Thursday, November 23, 2006

Our Heritage

Today is Thanksgiving in the United States. I invite you to read what "American Daughter" writes:

Have we forgotten the words?

On this Thanksgiving holiday, please take time to enjoy the verses of two traditional American songs, the Thanksgiving Hymn and the Thanksgiving Prayer. They affirm the gratitude of a people for their God.

The copies we are sharing here did not come from a church hymnal. They were transcribed from a songbook distributed in our public school systems in the year 1945. This book was in every literate home in the United States at that time, and was called I Hear America Singing, or more formally Twice 55 Community Songbook.

The assertion that our nation ever intended to separate our devotion to God from our public spaces and our public life is a blatant lie. Our philosophy of reliance on divine guidance motivated the founding fathers, permeates the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution, and is inscribed on our original monuments and government buildings.

The worthy gentlemen who drafted the Constitution only intended that membership in a particular religious denomination must never be made a prerequisite for holding public office, and that citizens should never be forced to subscribe to a specific denomination. They were still mindful of the bitter religious strife between Catholics and Protestants in England, and wanted to ensure that the new republic got started on a more ecumenical footing.

The insidious erosion of our patriotic traditions and our national identity must not be permitted to continue. Every thinking American must stand against the revision of our historical records and the activism of judges who would destroy the ideological foundations of our liberty.

But at this time of joyful harvest and quiet prayer, just savor the words of these two beloved hymns of gratitude.

Thanksgiving Hymn
Come, ye thankful people, come, Raise the song of harvest home!
All is safely gathered in, Ere the winter storms begin;
God, our Maker, doth provide For our wants to be supplied.
Come to God's own temple, come, Raise the song of harvest home!

All the world is God's own field, Fruit unto His praise to yield;
Wheat and tares together sown, Unto joy or sorrow grown:
First the blade and then the ear, Then the full corn shall appear; --
Lord of harvest, grant that we Wholesome grain and pure may be.

For the Lord our God shall come, And shall take His harvest home;
From His field shall in that day All offences purge away;
Give His angels charge at last, In the fire the tares to cast,
But the fruitful ears to store In His garner evermore.

THE WORDS--Henry Alford, an English clergyman, writer of note, and Dean of Canterbury, was born in London in 1833 and died in Canterbury in 1871. His literary labours extended to every department of literature but he was especially well known as a writer and translator of hymns. This is his best known and most popular hymn.

THE MUSIC--George Elvey, the composer, was born at Canterbury, England. He was for forty-seven years organist at St. George's chapel, in Windsor Castle.

Thanksgiving Prayer
We gather together to ask the Lord's blessing;
He chastens and hastens His will to make known;
The wicked oppressing cease them 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, wast at our side, Let the glory be Thine!

We all do extol Thee, Thou leader in battle,
And pray that Thou still our Defender wilt be.
Let Thy congregation escape tribulation;
Thy name be ever praised! And Thy people be free.


THE MUSIC--Netherlands Tune

Cross-posted from American Daughter

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