That time I remembered my patrilineal ancestors were Lutherans…
Now thank we all our God with hearts and hands and voices,
who wondrous things hath done, in whom this world rejoices;
who from our parents’ arms has blessed us on our way
with countless gifts of love, and still is ours today.
O may this bounteous God through all our life be near us,
with ever joyful hearts and blessed peace to cheer us;
the one eternal God, whom earth and heaven adore,
for thus it was, is now, and shall be evermore.
While my parents were Unitarians, Mom grew up in the Anglican church, and Dad grew up a Lutheran. And Mom’s first husband was the son of a Lutheran minister, I dated a Lutheran minister for a while, and two of my closest friends from seminary are Lutheran… so there’s something Lutheran/attracted to Lutheran in my DNA.
I don’t think about that a lot, but singing today’s hymn brought it to mind. This very German song, with these very Lutheran lyrics.
It’s probably surprising to many modern Unitarian Universalists that there are congregations among us who sing this, but I bet there are some – those who are comfortable with God language, those who embrace a transcendent, omnipresent Divine. And some days, in my own personal theology, I’m totally down with that. In my Universalist view of process theology, it makes sense some days to thank a Creator God who is involved in and should be thanked for this amazing creation.
And for those who might argue against this one, I would remind you that this is pretty much the same theology found in For the Beauty of the Earth – just with the G word and a little more explicit greater-than language.
I like it. My Lutheran DNA likes it.
This hymn brings me joy.
First Church in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, sang this from time to time when I was a member in the early 90s. It was one of the more Christian UU churches around Boston (not like Kings Chapel, though). The minister, Terry Burke, also used Oh, God, our help in ages past pretty often –especially just before the Red Sox first game (“as a dream dies at the opening day,” which fit in pretty well with the history of the Sox back then).
[…] tune, as so many post-Reformation hymn tunes are. And while I love good German hymn tunes (see: my Lutheran DNA), sometimes the German-ness of a tune obscures a lyric’s […]