Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving 2007

I really like the hymnody of Thanksgiving. Songs like "We Gather Together" and "Now Thank We All Our God" are wonderful, powerful in worship and effective in devotions.

But my favorite hymn associated with Thanksgiving is without a doubt "Come, Ye Thankful People, Come", which is #694 in The United Methodist Hymnal. The text was written in 1844 by Henry Alford, an Anglican Greek scholar. The text makes reference to Jesus' parables of the sower and the wheat & weeds in Matthew 13, and also brings to mind Matthew 9:37-38, which records Jesus' words as, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest." (RSV)

The text is set to a hauntingly majestic 1858 tune by George Elvey, who served as the organist of St. George's Chapel in Windsor for many years. It is a perfect marriage of text and tune.

I truly hope that all of my sisters and brothers and friends have a blessed holiday; Brett Favre and his Green Bay Packers play at 12:30 PM!

"Come, ye thankful people, come, raise the song of harvest home;
all is safely gathered in, ere the winter storms begin.
God our Maker doth provide for our wants to be supplied;
come to God's own temple, come, raise the song of harvest home.

the world is God's own field, fruit as praise to God we yield;
wheat and tares together sown

are to joy or sorrow grown;
first the blade and then the ear,

then the full corn shall appear;
Lord of harvest, grant that we

wholesome grain and pure may be.

"For the Lord our God shall come,

and shall take the harvest home;
from the field shall in that day

all offenses purge away,
giving angels charge at last in the fire the tares to cast;
but the fruitful ears to store in the garner evermore.

"Even so, Lord, quickly come, bring thy final harvest home;
gather thou thy people in, free from sorrow, free from sin,
there, forever purified, in thy presence to abide;
come, with all thine angels, come,
raise the glorious harvest home!"

- Henry Alford, 1844


Greg Cox said...

I love the hymn and used it this week, but boy it works better when thanksgiving and Christ the King Sunday are on the same day. What wonderful imagery of final harvest!

Brett Probert said...

Good schtuff. Happy Thanksgiving bro.

Jeff Kahl said...

Have a great Thanksgiving!
We all have much for which to be thankful!