Eternal Father

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Something for the weekend.  Eternal Father seems very appropriate for a Memorial Day weekend, as we remember those who paid the ultimate price for the freedom we cherish.  Written in 1860 as a poem by William Whiting in England, the music to accompany the lyrics was composed by John B. Dykes in 1861.  The moving hymn has always been a favorite of those who serve in the military:

Eternal Father, strong to save,

Whose arm hath bound the restless wave, 

Who bidd’st the mighty ocean deep  

Its own appointed limits keep;  

Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee, 

For those in peril on the sea!

O Christ! Whose voice the waters heard

And hushed their raging at Thy word,  

Who walkedst on the foaming deep,

And calm amidst its rage didst sleep;

Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,  

For those in peril on the sea!

Most Holy Spirit! Who didst brood

Upon the chaos dark and rude,

And bid its angry tumult cease,

And give, for wild confusion, peace;  

Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,  

For those in peril on the sea!

O Trinity of love and power!

Our brethren shield in danger’s hour;

From rock and tempest, fire and foe, 

Protect them wheresoe’er they go;

  Thus evermore shall rise to Thee

Glad hymns of praise from land and sea.

There are many US military variant lyrics.  Go here to look at a few of them.  The hymn reminds us that in our world of woe and peril we are the children of a loving God who is Lord of this world and the next.  Something to recall on Memorial Day and every day.

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  1. Bah, all I did was sit in a tin can, or in Death Valley.

    I’m still pleased with how many people are wearing the Vietnam Vet hats these days– the personalized ones with ribbon bars and units.

  2. The “Arizona” monument at Pearl Harbour is an awe inspiring place. I visited there with my wife and a couple of friends back in 2002. My wife, who is not a religious person, told me after our visit there that she felt “a presence” – something she had never experienced before. I had to agree with her. The reverent near silence, the hushed conversations, the whole atmosphere, and the knowledge of the entombed men in the ship below where the turrets are plainly visible – there is such a sense of awe there – something that is indescribeable, and something that I had not previously, nor since, experienced.
    May those men rest in peace – there is a God.
    God bless America.

  3. And God bless New Zealand Don! I have never had the opportunity to visit the Arizona memorial but people I have known who have had a similar reaction to that experienced by your wife.

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