Unification News for February 2000

Praise To The Lord—O God Of Vision

by Richard Ramras—New York, NY

Recently, a friend of mine mentioned his experience with a song during Sunday service in his Brooklyn hometown. The title and words didn’t ring a bell with me, but we realized the tune was from Praise To The Lord The Almighty. Here are the new lyrics:

O God Of Vision by Jane Parker Huber:

1) O God of vision far greater than all human scheming,
Gather us now in your presence, refreshing, redeeming.
Show us anew—Life in your breath-taking view,
Lovely beyond all our dreaming.

2) Pour out Your Spirit on all now assembled before You.
May our diversity here be a means to adore You.
Women and men—Young, old and youthful again,
Make us as one, we implore You.

3) Grant to us insight, O God, for this time of decision.
May we dream challenging dreams of both depth and precision.
Speak through the dark—Dispel by lightning’s bright spark
Whatever clouds dim our vision.

4) Break the sun’s rays into color, a rainbow around us.
Storm clouds, though real and near, are not enough to confound us.
Arched in the sky—Beauty and promise are high,
Giving us hope to astound us.

I’m afraid I don’t know much about Ms. Huber, the author of these new words, but they seem very much in keeping with trends of the closing years of the millennium—words like: rainbow, diversity, dreams, women and men. The traditional words are redolent less of the New Age wonders, struggles and triumphs of the latest decade than of the majestic, classical phrasing and intonation of previous centuries:

1) Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation!
O my soul praise Him, for He is thy health and salvation!
All ye who hear—Now to His temple draw near;
Join me in glad adoration!

2) Praise to the Lord, who o’er all things so wondrously reigneth, Shelters thee under His wings, yea, so gently sustaineth!
Hast thou not seen—How thy desires e’er have been
Granted in what He ordaineth?

3) Praise to the Lord who doth prosper thy work and defend thee; Surely His goodness and mercy here daily attend thee.
Ponder anew—What the Almighty can do
If with His love He befriend thee.

4) Praise to the Lord! O let all that is in me adore Him!
All that hath life and breath, come now with praises before Him!
Let the Amen—Sound from His people again:
Gladly for aye we adore Him.

When I think back to the days I joined the Church, I remember not only such comforting and inspiring hymns as Praise to the Lord the Almighty, Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing (Teach My Heart To Sing Thy Praise) and Be Thou My Vision O Lord Of My Heart (Naught Be All Else To Me Save That Thou Art) but "workshop songs," Dan Fefferman’s, Sandra Lowen’s, Joshua Cotter’s and California Family songs, as well as Holy Songs and Korean and Japanese songs. Such a wealth of incredibly wonderful music, all just waiting to enrich our thirsting spirits with Heavenly Father’s Holy Spirit bounty of divine/human creativity and joy!

Then I recall my experience at Belvedere in April during the bright, sun-shiny day of our ancestral liberation ceremony. Grace Of The Holy Garden was our major musical anthem that Sunday, in order to dispel and disperse all darkness from the spiritual atmosphere so that Heaven’s purpose could be accomplished. We need to be cleansed and healed by all means; therefore, every Holy Song is appropriate to the need which brings it forth onto this battlefield of restoration. However, to keep us healthy and inspired on the daily path of accomplishment, we need to be open to the Spirit which "blows where it wills" and inspires not only music in all her radiant garb but the literary, plastic, dramatic, terpsichorean and even cinematic arts, as well.

No, I didn’t have any "special" spiritual experiences during Dae Mo Nim’s liberation ceremony, but as I read the testimonies of brothers and sisters who did, I’m grateful to have been a participant in the same process, same place. The poet John Milton tells us "they also serve who only stand and wait"; even if my fervor and seriousness weren’t sufficient for an exciting testimony of spiritual experience, I can’t let myself feel sorry for myself and use that "non-experience" as an excuse to keep slowing down, or to feel defeated. By maintaining the integrity of my commitments to those with whom I have regular give and take, by not giving in to the temptations, voices or counsels of despair, I can maintain faith with those who are further forward on the front-line than I feel I am, and I may have confidence that "he who endures to the end shall be saved."

And the music sure helps!

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