Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy T-Day! ...and James Freeman

I thought about posting an old "Pilgrim" hymn today but thought better of it.  There are a few from "Singers and Songs of the Liberal Faith" like "the Pilgrim Fathers" and "Forefathers Day" and "Pilgrim Ode".  All of these were written by either John or Samuel Davis.  They are historically interesting but are also a bit too full of European-American triumphalism.  I have pretty much had my fill of triumphalism, I'm afraid.  It is good to remember that some groups--Native American groups among them--may not be quite so thankful for our arrival on their shores.

I don't really put much stock in the old pilgrim thanksgiving creation-myth anyway.  Yes, they had days of thanksgiving over the years, but most of them were fast days.  Try that with the relatives this year!  Thanksgiving has as much to do with the Civil War as it does with Plymouth and, of course, modern Thanksgiving is celebrated in its own--rather commercial--way.  Sometimes we celebrate in spite of all that has been added to the very human emotion of gratitude. Today I heard (for the first time) of "Tryptophan Thursday".  It is meant to be a sort of prequel to Black Friday...

...please oh please no...

So here I have an old hymn by Rev. Dr. James Freeman who famously facilitated the move of the "first Episcopal church in the New World" into an early form of what became Unitarianism.  That church was, of course, King's Chapel in Boston.

Lord of the worlds below!
On earth thy glories shine;
The changing seasons show
Thy skill and power divine.
     In all we see
     A God appears
     The rolling years
     Are full of thee

Forth in the flowery spring,
We see thy beauty move;
The birds on branches sing
Thy tenderness and love;
     Wide flush the hills;
     The air is a balm:
     Devotion's calm
     Our bosom fills.

Then come, in robes of light,
The summer's flaming days;
The sun, thine image bright,
Thy majesty displays;
     And oft thy voice
     In thunder rolls;
     But still our souls
     In thee rejoice.

In autumn, a rich feast
Thy common bounty gives
To man, and bird, and beast,
And every thing that lives.
     Thy liberal care,
     At morn, and noon,
     And harvest moon,
     Our lips declare.

In winter, awful thou!
With storms around thee cast:
The leafless forests bow
Beneath thy northern blast.
     While tempests lower,
     To thee, dread king,
     We homage bring,
     And own thy power.

As we sit on the edge of fall peering into the not so distant winter, I wish you and yours a happy Thanksgiving.  May it be warm and welcome wherever you are...

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