I thought of you mamas when Ray led us in “Dear Lord and Father of Mankind” on YouTube yesterday. The words of the hymn are appropriate, comforting, and instructive for our times.
When I did a bit of research online afterwards, I learned that John Greenleaf Whittier is the author. To my embarrassment, I confess that all I remembered about Whittier was that he was a famous author. Before putting the lyrics in this post, I wanted to be sure that the author himself was someone I wanted to quote. I love the words of the poem. I wanted to make sure that his life was also admirable.
This is what I found out. Whittier was a prolific and successful American poet who lived in the 1800s. For decades, he devoted himself to the abolition of slavery.
I also came across an article telling about someone vandalizing his statue in Whittier, California.
How could this have happened to a statue honoring a man who devoted so much of his life to helping others recognize the value of each person God created in His image? Did those who vandalized it simply assume he was someone to dishonor? I understand that not everyone carries around the name of John Greenleaf Whittier. After all, I carried around the name, but didn’t have many facts to go with it.
Still, it is sad that this happened to a statue honoring this man. Let’s read the beautiful words that he wrote in 1872 and take comfort in our dear Lord and Father of mankind. Let’s think about how these words can help us in these times. Let’s also let these words inspire us to prepare our children to be who they need to be and who this world needs them to be.
Dear Lord and Father of Mankind
John Greenleaf Whittier
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.
In simple trust like theirs who heard
Beside the Syrian sea
The gracious calling of the Lord,
Let us, like them, without a word
Rise up and follow thee.
O Sabbath rest by Galilee,
O calm of hills above,
Where Jesus knelt to share with thee
The silence of eternity,
Interpreted by love!
Drop thy still dews of quietness,
Till all our strivings cease;
Take from our souls the strain and stress,
And let our ordered lives confess
The beauty of thy peace.
I know that you are already praying for our land. These words of comfort from 1 Timothy encourage you to keep on doing that in faith. God knows what is happening in our world. He is our all-powerful Lord and loving Father. We can count on Him. Tranquility. Quiet. Godliness. Dignity. That is what God wants for you, me, and everyone in the world. And even more than that, He wants us to be saved.
First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers,
petitions and thanksgivings,
be made on behalf of all men,
for kings and all who are in authority,
so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life
in all godliness and dignity.
This is good and acceptable
in the sight of God our Savior,
who desires all men to be saved
and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
1 Timothy 2:1-4