer and musician-in-residence, Wake Forest University School of Divinity. This piece highlights the history (stanzas 1 and 2) of our church and our mission (stanzas 3, 4, and 5), which is “to inspire people to faith in Jesus Christ, nurture disciples of Christ, and serve the world that God loves to the glory of God.”

We are grateful for this thoughtful collaboration, which brought us both a piece of history and our mission statement set to music. Under the direction of Suzanne Riehl, this hymn was first performed January 29, 2012, during a special day of worship and fellowship at First Presbyterian Church. 

Let all we do and say give breath to what our forebears knew:
the living Christ who conquered death is making all things new!
Through worship, Lord, and sacrament, our founders grew in grace.
They searched your word for your intent and found there Christ’s embrace.

Their children’s children year by year passed on what they were taught.
The faith in you that they held dear now shapes our life and thought.
We ask your help to speak and act as they did in their day,
so how we live may then attract disciples to your way.

We pray our witness may inspire hearts lost in deep despair
to trust your Spirit’s wind and fire that blow and burn through prayer.
We pray our worship and our song extend the range of sight
of seeking hearts that yearn and long for beauty, goodness, light. 

We pray to nurture those who strain beneath the weight of grief, 
who stand and stagger to regain their hope and their belief.
We pray to feed with Christ’s own bread the hunger of the soul,
a hunger that is never fed by status, wealth or role. 

We pray to serve this wounded earth, and as you, Lord, intend,
to live the visions of rebirth that reconcile and mend.
We pray our work will also serve those born in future days,
and we and they shall never swerve from your unending praise. 

This hymn was commissioned for the 2012 celebration of the 200th anniversary of First Presbyterian Church, Richmond, Virginia.

TEXT: Thomas H. Troeger  MUSIC: Sally Ann Morris

Oxford University Press, GIA Publications, Inc., 2011