Tag Archives: Van Gogh

We plough the fields and scatter,

I have always loved this hymn since singing it in the Presbyterian church of my childhood. I included it in a booklet of Thanksgiving hymns I put together some years ago, for our family to sing when we gathered for the feast. Here is John Rutter conducting a choir singing it: We Plough the Fields and Scatter. The lyrics have undergone some adaptation over the decades, which you can read about on Wikipedia where the hymn has its own entry.

Matthias Claudius published this poem in Germany, where it was set to music attributed to Johann A. P. Schulz, in 1800. I also like this bold instrumental version: We Plough the Fields and Scatter.

WE PLOUGH THE FIELDS AND SCATTER

We plough the fields and scatter
the good seed on the land,
but it is fed and watered
by God’s almighty hand;
he sends the snow in winter,
the warmth to swell the grain,
the breezes and the sunshine,
and soft refreshing rain.

He only is the Maker
of all things near and far;
he paints the wayside flower,
he lights the evening star;
the wind and waves obey him,
by him the birds are fed;
much more to us, his children,
he gives our daily bread.

We thank thee, then, O Father,
for all things bright and good,
the seed-time and the harvest,
our life, our health, our food.
Accept the gifts we offer
for all your love imparts,
with what we know you long for:
our humble, thankful hearts.

All good gifts around us
are sent from heaven above;
then thank the Lord, O thank the Lord
for all his love.

-Matthias Claudius (1740 – 1815) Germany

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is all your argument?

POLITICS

You say a thousand things,
Persuasively,
And with strange passion hotly I agree,
And praise your zest,
And then
A blackbird sings
On April lilac, or fieldfaring men,
Ghostlike, with loaded wain,
Come down the twilit lane
To rest,
And what is all your argument to me?

Oh yes — I know, I know,
It must be so —
You must devise
Your myriad policies,
For we are little wise,
And must be led and marshalled, lest we keep
Too fast a sleep
Far from the central world’s realities.
Yes, we must heed —
For surely you reveal
Life’s very heart; surely with flaming zeal
You search our folly and our secret need;
And surely it is wrong
To count my blackbird’s song,
My cones of lilac, and my wagon team,
More than a world of dream.

But still
A voice calls from the hill —
I must away —
I cannot hear your argument to-day.

-John Drinkwater, 1917

Van Gogh, Lilac Bush

We would have been destroyed.

“The good thing is that God does not abandon us. Our Good God is guarding the world with both hands. In the past, He used only one. Today we face so many dangers….”

“Things are really bad… May God help us! It is like a mother whose children have all kinds of problems. One is cross-eyed, another is slow, and yet another is difficult to handle. Then on top of that, she has to care for the neighbors’ children so that they don’t climb up somewhere and fall down, or find a knife and get cut, or hurt one another. And she must be constantly on the watch, vigilant and attentive, while they have no sense of her anguish and worry. It’s the same with our world. People do not understand that it is God Who is helping us. With all the dangerous devices available to us, we would have been destroyed many times were it not for His help….”

“If you only knew how much the devil hates humanity and wants to annihilate us! How easily we forget who our enemy is! Do you know how many times the devil has wrapped his tail around the world and tried to destroy it? But God has not allowed it. He ruins his plans. When the devil tries to cause harm, God takes the evil and turns it into good. The devil may be ploughing the field now, but in the end it is Christ Who will sow the seeds.”

-St. Paisios of Mount Athos

Real needs are not far from us.

Van Gogh – The Good Samaritan

 

I think each village was meant to feel pity for its own sick and poor whom it can help and I doubt if it is the duty of any private person to fix his mind on ills which he cannot help. This may even become an escape from the works of charity we really can do to those we know. God may call any one of us to respond to some far away problem or support those who have been so called. But we are finite and he will not call us everywhere or to support every worthy cause. And real needs are not far from us.

-C.S. Lewis