In deeper reverence, praise
“We plow the fields and scatter
The good seed on the land.
And it is fed and watered
By God’s almighty hand.
He sends the snow in winter
The warmth to swell the grain,
The breezes and the sunshine
And soft refreshing rain.”
In earlier years, youngsters in our schools gathered in our dining rooms and sang this hymn. That was on the day before the Thanksgiving holiday, when young hearts had good cause to rejoice.
A prayer was spoken by one of the teachers before we sat down to eat. The occasion was marked by quiet ceremony and an attitude of reverence.
In due course, the American Civil Liberties Union stepped in and engineered a stop to this. The ACLU, arbiter for the legal right at the expense of the ethical and moral right, argued that public practice of a religious sort was unconstitutional, that separation of church and state was paramount. In courts of law they argued successfully that public expression of godly reverence must be banned.
Destroyers or tradition are tireless. They are self-inspired wit who wear bumper stickers with the message: Challenge Authority!
Here is reference to a moment in our history when nobody challenged the authority that is inherent and a compelling aspect of Thanksgiving.
On one American ship during the second world war, On Thanksgiving Day, our crew, excepting only the men on watch, assembled for a prayer service.
Protestant, Catholic, Jew — contributed an appropriate prayer. Reverence prevailed.
One of the crew, Felsted by name, came from Utah. He was a Mormon who had sung in the Salt Lake City Tabernacle Choir. As a trained baritone, he sang:
“Dear Lord and Father of mankind,
Forgive our foolish ways!
Re-clothe us in our rightful mind —
In purer lives Thy service find,
In deeper reverence, praise.”
This is Thanksgiving. In deeper reverence, praise. This is the day for that.
In semi-retirement after 58 years of writing for The Recorder, Paul Seamans has moved from farm-country Gill to Charlene Manor in Greenfield. From a west-looking window, he looks upon the Shelburne hills, which provide him a new and fresh inspiration.