Hymn of the Day: Let Us Break Bread Together

When I opened my hymn book to “Let Us Break Bread Together”, I saw it was a Negro spiritual song, which means the song was written by an American slave. Immediately, my heart strings were struck as I read the lyrics:

VERSE ONE

Let us break bread together on our knees;

Let us break bread together on our knees.

REFRAIN

When I fall on my knees,

With my face to the rising sun,

O Lord, have mercy on me.

VERSE TWO

Let us drink wine together on our knees;

Let us drink wine together on our knees.

(Repeat REFRAIN)

VERSE THREE

Let us praise God together on our knees;

Let us praise God together on our knees.

(Repeat REFRAIN)

“I don’t know this song, but let’s sight-read it,” my mother said, and sang alone, first, to show us the sound of tones. Interestingly, when a hymn book provides shape notes (i.e. ‘Do’ is a triangle, ‘La’ is a square) even amateurs can sing! And how blessed to have sung it! The tones rose and fell so sweetly – yet they were powerful! – and the lyrics were equally so.

As I sang, my imagination wandered to the picture of a slave woman, falling to her knees at the start of a new day. Before she even began her work, she was tired and weary from the bondage she faced: the bondage of inequality.

Extraordinarily, the slaves from American history put their hearts on a plate and served it to God in spirit and in truth. How did they do that? The same way Job from the Bible did. Quoting Job, he said,

“Do not mortals have hard service on earth?
    Are not their days like those of hired laborers?
Like a slave longing for the evening shadows,
    or a hired laborer waiting to be paid,
so I have been allotted months of futility,
    and nights of misery have been assigned to me.
When I lie down I think, ‘How long before I get up?’
    The night drags on, and I toss and turn until dawn.”

Job 7:1-4 (NIV)

To honor and respect today’s hymn, I selected many different arrangements of “Let Us Break Bread Together”. Truly, let’s break bread together, each of us with our unique ways of showing worship.

Something else moved me today – with the news of protests happening in America, and Vice President Pence’s statement about the Colts game he walked out on, it is important for each American to understand heritage, and how different each American is because of the unique heritages. Many Americans don’t know their original ethnicity, saying “I’m a quarter” this and that, or 1/10th, or 1/20th, or “going back, on my father’s side”.

Makes one wonder, does heritage matter? Sure. How peoples’ lives are framed comes partly from the traditions their ancestors passed on, privileges earned, and struggles faced. There are countless heritages, and endless beginnings, which made America. It is through diversity that America grew strong. It is through respect that America will stay strong.

Pains of Heritage

By: Lacy Andrews

America for all!

Americans, free.

Whilst they try to remember,

The pains of their ancestors.

 

I soberly wonder

Surely! By this time,

We can forgive and forget,

Perhaps, if we give respect.

 

History roots go deep,

In the hearts of men,

Pilgrims came, died, and conquered

Slaves served, were sold and tortured.

 

Native tribes were ruined,

Spaniards came to save.

Puritans fled government,

And Chinese came for profit.

 

Indians were farmers,

Dutch came as merchants.

Russians fled from poverty,

Syrians were refugees.

 

America for all!

Americans, free.

Yet they try to remember,

The pains of their ancestors.

 

I somberly ponder

Even at this time,

We can’t forgive or forget

Unless we learn to respect.

 

Every race overcame,

The trials of men.

Englishmen settled, peaceful.

Africans became equal.

 

Native children lived on,

The Spanish flourished.

Puritans made Jamestown,

The Chinese made Chinatown.

 

Indians fought for rights,

Dutchmen fought in war.

Russians fought persecution.

Syrians fought omission.

 

America for all!

Americans, free.

Whilst they try to remember,

The pains of their ancestors.

 

I quietly wonder,

If ever in time,

Will we receive forgiveness?

Or forget respectfulness?

 

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The Lion and the Lamb, by Lacy Andrews

Slain, on a cross, crucified,

Treated like a lamb, sacrificed,

By the very people who should exalt Him,

He was spit upon, punished.

 

Born to die, pure and true,

He was treated so badly, so cruel:

The Way, the Truth, and the Life,

But they didn’t listen, and He was sentenced to die.

 

They thought they were rid of Him, relieved,

But three days later He had victory,

A Lion transformed from a Lamb,

And Satan lost to God’s glorious plan.

 

Jesus, the Lion and the Lamb,

Our very Savior, the very hope of every man.

Now we can stand our ground against evil,

And never have to face that eternal destiny of Hell.

Chivalry, Vileness, and Death

An armored Knight galloped on a horse so fine,

A white horse: that milky, pale mare,

And the Knight, pure and refined,

He portrayed heroism, indeed.

~ ~

Dark eyes watched enemies at abroad horizons,

Surveyed lands: lush, green grasslands,

Emitting a bright sword, so pious,

Its appearance was crimson-free.

~ ~

His cape draped over the back of his mare,

A strong shield: a firm, polished helmet,

Those were all attributes he handled with care.

He had a character that was careful and clean.

~ ~

His heart was saddened, though,

From an attempt, an awful, fatal attempt,

That a Princess had sworn by, she chose

To be bound by a deadly creed.

~ ~

Dragon was fierce; he cared for no one,

Angry feelings: angry, livid rage,

He had a personality feared by everyone.

This Princess was a prisoner of his greed.

~ ~

She had what he wanted: she had what he needed,

Her beautiful heart: a kind and gentle heart,

Yet timidity, her one weakness,

She was Dragon’s key.

~ ~

The door to life, everlasting riches,

Promised to those who contained kind hearts,

He planned on killing her, hence,

To obtain what he needed.

~ ~

Dragon had forced the Princess to surrender

Her life: Her precious and wholesome life.

So that he could be the one to live on forever.

He didn’t once take heed.

~ ~

The Knight on the horse, that milky, pale mare,

Was going to tell Dragon what he should hear.

So he galloped on his horse, that milky, pale mare,

Day by day, battling both cold and heat.

~ ~

He raced across plains, dashed through valleys,

The horse was always weary, but he was always brave,

Night after night for strength he prayed,

Dear Father, I don’t want to be too late.

~ ~

As the Knight arrived closer, every step at a time,

Dragon pined for that lovely immortality.

He laughed and mocked, but the Princess never whined;

She tried holding onto her faith.

~ ~

Dragon hated waiting, so he would linger no more!

Her heart he would take, that precious, pure heart,

From her, so he could live forevermore.

There would be no more wait.

~ ~

The Knight galloped on, so fast and never stalling,

When envisioning death, of his beautiful Princess,

How could he even think about stalling?

No, it couldn’t be too late!

~ ~

Dragon leered; he moved his claw across her skin.

The cackle was there, that crude, blunt cackling.

He began by pinning his claw to her chin,

And he knew then, that her skin soon wouldn’t be crimson-free.

~ ~

As he neared her chest with his sharp weapon,

A noise, an approaching, tedious noise,

Like the prancing of hooves, it startled Dragon,

And he turned to look and see.

~ ~

“Who is he?” Dragon sneered.

As he saw a bright and shining Knight.

He was mounted on horse, a milky, pale mare,

It was like this Knight was cloud sailing.

~ ~

“I am a knight,” he replied, “and this is my bride.”

“You think you can take her away?”

“Snatch her from my side?”

His hands were bruised, from much laboring.

~ ~

Even so, his bravery increased,

And he unsheathed a sword, so pious,

He dismounted his horse, and neared

The Dragon, who was glaring.

~ ~

“You can’t take what’s mine away,”

“You’re fate still remains the same, Dragon.”

“Even if you take my bride away,”

“You are still dying.”

~ ~

“Steal a heart, but you’ll remain in death,”

“Even if that heart’s full of kindness.”

“Change your own heart, and you’ll be free,”

“Life will be yours, and immortality.”

~ ~

Dragon refused to listen, and the Knight shook his head.

The Princess would be set free, but Dragon’s fate was death.

The Knight cast his sword forward, a tear slipping, and falling,

He was hoping Dragon would change his mind.

~ ~

But because of his stubbornness,

His foolish, stupid stubbornness,

Dragon would reap what he sowed.

His own vileness would heap and teem.

~ ~

It would become millions of times worse,

Than it was before: all the evil he had boasted,

Would bounce back, and be his curse,

Dragon would gnash his teeth.

~ ~

So it was done, the Knight pierced him:

Dragon cried in pain, a loud and mournful cry,

And he knew then, there would be no one to save him.

The knight blade was not crimson-free.

~ ~

The burning fire he had treated others to,

That seething, potent pain they felt,

Was now engulfing Dragon, who,

Had the choice to surrender and yield.

~ ~

The Knight bent down, and checked his bride,

To see if she was still humble.

He had saved her from death, and the Dragon’s pride,

Her heart, he had tried to steal.

~ ~

Microscope Eyes vs. Atoms, by Lacy Andrews

 

Vast,

Void, and abyssal,

Infinity is in the palms of God.

 

God,

Beyond infinite,

Our diminutive minds strain to see Him.

 

Man,

A speck, an atom,

But God’s microscope eyes can perceive us.

 

We,

Can see His glory,

Through the Creation: God’s Infinity.

 

That,

Is nature: cosmos,

The universe is a mirror of God.

Pray With Me

This Easter our worship was a singing service. We sang songs and read a prayer written by Mr. Charles Spurgeon. It was an uplifting service, as singing services usually are.  (I always loved singings as a child, and still do.)  Here’s a summary of the prayer -in my own words of course- that we read, along with a verse or two of a few of the songs we sang.


“Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6:9-10

Oh Lord God, we are humans and sometimes we forget that Your kingdom is more important than our cares and worries.  As much as we need Your help in overcoming our weaknesses, You want our undivided loyalty.  We stand on holy ground in Your presence. Help us to remember in reverence Your love for us, as You adopted us as Your people. Remind us to adore you; remind us to hold on fast to our faith in You.

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!  All Thy works shall praise Thy name, in earth and sky and sea; Holy, holy, holy! Merciful and mighty, God in three persons, blessed Trinity!

-“Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty”  (verse 3) by Reginald Heber

Let us pray for the world, and let every person be touched with Your love (through the Holy Spirit). Jesus died a painful and terrible death (and then rose again!) so that we humans could be saved and adopted.  Father, open the hearts of the people in this world, so that they may see Your glory and may know Your love for them. Reach out to them so that they can feel Your care in their lives and give them hope.

He who gave His love to me, that I might from sin be free bids me share it today, “As I love you,” He has said “You must serve men in my stead, as you go on your way.”

While His love burns true and bright, we are walking in the light. He has shown us the road; we His glory must reflect lest our dimness and neglect keep some soul from its God.

-“The Love of God” (verses 3 & 4) by Laurene Highfield

Be with the church, Lord. Help us live up to our position: Christ’s bride.  Help us do what is expected of us. That is to bring Your message of love and salvation to the people around us, and to reveal the truths of the world. We need Your strength to stand against the forces of darkness as we work diligently; we need Your wisdom to know how to be at peace with the people here, but also the knowledge on how to shine Your goodness in the world to bring more people to salvation in Jesus’ name, under Your grace.  Give us courage to do the right thing.

We have heard the Macedonian call today, send the light!  And a golden off’ring at the cross we lay: send the light!

Let us pray that grace may ev’rywhere abound: send the light! And a Christ-like spirit ev’rywhere be found: send the light!

Send the light! The blessed gospel light; let it shine from shore to shore. Send the light! The blessed gospel light; let it shine forever more.

-“Send the Light” (verses 2 & 3, chorus) by Charles H. Gabriel

You, oh God, forgive us when we do any wrong. You overlook our ignorance and You fix our mistakes.  You turn ALL things into good things. You make miracles out of catastrophes. And what do You ask for in return? You ask for us to be kind to everyone, and to show Your love to not only our brothers and sister, but our neighbors too. We are called to introduce You to the world.  When people look at us, they need to see You.  Help Your people, God.  Help them live the way they should.

Somebody did a golden deed, proving himself a friend in need; Somebody sang a cheerful song, bright’ning the sky the whole day long: Was that somebody you? Was that somebody you?

Somebody filled the days with light, constantly chased away the night; Somebody’s work bore joy and peace, surely his life shall never cease: Was that somebody you? Was that somebody you?

-“Somebody Did a Golden Deed” (verses 1 & 3) by John R. Clements

And Lord, last of all, please help us. If we’re sick, or sad, or struggling.  Be with Your people who are battling temptations, because Satan wants to snatch our souls from Your grace.  Be also with Your people who are in danger, help them survive the persecution that they are facing.  Encourage Your people who are in need of encouragement, and strengthen those who are weak.  “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.” (Matthew 6:13)

The Lord’s our Rock, in Him we hide; Secure whatever ill betide, a shelter in the time of storm.

A shade by day, defense by night; No fears alarm, no foes affright, a shelter in the time of storm.

The raging storms may round us beat; We’ll never leave our safe retreat, a shelter in the time of storm.

O Jesus is a Rock in a weary land, a shelter in the time of storm.

-“Shelter in the Time of Storm”  (verses 1, 2, & 3, chorus) by Vernon J. Charlesworth

Lord, come quickly to deliver us from the evils of this world.  In Jesus name, Amen.