Tuesday, January 20, 2009

God Bless Our Native Land

(A poetic hymn to celebrate & exhort our nation this Inauguration Day.)

God bless our native land;
Firm may she ever stand
Through storm and night.
When the wild tempests rave,
Ruler of wind and wave,
Do Thou our country save
By Thy great might.

For her our prayers shall rise
To God, above the skies;
On Him we wait.
Thou who art ever nigh,
Guarding with watchful eye:
To Thee aloud we cry,
God save the state!

And not to us alone,
But be Thy mercies known
From shore to shore.
Lord, make the nations see
That men should brothers be
And form one family
The wide world o'er.

--Stanzas 1-2, Siegfried A. Mahlmann, 1815
--Stanza 3, William E. Hickson, 1835

Saturday, January 3, 2009

To Bethlehem With Gladness

(An adaptation of the hymn "As With Gladness Men of Old")

As the Wise Men from of old
Did the guiding star* behold
As with joy they hailed its light,
Leading onward, beaming bright:
So, most gracious Lord, may we
Evermore be led to Thee.

As with joyful steps they sped
To Thy lowly cradle bed;
There to bend the knee before
Thee, Whom heaven and earth adore;
So may we with willing feet
Ever seek Thy mercy seat.

As they offered gifts most rare
At Thy cradle, rude and bare;
So may we with holy joy,
Pure and free from sin's alloy**,
All our costliest treasures bring,
Christ, to Thee, our
heavenly King.

Holy Jesus, every day
Keep us in the narrow way;
And, when earthly things are past,
Bring our ransomed souls at last
Where they need no star to guide,
Where no clouds Thy glory hide.

In the heavenly country bright,
Need they no created light:
Thou its light, its joy, its crown,
Thou its Sun*** which goes not down;
There forever may we sing
Alleluias to our King!
---William Chatterton Dix, 1860

*Numbers 24:17; it was prophesied that a Star would rise out of the Israelites, referring both to the actual star & to Messiah Jesus
**An alloy is something mixed in which diluted purity. Dix prays that we can offer our gifts to Christ with the greatest of purity, an admirable hope, but a condition we will not see perfectly in this lifetime.
***Messiah Jesus was to be the "Sun of Righteousness" who would rise "with healing in His wings." (Cf. the words of "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing.)