Wednesday, August 20, 2014

When Wilt Thou Save the People? (Strength in Hymn)

"When Wilt Thou Save the People?"
by Ebenezer Elliott

When wilt thou save the people?
O God of mercy, when?
Not kings and lords, but nations!
Not thrones and crowns, but men!
Flowers of thy heart,
O God, are they;
Let them not pass, 
like weeds, away,
Their heritage a sunless day.
God save the people! 

Shall crime bring crime for ever,
Strength aiding still the strong?
Is it thy will, O Father,
That man shall toil for wrong?
"No," say thy mountains; 
"No," say thy skies;
Man's clouded sun 
shall brightly rise,
And songs be heard 
instead of sighs;
God save the people!


When wilt thou save the people?
O God of mercy, when?
The people, Lord, the people,
Not thrones and crowns, but men!
God save the people; 
thine they are,
Thy children, as thy angels fair;
From vice, oppression, and despair,
God save the people!


I remember this song (mostly the same lyrics, different tune, I'm sure) from seeing the Godspell pop musical when I was a child in the 1970's. I was surprised to see it in the Brethren hymnal that I was browsing through on Sunday morning before I left for church. Written in 1850, it is a fitting hymn for this blog as I have been writing much about oppression and injustice. 

It is also fitting for the times, judging by global, national, and even local news headlines. Big sigh. We try to stay aware, to speak out. We try to do our part, to give and serve. There is only so much we can do, we humans. And so we grieve, too, when no end to the suffering is in sight. Slaughtered Christians in Iraq. Ukraine vs. Russia. Ebola. Immigration. Race riots in Ferguson, Missouri. Depression with its desperate longing for release. Victims of domestic abuse. Homeless living in the woods a mile from my house. Children trafficked in my own hometown. So many more. So many more. I don't have any trite or tidy answers, any pious feel good platitudes.  Only the sobered and honest prayer, "When wilt thou save the people? God save the people!"

Virginia Knowles

P.S. All photos taken at sunset at the Crane's Roost lake in Altamonte Springs, Florida.

P.P.S. A song for days of despair - I always love to hear this...

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