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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

From all that dwell below the skies
let the Creator’s praise arise:
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Let the Redeemer’s name be sung
throughout every land, in every tongue.
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

In every land begin the song;
to every land the strains belong:
Alleluia! Alleluia!
In cheerful sound all voices raise
and fill the world with joyful praise.
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Eternal are thy mercies, Lord;
eternal truth attends thy word:
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Thy praise shall sound from shore to shore,
till suns shall rise and set no more.
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Isaac Watts’s “From All That Dwell Below the Skies”
(tune: Lasst Uns Erfreuen)
from Glory to God: The Presbyterian Hymnal

Reflection
When we celebrate the sacraments of baptism and communion, we affirm that we are part of the universal church. This is not the table of the Presbyterian Church we refer to during communion. This is Christ’s table and it is he who invites you here. In this hymn, Issac Watts reminds us of our part in the larger catholic, or universal, church to which we Presbyterians have always affirmed our strong connection. “Let the Redeemer’s name be sung throughout every land, in every tongue. . . . In every land begin the song; to every land the strains belong. . . . Thy praise shall sound from shore to shore till suns shall rise and set no more.” For this reason I love going to church when I am on vacation. Many people think that is strange. “But you don’t know anybody there," they say, "and you are not a part of that church?” But I find I actually am a part of them. At times I am in places that don’t have a PCUSA church, so I have attended a wide variety of other churches. These churches are always a place of welcome, a reminder that wherever I am the body of Christ is also, that there is a larger family of faith that we are each a part and to whom we can always turn. We have family members from shore to shore because of the eternal truth of God’s mercy through Jesus Christ. This is indeed a cause to sing Alleluia!

Prayer
Loving God, we are each a thread within the tapestry of your universal church. Help us to ponder the great beauty of this gift. Thank you for calling to each of us. Help us to lead our lives in service to you and not ourselves. Help us to understand our deep connection to others and focus on what unites us rather than our differences. “In every land begin the song; to every land the strains belong.” Alleluia. Amen.

Written by Liz Nickerson, Family Ministry Coordinator


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