This contest is neither sponsored nor endorsed by
WELS or by the WELS  Commission on Worship.
Kent Reeder of Ladson, South Carolina
Kent is the winner of the 2011-2012 HYMNWRITERCHALLENGE contest. His
challenge: write a Lenten hymn based on Psalm 22.

Kent's winning hymn:

Predictable, the times when I, a sinner, feel alone,
When chasing after sin has led me far from heaven's throne,
Where darkness clouds my eyes and I hear only sighs and groans
From my broken-down, forsaken, foolish heart that should have known.
Astonishing, however, are the twice as bitter sighs
Of the one who caught the sin I chased, the God-forsaken Christ.

Predictable, the times when I, a Christian, am despised,
When unbelief obscures the Word and calls the truth a lie,
And though I try to stand against the world's vindictive cries
My exhausted heart is tempted to give up and compromise.
Astonishing is Christ, the living truth and perfect Word,
Who, denied, insulted, and betrayed stayed faithful to the Lord.

Predictable that every generation born in shame
Must call for help, and when they do, they find God stays the same:
He saved our captive fathers and he still will not disdain
Suff'ring children, but in mercy, Jesus frees them from their chains.
Astonishing, however, is that Christ was free to run
But he let himself be captive to the words, "Your will be done."

Predictable, the times that we, the privileged respond,
Remembering the faithfulness, remembering the Son,
By telling of God's righteousness and all that he has done
With inadequate vocabulary and imperfect songs.
Astonishing cannot describe the blessed hymn we'll sing
With the company of heaven as we praise our servant-King.