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Friday, October 10, 2014

Though with a scornful wonder
this world sees her oppressed,
by schisms rent asunder,
by heresies distressed,
yet saints their watch are keeping;
their cry goes up: “How long?”
And soon the night of weeping
shall be the morn of song.

Samuel John Stone’s “The Church’s One Foundation” (tune: Aurelia)
from Glory to God: The Presbyterian Hymnal

I can’t stop myself from singing this hymn. It’s been in my head for days now as we cycle through all the stanzas. What I love most about it is the memory it instills: how the church sings this tune with such gusto because we’ve all been singing it our entire lives. Perhaps while the Fourth Church organ is out for restoration, we could sing this a cappella. I know we would rock the sanctuary.

This particular verse is unfortunately very apropos for the place in which we find ourselves today. It was written over a hundred years ago about a situation in the church in South Africa, but it could have been written about all the strife in the world around us today. There are days where I can’t bring myself to open my computer for fear of hearing about one more perilous situation somewhere.

Just when things seem so bleak, the sunrise catches my breath, or some random act of kindness assures me that all is not lost. Each of us has a small part to play. Edward Everett Hale, a nineteenth-century Unitarian minister, wrote:

I am only one but still I am one.
I cannot do everything but
I can do something and because
I cannot do everything, I will not
refuse to do the something I can do.

Think of one thing you can do today to brighten our world. And then repeat it tomorrow.

God of all things, don’t give up. Shine your light on us today and forevermore. May it always be so. Amen.

Written by Lesley Conzelman, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

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