Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Lord of All, To Thee We Raise...

... This Our Hymn of Grateful Praise.

For the beauty of the earth,
for the glory of the skies,
for the love which from our birth
over and around us lies;
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.

For the beauty of each hour
of the day and of the night,
hill and vale, and tree and flower,
sun and moon, and starts of light;
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.

For the joy of ear and eye,
for the heart and mind's delight,
for the mystic harmony,
linking sense to sound and sight;
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.

For the joy of human love,
brother, sister, parent, child,
friends on earth and friends above,
for all gentle thoughts and mild;
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.

For each perfect gift of thine
to our race so freely given,
Graces human and divine,
flowers of earth and buds of heaven.
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.

For thyself, best Gift Divine,
to the world so freely given
for that great, great love of thine,
peace on earth, and joy in heaven:
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.

In 1864, Folliott S. Pierpoint (age 29) wrote this beautiful hymn that has become one of the most beloved anthems of gratitude in the Christian world. Folliott was mesmerized by the beauty of the countryside that surrounded him. I can understand that. He was born in Bath, England and spent much of his life in Somerset and in Cambridge. The beauty of the English countryside can indeed be mesmerizing. I am sure that I will now forever see visions of England's beauty when I sing this hymn.

I love the simple, God-given blessings described by Pierpoint. His hymn doesn't refer to the houses we live in, the jobs we do, or the things we own, but it reminds us of the blessings available to all of God's children:  the earth and everything in it, the people around us, and most especially, the gift of our Savior, Jesus Christ. We all have so much to be grateful for in, even in the hard times.

When Don and I speak in Sacrament meetings around Southern England, he often addresses the subject of gratitude. He relates that there are thousands of reasons for us not to be happy, or not to be grateful, but it is very simplistic to blame our unhappiness on the things that we lack. It's easy to focus on the things that we lack when we compare ourselves to others or when we believe all the advertisements we are bombarded with.

Elder Steve Snow said, "Pursuit of career goals, wealth, and material rewards can cloud our perspective and often leads to a lack of appreciation for the bounteous blessings of our present circumstances. It is precarious to dwell on why we have not been given more. It is, however, beneficial and humbling to dwell on why we have been given so much."

Our sister missionaries decorated the tables this year.

This year, we have celebrated an entire week of Thanksgiving. Can anyone have too much gratitude (or turkey and pumpkin pie)??  On Sunday night, we were invited to join all the temple workers who are living on the temple grounds for a sumptuous Thanksgiving dinner. The Littlefields, Murdocks, and Strongs organized the feast and prepared the turkey and stuffing. Everyone else who attended signed up to bring a potluck dish.There was soooo much food!

Monday afternoon the missionaries from the ELSM Mission Office joined all of us from the London Temple Visitors' Centre for another delicious feast. Elder and Sister Horsley, our only senior couple serving in the Visitors' Centre at the moment, asked if they could prepare the whole meal themselves. Are you kidding me???  They didn't even want any last minute help in the kitchen -- and they made it all look effortless. I could take a lesson from them....  They've obviously done this before. Elder Horsley (Rick) was a cook for the National Guard in Utah.  Amy (our own Amy who is visiting us right now) volunteered to make all the pies. What a treat!

L to R:  Sisters Walmsley, Ylisaari, Namutamba, Phermsin, Maddocks,
McLaws, and Amy (Carpenter) Slade. We enjoyed pumpkin, pecan,
chocolate pecan, mincemeat, and apple pies - a first for some of our sisters.

Turkey and all the trimmings.

L to R:  Sisters Maddocks, Phermsin, Namutamba,
McLaws, Walmsley, Cates, Qumsiyeh, and Ylisaari.

Don, Amy, Sister Ottley (Elder Ottley behind), Elders Sparks and Wehrman,
President & Sister MIllar, and Sister Adams in the background.

Sister Horsley - still smiling, and enjoying
the fruits of her labors.

Friday night, I will get my turn to cook a turkey. Elder Tom and Sister Joan Anderson arrive Friday to begin their mission as the second senior couple in the Visitors' Centre. Since they fly out of Salt Lake City on the morning of Thanksgiving, we thought it would be fitting for us to show our gratitude to them by serving them the Thanksgiving dinner that they will miss at home. (And we won't mind having some leftover turkey.) So that makes three Thanksgiving dinners this week. Now that's something to be grateful for!

Parting thought for the week:  


Let's all give thanks.  

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