*We Gather Together” is one of my favorite Thanksgiving hymns. The Dutch author Adrianus Valerius wrote it after a significant military victory which brought security to his nation. I first heard the lyrics in my small childhood church. Whenever I sing it, my mind fills with memories of other churches and Thanksgiving services, from the small rural churches to the ecumenical services with mass choirs.
The words, “The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing” speak hope to me today. It is a claim that all evil and wickedness will one day be set aside. A reminder that God is still at our side, working in and through the circumstances of our lives and that of our nations. Even in the midst of a pandemic, we can see God’s hand at work for good.
Isaiah points to that day when justice and peace will reign. A day when refugees no longer are refused safety, and no bombs explode or children are buried in rubble. A day when every child of God is recognized as a person of worth and value.
“For out of Zion shall go forth instruction,
and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
He shall judge between the nations,
and shall arbitrate for many peoples;
they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war any more.
O house of Jacob,
come, let us walk
in the light of the Lord!” Isaiah 2:3b-5
May we walk in the “Light of the Lord” all our lives through.
*We Gather Together Hymn
We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing;
He chastens and hastens His will to make known.
The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing.
Sing praises to His Name; He forgets not His own.
Beside us to guide us, our God with us joining,
Ordaining, maintaining His kingdom divine;
So from the beginning the fight we were winning;
Thou, Lord, were at our side, all glory be Thine!
We all do extol Thee, Thou Leader triumphant,
And pray that Thou still our Defender will be.
Let Thy congregation escape tribulation;
Thy Name be ever praised! O Lord, make us free!
A version of this post was first published on the Intersection of Faith and Politics titled “We Gather Together”