“But Thanks Be to God”: A Tenth Reflection

Today is the day the United States government designated for public thanksgiving to God. Despite the fact that the holiday persists as such through sheer inertia and commercialization rather than through the survival of the late statesmen’s understanding of the reasons for it, it is still fitting for me to, as I have done for the past nine years on this day, reflect on the various ways God has blessed me through the course, and in particular during the past year.

Because I prefer to try to avoid repeating myself when I can, because my memory fades more each year (though particular memories have been brought into sharper focus), and more importantly because the time I allow for the writing of these meditations is always briefer than I intend, my first reflection on this theme, in 2009, remains the most extensive and detailed; in subsequent years, and below, I have largely more-briefly listed blessings that were either new or newly-brought-to-mind. Continue reading ““But Thanks Be to God”: A Tenth Reflection”

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Hymn: “I would, but cannot, sing”

The next in my series on great old hymns is a text that has put words to my wordless feelings ever since I was first introduced to it by a post on the Cardiphonia Project‘s blog, but which I hesitated to call a “hymn.” Still, I won’t quarrel with the hymnal editors who have chosen to include it in their volumes, and I was going to share it with you anyway. Continue reading “Hymn: “I would, but cannot, sing””

Hymn: “All glory, laud, and honor”

Continuing my series on great old hymns, since tomorrow is Palm Sunday, I decided to focus our attention today on a hymn about the Triumphal Entry. I covered my favorite Palm Sunday hymn four years ago, and another particularly suitable text the previous Advent, but this is also a favorite hymn, and unlike “Hosanna, loud hosanna” (which only dates to 1873) this is actually an old hymn (the Latin more than a thousand years older than that). Continue reading “Hymn: “All glory, laud, and honor””

Hymn: “I sing th’almighty power of God”

My church is going to have the first sessions of its annual “Creation Conference” this evening. So I thought it would be particularly fitting to resume my series on great old hymns with one that is not only a good age in hymn terms, and not only a favorite from my childhood, but also aptly describes God’s power and detailed care shown to and in his creation. Continue reading “Hymn: “I sing th’almighty power of God””

Ashes

For dust I am, and to dust I shall return.

And so shall all my works, such as have not already crumbled to ashes in my hand.

By the nature I have inherited from every ancestor, and recapitulated of my own doing, I am inherently inclined “to hate God and my neighbor.”

What life I have comes to me—and what of any worth I am able to do, I am able to do—only by the unfathomable grace of God extended to me for the sake of Jesus Christ his Son.

Whenever time and circumstance bring me to reflection, I can say little more than (to adapt the epigram of Ovid I found two years ago) “Videbam meliora probabamque, deteriora sequebar“: “I have seen and approved the better, [but] followed the worse.”

Lord, you have been gracious and merciful, permitting this unworthy person to continue in life, health, and breath. To this but add the mercy of repentance, and the grace to walk in your ways!

I am not my own; I have been bought at a price (a price far heavier than the symbolic ashes of last year’s palms), and so belong to Jesus Christ.