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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Wednesday, March 11, 2020  

Today’s Hymn

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.

“Dear Lord and Father of Mankind” (v. 4) by John Greenleaf Whittier
Hymn 169, Glory to God: The Presbyterian Hymnal

This is one of my favorite hymns. Like so many hymns, it has a rich origin story. The words of the hymn are taken from “The Brewing of Soma,” a longer poem by John Greenleaf Whittier. Whittier was a Quaker, and his poem describes the presence of the Divine in the still small voice rather than the earthquake, wind, or fire.

There is something extremely compelling in the plea to “Drop thy still dews of quietness.” For me it conjures peaceful strength, active serenity, and potent potential. I recognize the strain and stress of my life, and I am aware that those strains and stresses may be unique to me. However, I am also aware that every child of God faces similar adversity in their lives.

I am drawn to claim the beauty of God’s peace. At the same time I am drawn to—paraphrasing St. Francis of Assisi—spread the good news of God’s peace and if all else fails, use words. To that end I must claim and internalize God’s peace for myself first. I can be an effective ambassador only to the extent that I am able to reflect the impact of God’s peace in my life.

This verse also prompts me to look at what I “give” to God. Where I usually think about time, tithe, and talent, I now see that there is something perhaps even more important that God wants from me: my strains and stresses in return for God’s peace. I cannot comprehend why I do not constantly make that trade. The extent to which I am open to the still dews of quietness determines the extent to which I am in the beauty of God’s peace.

Dear Lord, thank you for your peace. Please keep reminding me to claim it. Amen.

Written by Blake Anderson, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

Reflection and Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

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