By Rosie Moore
When I was ten years old, I was walking down a street in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, when a sweet young lady asked if I would like to go to Sunday School at her church. I said “sure” and that started my love affair with the Mennonite church that continued the next eight years. The beliefs of this church were quite simple and literally expressed in the way they lived and dressed. The women very simply conformed to God’s word that said their heads should be covered, thus the wearing of a white bonnet was part of their everyday ritual. The men also abided by certain rules that seemed very un-orthodox to most people but were very closely followed. All in all, they were a very committed group of loving, kind, friendly people whose main purpose in life was to help others and live according to God’s word.
Their church services were also plain and simple–no organ or piano music, but, oh, how they loved to sing! Their beautiful voices belted out hymns, a cappella, and also in different tones of sopranos, altos, tenors, and basses. Many, many songs have remained in my memory and I’m going to include one here that was one of my favorites. It was called, “The Love of God” and was written by Frederick Lehman.
“The love of God is greater far,
Than tongue or pen can ever tell,
It goes beyond the highest star
And reaches to the lowest hell.
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
God gave his Son to win.
His erring child He reconciled,
And pardoned from his sin.
Refrain: Oh, love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure,
The saints’ and angels’ song.”
I skipped the second verse, but here is the third verse.
“Could we with ink the oceans fill
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill
and every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.”
Frederick Lehman tells us that verse 3 “had been found penciled on the wall of a patient’s room in an insane asylum after he had been carried to his grave” While it is only supposition that he was the one who adapted the Jewish author’s poem to leave us these well known lines, if the account is true, it shows in any case that he highly esteemed the message.
When life brings its harrowing times, remember this beautiful hymn. It will leave a moment of peacefulness and contentment that the world cannot compare.
Thought for the day: Do all the good you can, in all ways you can,, as long as ever you can. John Wesley.
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