Church of the Mediator, Allentown
(Organist and Choir Director, Jerusalem Western Salisbury Church)
1. Dear Lord and Father of mankind, forgive or foolish ways!
Re-clothe us in our rightful minds, in purer lives thy service find,
in deeper reverence, praise.
3. O Sabbath rest by Galilee! O calm of hills above,
where Jesus knelt to share with thee the silence of eternity
interpreted by love!
4. Drop thy still dews of quietness, till all our strivings cease;
take from our souls the strain and stress, and let our ordered lives confess,
the beauty of thy peace.
Hymn 652/3, The Hymnal 1982, “Dear Lord and Father of Mankind.”
The words of this hymn come from a poem written by John Greenleaf Whittier in 1866, just after the Civil War. Although the fight for freedom for the enslaved in America seemed over with the Emancipation Proclamation and the end of hostilities, Whittier reflects, in his words, the continuing striving and strain of a country in turmoil. He had been a Quaker abolitionist beginning in the 1830’s and remained an advocate for the disenfranchised, overlooked, and neglected his entire life.
Today, the text (only three stanzas are quoted above) echoes throughout our troubled times with a call to find strength and a foundation shared with Jesus in the “silence of eternity”, the love of God. In the middle of the tumult of 2016, with its political maelstrom and the constant bombardment of falsehoods and detrimental denigration of ideas and personalities, is it not a time to seek to be forgiven for our foolish ways and be re-clothed in our rightful minds; with deeper reverence to praise God with our service?
These words have been my constant companion; ever an inspiration.
Photo of the Sea of Galilee Copyright: aprilphoto / 123RF Stock Photo