Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Gathering

I am at Dave and Sally's in Wichita and soon we will leave for the home of Sally's sister, Susan, in the nearby village of Haven. Many of Sally's family get together during the two bg winter holidays and since I'm invariably in Kansas this time of year, I am included in the festivities. I spent my first three days here at Scott and Karen's house and now I have transferred to my other brother's home. I like being fought over! The holidays always remind me of one of my favorite hymns, We Gather Together. I rarely, if ever, hear it sung any other time. By the wording and phrasing, I assumed it is very old and it is. It was penned in 1597 'by Adrianus Valerius as "Wilt heden nu treden" to celebrate the  Dutch victory over Spanish forces in the Battle of Turnhout. It was originally set to a Dutch folk tune.'  (from Wikipedia) At the time, Dutch Protestants were forbidden to assemble to worship so the first three words are incredibly symbolic. The English version came from Theodore Baker who translated the words in our hymnal, not from the Dutch but from German. There is some thought it gained popularity in the US during World War II as 'the wicked oppressing' became synonymous in the American psyche with the Axis powers.  

I love this hymn for the gathering emphasis, both as a spiritual family as the words suggest and the biological family as its application has evolved. To come together, bonded both though the blood of Jesus and the blood of our ancestors, is a blessing almost beyond comprehension. I'm reminded of holidays past with relatives who were also brothers and sisters in Christ. To me, that is the Lord's blessing. Happy Thanksgiving, 2014.

We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing;
He chastens and hastens His will to make known.
The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing.
Sing praises to His Name; He forgets not His own.

Beside us to guide us, our God with us joining,
Ordaining, maintaining His kingdom divine;
So from the beginning the fight we were winning;
Thou, Lord, were at our side, all glory be Thine!

We all do extol Thee, Thou Leader triumphant,
And pray that Thou still our Defender will be.
Let Thy congregation escape tribulation;
Thy Name be ever praised! O Lord, make us free!

Applicable quote of the day:
Thanksgiving is a time when the world gets to see just how blessed and how workable the Christian system is. The emphasis is not on giving or buying, but on being thankful and expressing that appreciation to God and to one another.                                John Clayton

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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