Jan 17, 2010

God is not dead, nor doth He sleep

Just like you, my heart and prayers have been geared toward Haiti.

Last month we were blessed to spend six days with my dear brother and his family in Lexington, Kentucky.
(This all ties together with the earthquake in Haiti.)

While there, Audra was working on a paper for her Composition II class and we had several discussions on Emily Dickinson's poem "Because I Could Not Stop for Death", which was the topic for Audra's paper.

Visiting the Lexington National Cemetery combined with the discussions of the Emily Dickinson poem, turned out to be a lovely part of our visit.

While my sister-in-love and I were sitting in the vehicle watching our children view the graves, I played the Casting Crowns song "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" for her. The phrase that just reverberated in my mind was, "God is not dead, nor doth He sleep." The phrase taken from Psalm 121:4 continues to encourage me as I hear of tragedies, like the earthquake in Haiti.

The Casting Crowns song is based on a poem Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote in 1864. I did a little bit of research on the computer this weekend, and found out that only five verses of the poem are normally set to music and are in most of our hymnals:

And wild and sweet the words repeat

Of peace on earth, good will to men.


And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!


Till ringing, singing on its way
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head
“There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men.”

Stanza's four and five are usually omitted from our modern hymnals.

But they are the stanzas that made me think of Haiti:

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound the carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good will to men

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn, the households born
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

As I think of Haiti today, I echo Longfellow
"It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth stones of a continent"
But resoundingly I say,
"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep!"

Photos by Audra and Victoria

10 comments

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

One of my favorite carols; one of my favorite places in Lexington, KY. I grew up just miles from there. The place I will always consider "home."

Thank you for putting this hymn to pictures and to remembrance. Indeed, He doth not sleep! Praise God.

Blessings and peace to you this week, Lora. Thanks for stopping by.

~elaine

B His Girl said...

Beautiful post Lora and reminder of our great God. He is fully awake to the condition of His world.

vegaia said...

World Peace???

Aren’t humans amazing? They kill wildlife - birds, deer, all kinds of cats, coyotes, beavers, groundhogs, mice and foxes by the million in order to protect their domestic animals and their feed.

Then they kill domestic animals by the billion and eat them. This in turn kills people by the million, because eating all those animals leads to degenerative - and fatal - - health conditions like heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and cancer.

So then humans spend billions of dollars torturing and killing millions of more animals to look for cures for these diseases.

Elsewhere, millions of other human beings are being killed by hunger and malnutrition because food they could eat is being used to fatten domestic animals.

Meanwhile, few people recognize the absurdity of humans, who kill so easily and violently, and then call for "Peace on Earth."


~Revised Preface to Old MacDonald’s Factory Farm by C. David Coates~

Check out this informative and inspiring video on why people choose vegan: http://veganvideo.org/

Also see Gary Yourofsky: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bagt5L9wXGo

Georgia Jan said...

Lora - and in the year of 1864 our country was raging in a "Civil" war... hence, the references in stanzas four and five.

That cemetery looks like it has some really old gravestones. I love to walk through a cemetery and read the engravings.

What a very thoughtful post, I really enjoyed it, and that is one of my favorite Christmas carols too. We sing it at my church too!

Can't wait to see you in a few more days!

Blessings to you today,
Jan

Leah @ Point Ministries said...

Lora,

I am so thankful that God is not dead not does He sleep. He is ever watchful and He is watching over all of those precious Haitain people. Beautiful post and beautiful pictures.

Leah

© Jennifer Raley said...

Wow That's awesome. There's so much of faith behind us, in our country. I pray it grows forward. Oh how it's needed. But how fitting for Haiti. It's on all our minds.

THanks for your comment on my 1/15/10 post. I 'answered' you there about my blog title, it's something my mom says - mixing things up a bit - but I also wrote about it for my first post - under the label "Beginnings" or go here, if you want to read more:
http://peacornpopnutssodagumchewingwater.blogspot.com/2009/08/title-title.html

Thank you! Jenn

lisasmith said...

What beautiful writing and photos. I have been pondering some of my high school essays lately and well, just pondering. Thanks for helping my mind wander there once again =)

Betsy said...

Hi Lora! Thanks so much for joining my follower's list! Do you know who I am? We're practically related! :)

LisaShaw said...

Thank you for sharing your heart through this message. The LORD sees, hears, cares and is near to the precious people of Haiti and to all of us. I'm so thankful that He said he'll never leave us or forsake us.

I stand with you in prayer for Haiti dear sister. I love you.

Kelly S. said...

Lora, what beautiful writing and a touching post! HE IS mighty to save! :)