O LORD, my heart is not lifted up, my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great or too marvelous for me. But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; my soul is like the weaned child that is with me. O Israel, hope in the LORD from this time on and forevermore. (Psalm 131)

This is the portion of scripture that holds me most in these challenging days. There is a delicious letting go, a giving up for just a while, and resting in God — the image being of a child asleep in its mother’s arms, fully trusting that they are held and won’t fall. There is a giving to God all the stresses and strains of the issues that are too big and the questions that have no easy answer. Because God is God, and is holding onto us, we have hope. That’s perspective that works, in which we can rest. these days I have unintentionally memorized it, and say it before I drift off to sleep, pray it so that I can drift off to sleep.

There’s a hymn in The Covenant Hymnal that I’ll just bet you’ve never sung, and likely never even heard sung before. It’s one of the most special for me, because it evidences my grandfather Eric’s journey one holy night in a stressful season of Church life. He was pastor of the Austin Covenant Church in Chicago for ten years, from 1924 to 1934. One night he returned home from a contentious board meeting, and stepped into the bedroom of his two little boys to find them sleeping soundly while the moonlight lit up the room. Eric was so moved by this tranquil scene that he sat and wrote a prayer before retiring to bed. His musician friend, Frank Earnest asked if he could put set the prayer to music. In our hymnal it is 659. Understanding the story, both of the meeting and of the boys in the bedroom, here is the text:

Father, give a tranquil spirit as the day comes to its ending Let the peace of higher places still the woes of striving humankind Let the vastness of the heavens give our thoughts a nobler setting Let the fever of possession pass in nobler aspiration Like the passing whims of children end at night in sweet contentment.

Father, give a tranquil spirit as a seal of thy devotion Grant a fullness of the Spirit in the inward empty places Grant that wings of soul may guide us to a purer contemplation So that we in every burden may discern a heavenly purpose Adding worth to human story, ending with thy benediction.

Perspective. The chance to rest in the wonder of God’s Love and offer the burdens we carry. As these days come and go, join me in resting in the Holy, bigger picture! All is well, even in the midst of all that isn’t. God, our God, is with us.

Peter Hawkinson

2 thoughts on “Perspective

  1. Dear Peter,
    Thanks for a lovely trip down memory lane. Your grandpa’s hymn is not new to me, nor to many others, I’d guess Don’t sell it short. It’s in the “red” hymnal (c 1973) which I worked on with your dad. Don’t ask me why I happened to click on to your church’s web site just now. Things don’t just happen. Let’s make sure this wonderful message goes on and on, and becomes meaningful and loved for many.
    A voice from the past. Mary Helfrich


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