Saturday, February 21, 2009

Ancient of everlasting Days

The God of Abraham praise

Words: Yigaddel Elohim chay weyishtabach Daniel Ben Judah (14th century), Thomas Olivers (1725-1799)
Tune: Leoni

The God of Abraham praise
who reigns enthroned above,
Ancient of everlasting Days,
and God of love:
Jehovah, great I AM,
by earth and heaven confest;
I bow and bless the sacred name
for ever blest.

The God of Abraham praise,
at whose supreme command
from earth I rise, and seek the joys
at his right hand:
I all on earth forsake,
its wisdom, fame and power;
and him our only portion make,
our shield and tower.

The God of Abraham praise,
whose all-sufficient grace
shall guide me all my happy days
in all my ways.
He calls a worm his friend,
he calls himself my God;
and he shall save me to the end
through Jesu's blood.

He by himself has sworn,
I on his oath depend:
I shall, on eagles' wings upborne,
to heaven ascend;
I shall behold his face,
I shall his power adore
and sing the wonders of his grace
for evermore.

Though nature's strength decay,
and earth and hell withstand,
to Canaan's bounds I urge my way
at his command:
the watery deep I pass,
with Jesus in my view;
and through the howling wilderness
my way pursue.

The goodly land I see,
with peace and plenty blest:
a land of sacred liberty
and endless rest;
there milk and honey flow,
and oil and wine abound,
and trees of life for ever grow,
with mercy crowned.

There dwells the Lord our King,
the Lord our Righteousness,
triumphant o'er the world of sin,
the Prince of Peace:
on Sion's sacred height
his kingdom he maintains,
and glorious with his saints in light
for ever reigns.

He keeps his own secure,
he guards them by his side,
arrays in garment white and pure
his spotless Bride:
with streams of sacred bliss,
beneath serener skies,
with all the fruits of Paradise,
he still supplies.

Before the great Three-One
they all exulting stand,
and tell the wonders he hath done
through all their land:
the listening spheres attend,
and swell the growing fame,
and sing in songs which never end
the wondrous name.

The God who reigns on high
the great archangels sing,
and 'Holy, Holy, Holy.' cry,
'almighty King,
who was, and is the same,
and evermore shall be:
Jehovah, Father, great I AM,
we worship thee.'

Before the Savior's face
the ransomed nations bow,
o'erwhelmed at his almighty grace
for ever new;
he shows his prints of love-
they kindle to a flame,
and sound through all the worlds above
the slaughtered Lamb.

The whole triumphant host
give thanks to God on high;
'hail, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost',
they ever cry:
hail, Abraham's God, and mine,
(I join the heavenly lays)
all might and majesty are thine,
and endless praise.


Friday, February 20, 2009

Thanks for the morning light

The transcendence of thanksgiving

Live your life so that the fear of death can never enter your heart. When you arise in the morning, give thanks for the morning light. Give thanks for your life and strength. Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living. And if perchance you see no reason for giving thanks, rest assured the fault is in yourself.

Chief Tecumseh

Monday, February 16, 2009

Oaks and winter fields

A glimpse of the Pennsylvania winter fields near one of my father's favorite hunting spots. Here is a classic study of sturdy oaks and snow-textured fields. Very cold! Very beautiful, too: The grey-blue of the sky, the sky-tinted snow, the russet oak leaves stubbornly holding on in the winter wind, browned grass and corn stubble, faithful evergreens on distant hill, snow-covered track leading into the waiting wonder... Enjoy!

The turn to God: Intentional, responsible

In the turmoil of life without

In the turmoil of life without, and black despair within, it is always possible to turn aside and wait on God. Just as at the center of a hurricane there is stillness, and above the clouds a clear sky, so it is possible to make a little clearing in the jungle of our human will for a rendezvous with God. He will always turn up, though in what guise and in what circumstances cannot be foreseen—perhaps trailing clouds of glory, perhaps as a beggar; in the purity of the desert or in the squalor of London’s Soho or New York’s Times Square.


Malcolm Muggeridge in Seeking Peace

Seeing myself responsible: the path of personal freedom

My friends, pray to God for gladness. Be glad as children, as the birds of heaven. And let not the sin of men disturb you in your actions. Fear not that it will wear away your work and hinder you from accomplishing it. Do not say, “Sin is mighty, wickedness is mighty, evil environment is mighty; we are lonely and helpless, and evil environment is wearing us away and hindering our good work from being done.” Fly from that dejection, children! There is only one means of salvation: take yourself and make yourself responsible for all people’s sins—friends, that is the truth, you know, for as soon as you sincerely make yourself responsible for everything and for all humans, you will see at once that it is really so and that you are to blame for everyone and for all things. But by throwing your own indolence and impotence on others you will end up sharing the pride of Satan and murmuring against God.


Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Gospel in Dostoyevsky

Friday, February 13, 2009

Crown Him, ye morning stars of light

All hail the power of Jesus' name

Words: Edward Perronet (1726-92) alt. John Rippon (1751-1836) and others
Tune: Coronation

All hail the power of Jesus' name
let angels prostrate fall;
bring forth the royal diadem,
and crown him Lord of all.

Crown Him, ye morning stars of light,
who fixed this floating ball;
now hail the Strength of Israel's might
and crown Him Lord of all.

Ye prophets who our freedom won,
ye searchers, great and small,
by whom the work of truth is done,
now crown him Lord of all.

Ye seed of Israel's chosen race,
ye ransomed of the fall,
hail Him who saves you by His grace,
and crown him Lord of all.

Hail Him, the heir of David's line,
whom David Lord did call,
the God incarnate, Man divine,
and crown Him Lord of all.

Sinners whose love can ne'er forget
the wormwood and the gall,
go, spread your trophies at His feet,
and crown Him Lord of all.

Bless him, each poor oppressèd race
that Christ did upward call;
His hand in each achievement trace,
and crown Him Lord of all.

Let every tribe and every tongue
before Him prostrate fall,
and shout in universal song
the crownèd Lord of all.

O that with yonder sacred throng
we at His feet may fall,
join in the everlasting song,
and crown Him Lord of all.



Monday, February 09, 2009

Holding to the rope that God has thrown us

Prayer is holding on

When we pray it is as though we cling to a rope God has thrown to us. If we hold fast to this rope—no matter how numb the arms of our heart—he can pull us to safety and freedom. As Jesus says, “Come to me, all who are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” And for those who feel too unworthy to pray, Romans 8 offers this comfort: “The Spirit helps us in our weakness... and intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.”


Johann Christoph Arnold, Be Not Afraid

Carrying the cross – which cross?

Whether we like it or not, we will encounter suffering and danger in our lives. If we do not bear the cross of the Master, we will have to bear the cross of the world – with all it’s earthly goods. Those who bear the Master’s cross know from experience that this cross bears them and takes them safely to their destiny. But the cross of this world actually drags us down and leads to destruction. Which cross have you taken up? Pause and consider.

Sundar Singh, Wisdom of the Sadhu


Those who acknowledge that they view suffering and tribulation in their own lives only as something hostile and evil can see from this very fact that they have not at all found peace with God. They have basically merely sought peace with the world, believing possibly that by means of the cross of Jesus Christ they might best come to terms with themselves and with all their questions, and thus find inner peace of the soul. They have used the cross, but not loved it. They have sought peace for their own sake. But when tribulation comes, that peace quickly flees them. It was not peace with God, for they hated the tribulation God sends.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer in Bread & Wine


I must become new

The word that crowns all others is this: “I make all things new!” This is of special support and comfort when we realize how quickly everything passes away and becomes dust and ashes. All things new! God cannot tolerate what is corrupt and destructive but wants to change it. Of course we enter into new life only through repentance (Acts 2:37–38). Sadly, many people think of all sorts of things around them that need to change and not at all of themselves. Or they would like to have only certain things change so as to be able to carry on more comfortably. We should be deeply humiliated to realize that there actually is nothing that must not also become new, especially ourselves. If I were to take a close look at each one of you – all of you must become new!

Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt, Action in Waiting


Eagle strength: They who wait upon the Lord

Hast thou not known, hast thou not heard?

Words: Scottish Paraphrases (1781), Isaac Watts (1674-1748) and William Cameron (1751-1811)
Tune: Abridge

Hast thou not known, hast thou not heard,
That firm remains on high
The everlasting throne of Him
Who formed the earth and sky?

Art thou afraid His power shall fail
When comes thy evil day?
And can an all-creating arm
Grow weary or decay?

Supreme in wisdom as in power
The Rock of Ages stands;
Though Him thou canst not see, nor trace
The working of His hands.

He gives the conquest to the weak,
Supports the fainting heart;
And courage in the evil hour
His heavenly aids impart.

Mere human power shall fast decay,
And youthful vigor cease;
But they who wait upon the Lord
In strength shall still increase.


Saturday, February 07, 2009

Stopping by the woods on a snowy evening

Pennsylvania trees and fields, snowy setting. Enjoy!

Faith: Wonder in the now

We shall be circled over at length

We shall be circled over at length
by a remoter sky,
and flung into a starrier space
more deep, more high.

Some day the little mind of man
will crack and spin
to let the chattering years fly out,
forever in.

The sea will be more brief to us
than jewel of rain;
and what now stuns us with its might,
beauty or pain,

will be as faint as cheep of mouse
or swing of flower
under the gusty wing of heaven;
and what seems power

will drop away and pale to dust
held in the palm;
and what seems passion now will sink
to leveled calm.

Therefore be quiet with your breath,
all little men,
and hold some wonder, in the Now
for the great Then.


Jane Tyson Clement, No One Can Stem the Tide

Wake, and lift up thyself, my heart

Awake, my soul, and with the sun

Words: Thomas Ken (1637-1711)
Tune: Tallis’ Canon

Awake, my soul, and with the sun
thy daily stage of duty run;
shake off dull sloth, and joyful rise
to pay thy morning sacrifice.

Redeem thy mis-spent time that's past,
and live this day as if thy last;
improve thy talent with due care;
for the great day thyself prepare.

Let all thy converse be sincere,
thy conscience as the noon-day clear;
think how all-seeing God thy ways
and all thy secret thoughts surveys.

By influence of the light divine
let thine own light to others shine;
reflect all heaven's propitious rays
in ardent love and cheerful praise.

Glory to thee, who safe has kept
and hath refreshed me whilst I slept;
grant, Lord, when I from death shall wake,
I may of endless light partake.

Wake, and lift up thyself, my heart,
and with the angels bear thy part,
who all night long unwearied sing
high praise to the eternal King.

Awake, awake, ye heavenly choir,
may your devotion me inspire,
that I like you my age may spend,
like you may on my God attend.

Lord, I my vows to thee renew;
disperse my sins as morning dew,
grant my first springs of thought and will,
and with thyself my spirit fill.

Direct, control, suggest this day
all I design, or do, or say;
that all my powers, with all their might,
in thy sole glory may unite.

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow,
praise him, all creatures here below,
praise him above, ye heavenly host,
praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.


Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Winter hardwoods, hills, sunset and sky

I love how the pink, crystal light hangs off in the distance, stretched out as under a blue canopy, shining forth in muted beauty, lingering light, pastel shining. Here it frames the hardwoods, valley and hills, snowy river flowing from the distant light. Translucent bluescale sky over all! Enjoy!

Cries from the heart

I believe God holds them

What happens to all my prayers — those that are not answered, and those that seem to make things worse...? Surely they are still sustaining me. Perhaps there will be unexpected answers to them, answers I may not even be aware of for years. I cannot believe they are wasted or lost. I do not know where they have gone, but I believe God holds them, hand outstretched to receive them like precious pearls.


Madeleine L’Engle in Cries from the Heart