I wrote a different piece yesterday, but this morning I realized it was all wrong. It was an angry piece, a frustrated, exhausted piece, and I just can’t do that anymore. There has to be a better way to look at things, to make things happen. I shouldn’t have needed the reminder, but I guess I did; this morning in church I got it -- we sang Katherine Davis’ great hymn:
Let all things now living a song of thanksgiving
To God the creator triumphantly raise.
Who fashioned and made us, protected and stayed us,
Who still guides us on to the end of our days.
God's banners are o'er us, His light goes before us,
A pillar of fire shining forth in the night.
Till shadows have vanished and darkness is banished
As forward we travel from light into light.
His law he enforces, the stars in their courses
And sun in its orbit obediently shine;
The hills and the mountains, the rivers and fountains,
The deeps of the ocean proclaim him divine.
We too should be voicing our love and rejoicing;
With glad adoration a Song let us raise
Till all things now living unite in thanksgiving:
"To God in the highest, Hosanna and praise!"
True, things are a mess right now – the biggest, most dangerous mess of my lifetime, but things are also so very good, so very hopeful, so possible. Several years ago my New York brother (I have brothers all over the country.) sent me a photo he’d snapped from his office window. It was Lady Liberty, her torch of hope held high, surrounded by a sea of brownish fog. It was a disturbing picture. At the time I focused on the fog and its appropriate symbolism. We didn’t know then what we know now – that the miasma is even more toxic than we imagined and that it is growing deeper. Yet, today as we sang that lovely Welsh tune I refocused on the statue. She is still standing; we are still America.
“Let all things now living a song of thanksgiving to God the creator triumphantly raise.” Yes, more so now than at any time in the last century we can see Him as creator. We can literally see the awe-inspiring intricacies of all things living – the minute factories, fairytale cities in each individual cell. Busy little machines, live ultra-miniature mechanisms that build, and copy and deliver in perfect precision. No long, pointless, clumsy accident is happening here. We know now the impossible sophistication of hummingbird flight, the mysteries of butterfly metamorphosis and migration. We know how the human eye works and what happens when the immune systems swings into action. “A song of thanksgiving to God the creator, triumphantly raise.” Yes. Oh, yes. We are leaving behind the dark Darwinian night.
God – “Who fashioned and made us, protected and stayed us, Who still guides us on to the end of our days. God's banners are o'er us, His light goes before us, A pillar of fire shining forth in the night. Till shadows have vanished and darkness is banished As forward we travel from light into light.”
We are coming out of the dark night of progressivism as well. A glimmer of light out there far ahead, and yes, it will be dark for a while longer, but that light is out there and we are heading toward it, faster every day.
Did you read the story about Albert Rizzi and his dog, appropriately named Doxology? Rizzi and Doxie, his guide dog, were seated on a plane waiting on the tarmac at Philadelphia International Airport. They were waiting out there for over an hour (for a 45-minute flight) when Doxie moved. An altercation with the flight attendant followed that resulted in Rizzi and his dog being removed from the plane. He didn’t know that after he was escorted off all remaining passengers, 35 of them, deplaned as well in protest. The flight attendant in this case was acting like a fascist and Rizzi’s fellow travelers would have none of it. You see, this is still America. For that I am grateful.
“His law he enforces, the stars in their courses And sun in its orbit obediently shine…”
God has many kinds of laws – moral laws, scientific laws, economic laws – it is these laws that make the universe work. Galaxies are not crashing into galaxies, nothing falls up, and man still has free will. God is enforcing these laws. It seems slow to us for impatience is one of our failings, but evil will meet its demise. God has told us what that will look like and how it will happen. The Book of Revelation is an excellent compendium of those predictions. All previous prophecies have come to pass; it seems unlikely that He’ll quit fulfilling them now. I know Nietzsche said that God was dead, but allow me to point out that it’s Nietzsche who is no longer with us. “We too should be voicing our love and rejoicing; /With glad adoration a Song let us raise.”
This morning I taught Sunday School, as usual. Today we built little Thanksgiving notebooks – a page for everything we are thankful for. As we worked two boys were discussing their gratitude for their respective dogs. Within just a few minutes they went from thankfulness for their pets to fear of what would happen if they lost them. By the time I intervened they both had tears in their eyes. I smile fondly as I type this (I just adore those two boys.), but I also realize that I do that same thing daily: I mourn for my country – and yet, she’s still alive! Lady Liberty is still in New York Harbor. Maybe there will come a day when she won’t be, but that day is not today. Today we are still the United States, the greatest nation the world has ever imagined. Today we still live here. Today my fellow Americans are, for the most part, decent people, who dislike injustice, who believe in hard work and honesty, and who would stand up for those in trouble.
For the time being Lucifer and his cohort still have quite a bit of pull on this Earth. The Father of Lies is still deceiving himself that he can be “like the Most High.” He is good at distractions, at undermining our relationship with our Creator, at making us think we’re on our own. But we’re not. Sometimes Robert Browning’s famous line, “God’s in His heaven/ All’s right with the world,” seems hopelessly naïve, but he was right on point; everything is moving along as it should.
Till all things now living unite in thanksgiving: "To God in the highest, Hosanna and praise!"