Monday, November 2, 2020

Dear Lord and Father of Mankind

My brother and his family invited us to spend this past weekend in northern Pennsylvania. The cabin was tiny so we spent as much time as possible out doors even though the weather was cold and rainy for part of the weekend..

But food tastes better outdoors anyway.

Cousins make the best playmates.

The weekend included hours of game playing and far too much coffee. (Ed would be shocked to learn that I'm now enjoying coffee.) Hauling water from the spring and living without indoor plumbing was a good experience for all of us.

The boys took their dogs hunting, carved wooden spoons, and target practiced.

One thing (among many) that I love about vacationing with another family is that I can sneak out for a walk alone. I hiked up the dirt road, my attention sidetracked by the stream rushing down the mountain. The height of fall color had faded to rusts and browns, but a winter forest holds charm.

The silence was nearly startling. Most of the time I couldn't hear a vehicle, a dog, or any sign of humans besides my own panting. 

I'm not sure what makes me want to pray more, the city or the wilderness. When I'm in a city I want to cry out to God for mercy for all the sad eyes I see. But when I'm in the quiet of God's creation I feel wordless with worship. 

Many words are being tossed around this election week. It is enough to make a person want to disappear into the Pennsylvania wilderness until spring. But I believe that God isn't rattled, His throne isn't shaken, and His Kingdom will prosper whatever the next weeks hold. 

The hymn "Dear Lord and Father of Mankind" came to mind tonight as I thought of hymns that speak of peace and preparing my heart for worship. (No mountain stream needed.) Whittier, a Quaker, included many Sciptural references in his poem. He obviously knew His Bible well, from the Old Testament to the New, to write these words.

May each of us find the beauty of His peace in His still small voice.

Dear Lord and Father of Mankind
by John Greenleaf Whittier

Dear Lord and Father of mankind,
Forgive our foolish ways!
Reclothe us in our rightful mind,
In purer lives Thy service find,
In deeper reverence, praise.

In simple trust like theirs who heard
Beside the Syrian sea
The gracious calling of the Lord,
Let us, like them, without a word
Rise up and follow Thee.

O Sabbath rest by Galilee!
O calm of hills above,
Where Jesus knelt to share with Thee
The silence of eternity
Interpreted by love!

With that deep hush subduing all
Our words and works that drown
The tender whisper of Thy call,
As noiseless let Thy blessing fall
As fell Thy manna down.

Drop Thy still dews of quietness,
Till all our strivings cease;
Take from our souls the strain and stress,
And let our ordered lives confess
The beauty of Thy peace.

Breathe through the heats of our desire
Thy coolness and Thy balm;
Let sense be dumb, let flesh retire;
Speak through the earthquake, wind, and fire,
O still, small voice of calm.

Here is a video that shares the tune that I'm familiar with. (If reading this by email, click over to the blog to view the video.)


  1. I remember singing the same beautiful hymn since childhood. Our nation could indeed use these words this week. There is too much anger and hatred. I'm sure the Lord must be grieved by it all.

  2. Thank you Gina for this beautiful hymn. I love the hymns you post because there are many that I'm not familiar with. Have a blessed day.

  3. The way you describe that specific time in nature--it makes me so happy to have it named and described so well! "The height of fall color had faded to rusts and browns, but a winter forest holds charm." (Not to embarrass anyone by quoting their own words back at them! XP )

  4. Thank you for reminding me of this hymn. It is lovely that you share your holidays with us, your pictures make me smile, just to see a family enjoying themselves is uplifting. Your pictures of nature are humbling. We are about to enter another lockdown missing out on our holiday in a cottage by two days. We missed one earlier in the year by a week. This family really needs God's love to keep them going through these difficult times. Stay safe and blessing to you and your family. X

  5. Ah, that's a good hymn for politics.


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