Friday, July 6, 2018
"Refresh thy people on their toilsome way."
Hymn: “God of Our Fathers” – Daniel C. Roberts (1841-1907)
Tune: NATIONAL HYMN
Although considered a patriotic hymn and usually included in that section of most hymnals, except for one line (“in this free land by thee our lot is cast”), the remainder of the hymn is about the Almighty God of our forefathers… having bless-ed little to do with patriotism. It is in every way a prayer-hymn with a few allusions to our being people of freedom secured from war by the strong arm of our Protector.
It's use on Sundays related to patriotic holidays strengthens its impact as a Christian hymn in appreciation for the blessings of living “in this free land.” Some of those national-holiday-related three-day weekends afford us the opportunity to be refreshed… to step away from the toilsome way that provides our monetary income. So the fact that the final stanza begins with that request makes perfectly good sense, don’t you think?
There are other worthwhile entreaties made in this prayer-hymn:
- Be our Ruler, our Guardian, our Guide.
- May your true religion increase in our hearts.
- Let your Word be our law.
- May we choose your paths, making our way in your direction.
- Grant that we might be nourished by your bountiful goodness.
- Fill our lives with godly love and divine grace.
- Eventually lead us from overwhelming darkness to daylight that never ends.
All these petitions lead us back to the hymnline for today: give us refreshment so we can take up the everyday work to which we have committed ourselves.
By his almighty hand, may God make these kinds of provisions in our lives – and may we ever express the glory, laud and praise that alone are due him.
This Hymn Sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir
(with patriotic imagery in the video, of course!)