I’m going to be spending this week talking about Thanksgiving in one form or another. I was so excited about Music Monday as there are so many wonderful songs about giving praise and having a heart of thanksgiving. I was all set to share one or two, but my heart is elsewhere and because I’m not a talented enough to ignore that, I hope you will be encouraged by
♪♫ Praise God from whom all blessings flow
Praise Him all creatures here below
Praise Him above, ye heavenly hosts
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen. ♪♫
It’s fairly Thanksgiving-y. Praising the One from whom all blessings flow.
Do you know where it originated? Well, stay with me even if you do, it’s a good story.
Thomas Ken, an Anglican Bishop for the Diocese of Wells in the Church of England wrote this hymn in the 1600’s. Actually, he wrote several hymns and this happens to be the last stanza in two of them.
Those hymns, “Awake, My Soul, and with the Sun” as well as “Glory to Thee, My God, This Night” were written while he was taking the role of Parish Priest for one of his alma maters, Winchester College. Now, back in the 1600’s, the church considered it sacrilegious to sing any hymn that was not pure scripture. To write a hymn not derived from scripture verbatim would have been sinful/blasphemous as if you were trying to add another book to the Bible. Given the role Thomas Ken was in as well as how highly educated he was, we can be certain most of the people he circled with socially were of this group.
But he did it anyway.
He felt the boys studying under him deserved an added boost to their personal spiritual life. He wrote a number of hymns and instructed the boys to sing them behind closed doors during their personal morning/evening prayers. It would be their little secret.
Here are some of the stanzas that preceded the final doxology we all know:
♪♫ Glory to thee, my God, this night,
For all the blessings of the light;
Keep me, O keep me, King of Kings,
Under the shadow of Thy wings.
Teach me to live that I may dread
The grave as little as my bed;
Teach me to die, that so I may
Triumphing rise at the last day.
May He celestial joys rehearse,
And thought in thought with me converse,
Or, in my stead, all the night long,
Sing to my God a grateful song.
Lord, let my soul forever share
The bliss of They paternal care;
‘Tis heav’n on earth, ’tis heav’n above,
To see Thy face, to sing Thy love. ♪♫
I don’t know about you, but I don’t see anything sinful about those words. In fact, I’ll be soaking them in and praising Him with them all week-long.
Those boys were blessed to have Bishop Ken. And so were we.
From what I know of Thomas Ken, I think it’s fair to say he understood two things well:
1. Having a strong, personal relationship with the Lord is of utmost importance. It’s even worth feeling uncomfortable for because no one can take it away from you.
2. The Lord deserves our praise. Even if we’re frowned upon by our peers. Even if others won’t understand, He is worthy.
Now, I do not recall how this man died, but I do know he planned his funeral. This man of the cloth specifically requested “The Doxology” we all know and love, the one he authored, be sung at his burial. Even though a number of people attending would have found it blasphemous. Even though it was frowned upon by the ones he worked under. He insisted it be his final act. His final message. His final praise.
I trust this week, like Thomas Ken, you hold nothing back. I pray you praise Him behind closed doors as well as in front of your friends and family. For He is worthy.
He is from whom all blessings flow.
How about you? How will you praise Him this week? I’d love to hear.
Thanks for sharing your time with me.
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