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Thursday, November 17, 2016

Today’s Hymn            

For the beauty of the earth,
for the glory of the skies,
for the love which from our birth
over and around us lies:
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.

For the wonder of each hour
of the day and of the night,
hill and vale, and tree and flower,
sun and moon, and stars of light:
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.

For the joy of ear and eye,
for the heart and mind’s delight,
for the mystic harmony
linking sense to sound and light:
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise

For the joy of human love,
brother, sister, parent, child,
friends on earth, and friends above,
for all gentle thoughts and mild:
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.

For thyself, best gift divine
to the world so freely given;
for that great, great love of thine,
peace on earth and joy in heaven:
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.

Folliott Sanford Pierpont’s “For the Beauty of the Earth”
from Glory to God: The Presbyterian Hymnal

Reflection
I once attended a concert of four bell choirs. The choirs were arranged around the room, and the attendees were seated at tables in the center. It was a “surround sound” experience. The pieces that were played were some standard hymns, some contemporary music, some Broadway selections—a variety. When the last piece came to its grand conclusion, one of the couples in attendance was the first to stand up, leading a joyous standing ovation. I could see the looks of appreciation on both of their faces. I could see the awe they were feeling. And I could see their white canes and their marred eyes from years of blindness. It was no wonder this blind couple stood up first to applaud an experience that had been so pleasing to their ears.

The hymn “For the Beauty of the Earth” is a prayer thanking God for so much of what we take for granted. For the joy of ear and eye, for the heart and mind’s delight, for the mystic harmony, linking sense to sound and sight, Lord of all, to thee we raise this our hymn of grateful praise. The gift of ear and eye are treasured gifts. When one sense is lost, we cherish the remaining senses all the more. There is much we’ve been given in these lives of ours—the glory of the skies, hill and vale, tree and flower, friends on earth and friends above, the ability to think and to feel. May we continue to cherish all of those good gifts and to sing our hymns of grateful praise.

Prayer
Dear God, giver of all good things, thank you for the gift of life, for our senses that allow us to experience beauty. Slow us down enough each day so that we can take note. And then, remind us to give you thanks. Amen.

Written by Judith L. Watt, Associate Pastor for Pastoral Care


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