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Monday, May 18, 2020
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.
“For the Beauty of the Earth” (v. 5) by Folliott Sanford Pierpont
Hymn 14, Glory to God: The Presbyterian Hymnal
The melody and opening verses of “For the Beauty of the Earth” echoed in my mind as I sat down to ponder the concluding verse. Without stepping on my devotion-writing colleagues’ toes, I hope, I am struck by the progression of the verses. The first two are a tribute of praise for the wonders of creation. The second two verses proceed to the rich human experiences of everyday. All these matters of creation and humanity comprise the common graces (by no means commonplace) that nurture and uphold us.
Today’s final verse turns to the source of all these graces, our Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer: “For thyself best gift divine.” This is the special grace that touches and transforms our entire experience, here and in the hereafter. Our deeply faithful goal of peace on earth—shalom, compassion, and justice undergirding the reconciliation of humanity and all creation—leads to choruses of joy in the heavenly realm among the saints who have gone before us. The conductor of these choirs is none other than Jesus, our brother and our Savior, the very embodiment of that “great, great love” of our one God.
May we join together in the everlasting refrain: “Lord of all, to thee we raise this our hymn of grateful praise.”
Loving God, may your presence with us in our separated circumstances open our ears to the music of your realm, here and hereafter. May gratitude grace our experience as we turn to you in heartfelt praise. Amen.
Written by Jeffrey Doane, Parish Associate for Older Adults
Reflection and Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church
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