Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Dear Lord And Father Of Mankind
Words: John G. Whittier, in the Atlantic Monthly, April 1872.
The words are from a long narrative poem, “The Brewing of Soma.” It describes Vedic priests going into the forest and drinking themselves into a stupor with a concoction called “soma.” They try to have a religious experience and contact the spirit world. It is after setting that scene that Whittier draws his lesson: “Dear Lord, and Father of mankind, forgive our foolish ways…” This hymn is as relevant today as when it was written. In a modern context, it speaks to the drug culture, and those looking for an “experience” to prove the reality of God. The hymn was sung in the 2007 movie Atonement, which won an Academy Award for best score.
Music: Rest (Maker), Frederick C. Maker, 1887
This time is a very difficult time for me, but wonderful thoughts keep coming to my mind and this song is one such blessing. In the years 1966-68 I was an Army Officer stationed in El Paso, TX and for most of those years I served as the choir director of the Protestant Chapel at WM Beaumont Gen Hospital where I was assigned. It was there that I first heard this hymn and it's been a great favorite for the past 40+ years. My former wife and mother of my three children played the piano and sang well and she and my daughter Beth and myself have sung this at church at least one occassion I recall.
"Dear Lord and Father of mankind,
Forgive our foolish ways;
Reclothe us in our rightful mind,
In purer lives Thy service find,
In deeper reverence, praise."