Search not God’s skies for special, personal signs
To know his will, as ancient man appealed
For knowledge in entrails and crooked lines.
The center: what God desires has been revealed —
He finds that way who goes to Scripture to read.
In the Bible’s words his perfect will is sealed;
There every soul shall find the pleasing deed.
Work ahead and do tomorrow’s
task today, not yesterday’s.
Avoid the lazy and late man’s sorrows—
While others pay, the planner plays.
I’ve put this stanza by Whittier in an image, to preserve the spacing. It comes from his poem “The Reformer” and spoke powerfully to me this morning.
The Son of Man was heaped with shame,
Stripped of dignity, the strain of sin
Upon his shoulders, pain of many:
The suffering Servant paid the ransom,
Freed all those in fear of death.
We share the Savior’s shame, his work
Scorned by worldly sinners, rejected
By rebellious scoffers, hated
By those determined to change his will—
Our hands hold the holy key.
For crime or sin, let no Christian suffer;
Let life be pure, our light undimmed
By doubt or fear or disobedience—
Let Christ be all and the Cross our glory,
Let heaven feed our daily hope.
The plan fulfilled, the promise kept,
The Christ has come, for man to accept;
Before time was, and space and matter,
The goal was set, by blood and water,
To save mankind in spiritual birth,
Good news to spread in all the earth;
No word of God’s has ever failed:
When to the cross the Lord was nailed,
He struck and crushed the serpent’s head,
In triumph raised from among the dead.
One glorious promise yet remains:
Christ comes to take us to heaven’s domains.
In the quiet corner, alone,
Far from voices, in the still,
I seek you, Lord, to understand,
To know your ways, to do your will.
From emptiness to fullest blessing,
From tears of grief to joy’s increase,
From hard estrangement to love expressing:
In you I find unceasing peace.
There’s nothing in the world for me:
No tenderness, no pleasure free
Of pain and death, no love that’s pure,
No higher reason, no good secure.
In Christ are all the gifts of God,
No giving of his is fleeting or flawed;
In him my every need is filled,
And life itself where the Lord was killed.
Of all the powers now manifest,
Each one proclaims itself the best,
To prosper man and bring him peace,
To make his knowledge and wealth increase. Continue reading
Our God is great and good, eternally!
Receiving praise through battle and victory hymn,
The Lord sits reigning on his glorious throne
Among four creatures, angels, and cherubim,
In splendor and might; above the heaven’s dome,
He guides the affairs of man, and blesses him
Who wavers not against the enemy.
Your favor now to us, O Savior, send!
Let blessings fall, let Jesus with us stay!
Produce in us, O Lord, the Spirit’s fruit!
And let us work to let you have your way.
If in the word of God we have no root,
And if no prayers ascend throughout the day,
How barren will our souls be at the end!