Take, O Take Me As I Am

Scripture References

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

The Canons of Dort V, 13 explain that our assurance of eternal security and perseverance cannot “produce immorality or lack of concern for godliness in those put back on their feet after a fall, but it produces a much greater concern to observe carefully the way which the Lord prepared in advance” and it is “an incentive to a serious and continuous practice of thanksgiving and good works...” (Canons of Dort V, 12) Therefore, this sub-section contains songs which express both the desire and the commitment of the believer to walk in obedience for holy living. Woven throughout these songs are expressions of fervent desire for holy living, a dedication to follow God’s will, a surrender of one’s will, and prayers for the Holy Spirit to continue his sanctifying work.


Take, O Take Me As I Am

Introductory/Framing Text

As we sing this song, we recognize that God accepts us as we are, yet calls us to our best selves and lives within us to transform us from the inside out. 

Additional Prayers

A Prayer to Summon our New Selves
Mighty God, you raised Jesus from the dead. Raise us with him. Our old selves need to die. Our new selves need to rise. Summon out the selves that we shall be and let us discover ourselves with thanksgiving and wonder. Mighty God, you raised Jesus from the dead. Raise us with him. Amen.
— Cornelius Plantinga, Jr.

Take, O Take Me As I Am

Tune Information

D Major


Musical Suggestion

Sing this short song with gentle humility. Accompany with light piano or guitar at a moderate tempo. Take a small ritard and a breath after “heart” to set up the last petition (“and live in me”). The V-chord ending is so tempting to resolve! But you might want to let it linger – or not return to the I chord at all – to emphasize the text’s notion that “God isn’t finished with me yet.” 

Consider teaching the following motions to your children and have them lead you in your singing:
Take, O take me as I am: [hold hands out, palms up]
Summon out what I will be; [raise hands in forward circular motions]
Set your seal upon my heart [touch fingers of left hand to forehead (on the word set), mouth (on the word seal), then heart (on the word heart)]
And live in me. [stretch right arm straight up, then bring right hand down with open palm facing left, forming a cross over left hand, which is still over the heart]
— Reformed Worship

Take, O Take Me As I Am

Author and Composer Information

John Bell (b. 1949) was born in the Scottish town of Kilmarnock in Ayrshire, intending to be a music teacher when he felt the call to the ministry. But in frustration with his classes, he did volunteer work in a deprived neighborhood in London for a time and also served for two years as an associate pastor at the English Reformed Church in Amsterdam. After graduating he worked for five years as a youth pastor for the Church of Scotland, serving a large region that included about 500 churches. He then took a similar position with the Iona Community, and with his colleague Graham Maule, began to broaden the youth ministry to focus on renewal of the church’s worship. His approach soon turned to composing songs within the identifiable traditions of hymnody that found began to address concerns missing from the current Scottish hymnal:
I discovered that seldom did our hymns represent the plight of poor people to God. There was nothing that dealt with unemployment, nothing that dealt with living in a multicultural society and feeling disenfranchised. There was nothing about child abuse…, that reflected concern for the developing world, nothing that helped see ourselves as brothers and sisters to those who are suffering from poverty or persecution. [from an interview in Reformed Worship (March 1993)]
That concern not only led to writing many songs, but increasingly to introducing them internationally in many conferences, while also gathering songs from around the world. He was convener for the fourth edition of the Church of Scotland’s Church Hymnary (2005), a very different collection from the previous 1973 edition. His books, The Singing Thing and The Singing Thing Too, as well as the many collections of songs and worship resources produced by John Bell—some together with other members of the Iona Community’s “Wild Goose Resource Group,” are available in North America from GIA Publications. 
— Emily Brink
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