Saturday, March 30, 2019

Saturday Synaxis

Almighty God, in this wondrous world Thou dost manifest Thy power and Thy beauty: open the eyes of all to see that whatsoever has any being is a mirror wherein we may behold Thee, the root and fountain of all being; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

- John Donne

Friday, March 29, 2019

Hymn of the Week: Praise to the God and Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:3-10)

This new hymn is an attempt to render the essence of one of my favorite Bible passages, Ephesians 1:3-10, into a singable form. I've set it to the tune of the classic hymn "Lead On, O King Eternal" ( 

Praise to the God and Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ

Praise to the God and Father
Of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Who blessed us with all blessings
And brought us forth to life!
Before the world's beginning
He chose us in his Son:
Predestined as his children
Through Christ, the Blessed One!

His love has made us holy,
His grace has set us free;
By his own will and pleasure,
Blameless in Christ are we!
In him we have redemption,
Because of Jesus' blood:
Our sins are all forgiven
Through God's eternal love!

In wisdom and in blessing
He lavishes his grace,
And he makes known the mystery
Of his will and his ways.
All this he does through Jesus,
Through whom his purpose stands:
Bring heav'n and earth together
Beneath the Savior's hand!


Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Photo of the Week

Chattering finch and water-fly
Are not merrier than I;
Here among the flowers I lie
Laughing everlastingly.
No: I may not tell the best;
Surely, friends, I might have guessed
Death was but the good King's jest,
It was hid so carefully.

- G. K. Chesterton, "The Skeleton"

Monday, March 25, 2019

Quote of the Week

"There is not one blade of grass, there is no color in this world that is not intended to make us rejoice."

- John Calvin, 16th-century Protestant reformer 

(Painting: "Tulip Fields in Holland," by Claude Monet, 1886)

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Saturday Synaxis

Come, fount of eternal light,
Take me to yourself from whom I came.
There may I know as I am known,
And love as I am loved,
That I may see you as you are, my God,
And, seeing you, enjoy you and possess you

- Gertrude the Great

Friday, March 22, 2019

Hymn of the Week: O God, the Giver of Good Things

My hymn for this week is a table grace. Sung table graces are rarely in use anymore, but I happened to marry into a family that still knows many such hymns and enjoys using them before a meal. It's a tradition we're passing on to our own kids. Several of these graces are sung to the very familiar tune "Old Hundredth" (the Doxology), so that's the tune I've used here. I have three verses to mine, which is about the maximum for a table grace (you can't make people wait too long for their food!), and it would be fine to use just one or two verses if preferred.

O God, the Giver of Good Things

O God, the giver of good things,
To You our thanks and praise we bring:
We magnify You for Your love,
For gifts of grace, here and above.

Let us who now Your grace receive
Pour out that grace to those in need;
And if some hungry soul is near,
Bring them to feast with us in here!

We share this bounty of Your love
For Christ has shared all things with us;
Make us the vessels of his peace
Until we join his heav'nly feast.


Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Photo of the Week

The Lord looked upon the earth,
and filled it with his good things.

- Sirach 16:29 (OT Apocrypha)

Monday, March 18, 2019

Quote of the Week

"All great and honorable actions are accompanied with great difficulties, and both must be enterprised and overcome with answerable courage."

- William Bradford, 17th-century Pilgrim leader of Plymouth Plantation

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Saturday Synaxis

Lord, thou hast given us thy Word 
As a light to shine upon our path;
Grant us so to meditate on that Word, 
And to follow its teaching,
That we may find in it the light that shines
More and more until the perfect day;
Through Jesus Christ our Lord.

- Jerome

Friday, March 15, 2019

Hymn of the Week: Sing to the Lord (Psalm 96)

This hymn is a rendering of Psalm 96, and I've set it to the old American folk tune "Be Kind to the Loved Ones at Home" - a really lovely melody, but largely forgotten today. You can find sheet music for it here.

Sing to the Lord (Psalm 96)

Oh, lift up your voices and sing to the Lord;
Let earth sing aloud to our God!
Declare His salvation all in one accord,
And bless the Lord's name with your song!
Among all the nations His glory proclaim,
Make known all His marvelous works!
Of praise He is worthy, for great is His name,
Yes, unending awe He deserves!

Our God made the heavens; all splendor is His,
His majesty fills up the earth!
His strength and His glory, in fullness of bliss,
Attest to His marvelous worth!
Ascribe to your Maker, all peoples and lands,
Ascribe to Him glory and strength!
Yes, raise up your voices and lift up your hands;
His glorious reign never ends!

With praises and off'rings draw near to the Lord;
Come into His courts and bow down.
Oh, lift up your worship in deed and in word
Where His holy splendors abound!
Before Him earth trembles; He reigns over all;
Creation He set in its place.
One day He is coming, with justice for all,
The Judge and the Ancient of Days!

Let heaven be joyful, let earth celebrate;
The ocean resounds with His praise!
The fields extol Him; the trees bless His name,
And songs of delight they will raise!
Creation will welcome the Lord when He comes,
The Judge who sets everything right!
Oh, joy to the nations, for righteousness dawns
When God's endless faithfulness shines!


Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Photo of the Week

“The hills are mute: yet how they speak of God!” 

- Charles Hanson Towne, from his poem “Silence”

Monday, March 11, 2019

Quote of the Week

"If you see anything good in yourself, believe still better things of others and you will, then, preserve humility."

- Thomas a Kempis, from The Imitation of Christ

Saturday, March 09, 2019

Saturday Synaxis

I set the keeping of Christ about thee;
I send the guarding of the Great Light with thee,
To possess thee, to protect thee,
From death, from danger, from loss.
The peace of Christ is with thee, and his own loving
      arm is around thee.
The aiding of the True Spirit is with thee, and his fiery
      sword protects thee,
The shield of the Living God is over thee,
Now, and always, wherever thou goest,
Now, and always, wherever thou farest.

- Stephen R. Lawhead