We sang this hymn in church this morning and parts of it really spoke to me. The words were written by Ralph Harlow, 1885- 1972 and the music was composed by John B. Dykes, 1823-1876. I have highlighted some of the passages that seemed especially poignent and timely to me.
O young and fearless Prophet
of ancient Galilee,
thy life is still a summons
to serve humanity;
to make our thoughts and actions
less prone to please the crowd,
to stand with humble courage
for truth with hearts uncowed.
We marvel at the purpose
that held thee to thy course
while ever on the hilltop
before thee loomed the cross;
thy steadfast face set forward
where love and duty shone,
while we betray so quickly
and leave thee there alone.
O help us stand unswerving
against war’s bloody way,
where hate and lust and falsehood
hold back Christ’s holy sway;
forbid false love of country
that blinds us to his call,
who lifts above the nations
the unity of all.
Stir up in us a protest
against our greed for wealth,
while others starve and hunger
and plead for work and health;
where homes with little children
cry out for lack of bread,
who live their years sore burdened
beneath a gloomy dread.
O young and fearless Prophet,
we need thy presence here,
amid our pride and glory
to see thy face appear;
once more to hear thy challenge
above our noisy day,
again to lead us forward
along God’s holy way.
Again, that highlighting is my own. Also be aware that there are a few different versions of the words to this hymn. What I have reprinted here are ones I found on the web, and not those exact ones we sang. I need to get a copy of Singing The Living Tradition, the Unitarian Universalist hymnal, I just havent’ yet.
I will tell you, I am impressed. There has been a lot of signing this last week. Now some will say that a lot of what President Barack Obama has done this first week is all show, but I entirely disagree. And some will not like some of the things he has signed, such as the closing of Guantanamo, but again I disagree. I cannot remember a president who has taken such strides within his first week of taking office.
This nation, and in fact the world, needs to see clear and decisive signs that there is change. The change that was promised in the election and the change that will refuel our economy, our spirit, and our reputation. Every thing that President Obama has done so far goes directly to those goals. From unequivocally outlawing torture to pushing through the economic stimulus plans, these are things that should not involve waffling or debate. We know how we, the US people, feel about these things and they should be acted on promptly.
I will also tell you this – I feel a change in people’s attitudes. Maybe it is just me or maybe I am just looking for it, but people seem to be encouraged even in this time of economic turmoil. There is a politeness and respect in the air that I haven’t seen since the days after 9/11. Someone suggested that this is also helped along by the good news from the Hudson River where all passengers walked away from that US Air flight. (A flight I have taken more than once, I might add.) But, whatever the reason, there is a welcome change in the air.
It is only the end of the first week though. There is still a long way to go. There are a lot of problems and a lot of hard decisions. Let’s hope we can all stick together, work hard, and put everyone back on the right track. The free bumper stickers, buttons and posters were great, but they will not get the work done. It is up to us, at the grass roots level to make sure that promises are kept and old school, good-old-boy politics does not creep in.
As I sit here in the doctor’s office (no worry, regular checkup) I wonder why our healthcare system here in the US shouldn’t be more like our highway system.
We have roads and highways provided and regulated by the government, but we are free to buy or not buy the car of our choice. For those who don’t or can’t buy a car, there us public transportation available that may not be as fast or fancy, but it works. Additionally certain regulations are put on the methods if transport so that we are safe.
As we are seeing with the failing auto makers, those providers who don’t give the people what they want will still fail, so it isn’t a totally socialist system. (And no, I don’t believe the automakers should be bailed out.) So with this there is a free market in transportation, but one where a floor and a standard are provided.
I can take the analogy further, but I will leave it at that and ask for your thoughts. How do you think healthcare in the US should go and why?
OK folks, today is the big day. No matter what happens in the election today, history will be made. We will either have the first African American in office or we will have the first woman. Amazing progress this country has made. And what I am hoping is for one more bit of progress. Whichever way the vote goes, I am hoping that we can all come together and work to repair what is broken with our system.
Neither candidate and neither party can fix everything alone. The effort and ideas of all Americans of all races, wealth categories, and belief structures will be required to fix the problems we have.
We are staring down divisiveness, a battered economy, a struggling war, a screwed up health care system, an energy crisis and much more. Without the unselfish effort of everyone involved, nothing will get fixed and we will be in the same position four years from now. And I hope and pray that that is nothing any of us want to see.
I was watching an interview with a pastor from somewhere out west the other day, and he was seeking to remind everyone that while politics is important, it does not make or break us and it does not define us. No matter who wins the election, you are still your own person and can and should pursue the things that you deem are important in your life. Just as we tell our children that they should not allow peer pressure to force their decisions, we should not allow the way a vote goes to change us personally. It can inform you, enlighten you and help you, but it should not discourage you, dissuade you, or cause you to quit working for what you believe in.
Yes, the election is tomorrow and that is bringing some real change. I am not talking about which candidate gets elected or if this referendum or that one passes. No, I am talking about search engine traffic. As we have gotten down into the last few days before the election, I noticed that the search terms used to find my site have been subtly altering. A week or two ago the leading phrase that brought people to my site was “free Obama sticker.” This was closely followed in popularity by “free Obama button.” The interesting thing is that I have only written one post on each of those two topics. By the search engine traffic though you would think that free election paraphernalia was all my site is about.
But now the tides are turning. The elections are upon us so there really isn’t time for people to get buttons or stickers. If you haven’t adorned your car yet you are just too late. With that the traffic is starting to return to the real topics of the blog. You know, things like me, cars, religion and anger. Not so sure about that last one, but it is right there in the statistical log.
So the question remains, when everyone is done searching for election freebies and finished fighting over the candidates, what will become of all that time they were spending on the web? Will you go back to spending time with your family and pets? Will you pick up a hobby like knitting or gardening? Or will you move on to the next web craze and start generating searches and traffic for that? Maybe my next big search topic will be “how to get tickets to the inauguration” or “free presidential inauguration passes”. What do you think?