Seize the Moment – Day 305

Today’s hymn focus will be

“More About Jesus”

Psalm 119:71   (ESV)
 
“It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.”

 

Born in 1851, Eliza Edmunds Hewitt grew up and graduated as valedictorian of her school. She went on to teach in the public schools of Philadelphia. But her career was cut short when she suffered a debilitating back injury and became bed-ridden. Instead of becoming bitter or complaining to God about how unfair this was, she began studying English literature, singing and writing poetry. She took what appeared to be a bad situation and turned it around to be something positive. She took the time to learn more about Jesus, praying that He would open her eyes so she would see Him more and reflect more of Him.

 

            “More about Jesus, let me learn; More of His holy will discern;

            Spirit of God, my teacher be, showing the things of Christ to me.”

 

This poem, along with several others, became known to Professor John R. Sweney, music professor at Pennsylvania Military Academy, who put the lyrics to music.

 

We must wake up and determine in our hearts that we will not let the circumstances around us decide our attitude. We need to fully focus on Jesus and let His light and love shine through our lives. And that can only happen when we hunger and thirst for more of Him in our lives.

 

If you would like to receive a personal phone call today, all you have to do is dial the phone number below right now and one of us will call you soon.
 
 

YOUTUBE:

If you prefer a video, Pastor Ken reads his devotion on YouTube as well. Click HERE to visit the page.
Videos are posted about a week after the devotion appears in the blog.
 
If you wish to hear the tune and see the words, you can click on the link below:
 
“More About Jesus”
 
1
More about Jesus would I know,
More of His grace to others show;
More of His saving fulness see,
More of His love who died for me.
More, more about Jesus,
More, more about Jesus;
More of His saving fulness see,
More of His love who died for me.
2
More about Jesus let me learn,
More of His holy will discern;
Spirit of God my teacher be,
Showing the things of Christ to me.
More, more about Jesus,
More, more about Jesus;
More of His saving fulness see,
More of His love who died for me.
3
More about Jesus; in His Word,
Holding communion with my Lord;
Hearing His voice in every line,
Making each faithful saying mine.
More, more about Jesus,
More, more about Jesus;
More of His saving fulness see,
More of His love who died for me.
4
More about Jesus; on His throne,
Riches in glory all His own;
More of His kingdom’s sure increase;
More of His coming, Prince of Peace.
More, more about Jesus,
More, more about Jesus;
More of His saving fulness see,
More of His love who died for me.
 

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Seize the Moment – Day 298

Hymn: “Hope Has a Name”

1 Peter 1:13  (ESV)

 “Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

 

This modern-day hymn was written by Clynt Reddy, Connections Director at River Valley Church in 2017. He points out that our world is broken, and it is hard to ignore. It is his desire that we always seek hope that the best is yet to come, and that it can only be realized in our need for a Savior, Jesus! We have the hope that He will take the brokenness and sin and make them new by restoring relationships, purpose and freedom in our lives. Jesus is the anchor for our souls. In the grand narrative of human history, God invites us to be both partakers and participants in this story we call life. By doing so, He give us the power thru the Holy Spirit to be His people! We must resolve to forgive, to love, to find hope and to take this message to a world in need!

 

“Hope has a name. His Name is Jesus. My Savior’s cross has set the sinner free.

Hope has a name. His Name is Jesus. Oh Christ be praised, I have victory!”

 

Wake up and remember that Jesus is our ultimate hope and we have been commissioned to take this message to the ends of the world. Start in your neighborhood and see the difference He can make in your world! Let’s live our lives with strength and purpose that can only come from our relationship with Jesus!

 

 

If you would like to receive a personal phone call today, all you have to do is dial the phone number below right now and one of us will call you soon.
 
 

YOUTUBE:

If you prefer a video, Pastor Ken reads his devotion on YouTube as well. Click HERE to visit the page.
Videos are posted about a week after the devotion appears in the blog.
 

Hope Has a Name

There is a song, I know it well
A melody that’s never failed
On mountains high and valleys low
My soul will rest, my confidence, in You alone
 
Hope has a name, His name is Jesus
My Savior’s cross has set the sinner free
Hope has a name, His name is Jesus
Oh, Christ be praised, I have victory
 
There is a light, salvation’s flame
Christ undefeated, trampled the grave (come on)
See now the cross, be lifted high
The light has come, the light has won
Behold the Christ (sing it)
 
Hope has a name, His name is Jesus
My Savior’s cross has set the sinner free
Hope has a name, His name is Jesus
Oh, Christ be praised, I have victory (we say)
 
Hope has a name, His name is Jesus
My Savior’s cross has set the sinner free
Hope has a name, His name is Jesus
Oh, Christ be praised,…
 
 
To listen to the song on YouTube, click the link below:
 
 

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Seize the Moment – Day 291

Today’s Final Christmas hymn: “Joy to the World”

 
 “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth;
    break forth into joyous song and sing praises!
Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre,
    with the lyre and the sound of melody!
With trumpets and the sound of the horn
    make a joyful noise before the King, the Lord!” (ESV)

 

“Joy to the world” is perhaps an unlikely popular Christmas hymn. First of all, it is based on a psalm, and, second, it celebrates Christ’s second coming much more than the first.
 
This favorite Christmas hymn is the result of a collaboration of at least three people:  English poet and clergy, Isaac Watts, composer of Handel’s Messiah:  George Frederick Handel, and Boston music educator, Lowell Mason. These men lived almost a century from each other, yet their work brought about this glorious song.

 

As we approach a new year, we need to look for opportunities to bring this message of joy to a world that is in desperate need of it. Yes, we can pull from the past, but we must make the most of the present to ensure that we are looking forward to the future that God has in store for us.

 

Wake up and be determined each day to seek God first and start the day with remembering that no matter how dark the night was, JOY comes in the morning!

 

If you would like to receive a personal phone call today, all you have to do is dial the phone number below right now and one of us will call you soon.
 
 

YOUTUBE:

If you prefer a video, Pastor Ken reads his devotion on YouTube as well. Click HERE to visit the page.
Videos are posted about a week after the devotion appears in the blog.
 

Joy to the World

 
1
Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive its king;
let ev’ry heart prepare him room,
and heav’n and nature sing,
and heav’n and nature sing,
and heav’n, and heav’n and nature sing.
 
2
Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns!
Let all their songs employ
while fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains,
repeat the sounding joy,
repeat the sounding joy,
repeat, repeat the sounding joy.
 
3
No more let sins and sorrows grow,
nor thorns infest the ground.
He comes to make his blessings flow
far as the curse is found,
far as the curse is found,
far as, far as the curse is found.
 
4
He rules the world with truth and grace,
and makes the nations prove
the glories of his righteousness,
and wonders of his love,
and wonders of his love,
 
 
If you would like to hear the melody played, click on this link:
 
 
 
 

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Seize the Moment – Day 284

Today’s Christmas hymn: “Away in a Manger”

Matthew 2:6          
 
“‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
    are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
    who will shepherd my people Israel.’” (ESV)

 

“Away In A Manger” is one of the most popular Christmas carols and yet, its history has been obscured behind false information for a long time. James Murray published the song in 1887, making reference to the words and melody as being inspired by Martin Luther in a lullaby that he sang to his family. It’s rise to fame was not based upon that connection, but rather the melody that was easy to sing and the words that brought peace and comfort to those who sang them.

 

Reflecting the simple beginnings of our Lord’s arrival to earth and being born in a stable, this song paints the picture for us to see as you sing…

 

Away in a manger, no crib for a bed, the little Lord Jesus, laid down His sweet head, the stars in the sky look down where He lay, the little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay.

 

While the song contains a prayer asking Jesus to stay close by, we need to remember that He promised to never leave us nor forsake us. We need to wake up and hold on to that promise, realizing that, while it is a pretty Christmas carol, the theology of the third verse is not totally accurate. Remember, if you ever have any doubt, go to God’s Word and check it out!

 
 
If you would like to receive a personal phone call today, all you have to do is dial the phone number below right now and one of us will call you soon.
 
 

YOUTUBE:

If you prefer a video, Pastor Ken reads his devotion on YouTube as well. Click HERE to visit the page.
Videos are posted about a week after the devotion appears in the blog.
 
 
If you would like to read the words to this hymn or hear the melody played, click on this link:
 
 
1
Away in a manger, no crib for a bed,
the little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head.
The stars in the bright sky looked down where he lay,
the little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay.
 
2
The cattle are lowing, the baby awakes,
but little Lord Jesus no crying he makes.
I love thee, Lord Jesus! Look down from the sky,
and stay by my side until morning is nigh.
 
3
Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask thee to stay
close by me forever, and love me, I pray.
Bless all the dear children in thy tender care,
and fit us for heaven to live with thee there.
 

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Seize the Moment – Day 277

Today’s Christmas hymn: “I Heard The Bells on Christmas Day”

 
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.   (ESV)

 

Finding peace in a time of turmoil or tragedy is difficult for most of us. But Henry Wadsworth Longfellow did exactly that in his writing of the Christmas carol “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.”
 
He found himself widowed for a second time, raising five children and caring for his oldest son, Charley, who had been shot during a battle in the Civil War, and while he survived, he came home to recover, all during the Christmas season.
 
He was outside when he heard the Christmas bells ringing. The world as he knew it was tearing itself apart in civil war. It didn’t seem like there was much peace on earth or goodwill towards men. But he held strong to the promises of God’s hope, peace and goodwill.

 

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.”

 
Wake up and realize that it is not our current situations that determine the outcome, but rather how we hold on to the promises God has given us. What makes the baby in the manger so amazing is the fact that the cross and His death and resurrection were in the shadows of His future, yet He came to bring us the Light of His love, joy, grace and peace that could only come from God’s Son.
  
 
 
If you would like to receive a personal phone call today, all you have to do is dial the phone number below right now and one of us will call you soon.
 
 

YOUTUBE:

If you prefer a video, Pastor Ken reads his devotion on YouTube as well. Click HERE to visit the page.
Videos are posted about a week after the devotion appears in the blog.
 
 
If you would like to read the words to this hymn or hear the melody played, click on this link:
 
 

I heard the bells on Christmas day

 
1
I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace of earth, good will to men.
 
2
I thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along th’unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.
 
3
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.”
 
4
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.”
5 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.
 

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Seize the Moment – Day 270

Christmas Hymn: “Silent Night”

 
“And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”  (ESV)

 

Imagine having a new church building and preparing to host the Christmas Eve service and discovering that the church organ was broken. Such was the case for the assistant priest, Joseph Mohr as he prepared for the service at the Church of St. Nicolas in Oberndorf, near Salzburg, Austria. He quickly wrote the words for this hymn and took them to Franz Gruber, the church organist and village schoolmaster. Franz was also a guitar player, and composed the simple tune. That night, December 24, 1818, ‘Silent Night’ was sung for the first time with Joseph and Franz singing to the accompaniment of Gruber’s guitar. It would later become a favorite Christmas carol, even being performed in front of the king and queen of Austria.

 

This song has been sung as a lullaby and as a song to inspire peace and comfort.

 

If you remember, I challenged you last week to start each day of Advent with a time of praise. When you WAKE UP tomorrow, take a moment to ask God what He would have you do today and then be still before Him. For it is in the silence that we can hear God’s voice the best.
 
 
If you would like to receive a personal phone call today, all you have to do is dial the phone number below right now and one of us will call you soon.
 
 

YOUTUBE:

If you prefer a video, Pastor Ken reads his devotion on YouTube as well. Click HERE to visit the page.
Videos are posted about a week after the devotion appears in the blog.
 
 
If you would like to read the words to this hymn or hear the melody played, click on this link:
 
 
Silent Night, Holy Night
 
1
Silent night, holy night!
All is calm, all is bright
‘Round yon virgin mother and child.
Holy Infant so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace,
Sleep in heavenly peace.
 
2
Silent night, holy night!
Shepherds quake at the sight;
Glories stream from heaven afar;
Heav’nly hosts sing “alleluia!
Christ, the Savior, is born!
Christ, the Savior, is born!”
 
3
Silent night, holy night!
Son of God, love’s pure light
Radiant beams from thy holy face,
With the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord, at thy birth,
Jesus, Lord, at thy birth.
 

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Seize the Moment – Day 263

Christmas Hymn: “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee”

 
“Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.”  (ESV)

 

Pennsylvania native Henry Jackson van Dyke was the pastor of Brick Presbyterian Church in New York City, later becoming a professor of English literature at Princeton, along with a number of other prominent positions.
 
In 1907, he was invited to preach at Williams College in Massachusetts. One morning, he handed the college president a piece of paper, telling him that he had written a hymn inspired by the Berkshire Mountains and that it must be sung to the music of Beethoven’s ‘Hymn of Joy’. Even though it was written in the bleak days just before the start of World War I, he said that this was a hymn of trust and joy and hope.

 

One of my favorite versions of this song comes from the movie, “Sister Act 2”, adding some soulful singing and a gospel choir, they brought the audience to their feet. When they were done, someone said “I have never heard or seen it sung with such joy and enthusiasm! It was as if they meant every word they were singing.”

 

While the holidays are supposed to be a joyful time of friends and family, this year has been tainted by the fear and restrictions that Covid-19 has caused us to focus on. It’s time to WAKE UP and remember that OUR GOD is worthy of ALL the praise, and we are going to joyfully proclaim it for the world to hear, as if we mean every word we are singing! 
 
Joyful! Joyful! Lord, we adore Thee!
 

 

If you would like to receive a personal phone call today, all you have to do is dial the phone number below right now and one of us will call you soon.
 
 

YOUTUBE:

If you prefer a video, Pastor Ken reads his devotion on YouTube as well. Click HERE to visit the page.
Videos are posted about a week after the devotion appears in the blog.
 
 
If you would like to read the words to this hymn or hear the melody played, click on this link:
 
 
1
Joyful, joyful, we adore You,
God of glory, Lord of love;
Hearts unfold like flow’rs before You,
Op’ning to the sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness;
Drive the dark of doubt away;
Giver of immortal gladness,
Fill us with the light of day!
 
2
All Your works with joy surround You,
Earth and heav’n reflect Your rays,
Stars and angels sing around You,
Center of unbroken praise;
Field and forest, vale and mountain,
Flow’ry meadow, flashing sea,
Chanting bird and flowing fountain
Praising You eternally!
 
3
Always giving and forgiving,
Ever blessing, ever blest,
Well-spring of the joy of living,
Ocean-depth of happy rest!
Loving Father, Christ our Brother,
Let Your light upon us shine;
Teach us how to love each other,
Lift us to the joy divine.
 
4
Mortals, join the mighty chorus,
Which the morning stars began;
God’s own love is reigning o’er us,
Joining people hand in hand.
Ever singing, march we onward,
Victors in the midst of strife;
Joyful music leads us sunward
In the triumph song of life.
 

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Seize the Moment – Day 256

Christmas Hymn: “O Come, All Ye Faithful”

 
When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” (ESV)

 

Tomorrow begins the Advent Season, so we will focus on the hymns of Christmas in the upcoming weeks.

 

John Francis Wade fled England because of the Jacobean rebellion. As a refugee, he needed to find a way to make a living. He started teaching music and copying music and hymns for private use, since everything had to be scripted by hand. He took the Latin text of Adeste Fideles and put it to music and published it in 1743. It quickly became prominent Christmas hymn of the Roman Catholic church, being brought back to England from France as English Catholics returned.

 

An Anglican minister named Rev. Frederick Oakeley, came across Wade’s Christmas carol while he was preaching at Margaret Street Chapel in London. In 1845, Oakeley translated the song to O Come, all Ye Faithful, Joyful and Triumphant!

 

Both of these men had a deep love for Christmas and for hymns, and though they lived a hundred years apart, they both wanted to proclaim the message to everyone…Come, joyful and triumphant, and the adore Him born the king of angels!

 

Decide today that you are going to WAKE UP every morning during this advent season and be determined to share the joy of the season and the message of love that came to us over 2000 years ago!

 

 

If you would like to receive a personal phone call today, all you have to do is dial the phone number below right now and one of us will call you soon.
 
 

YOUTUBE:

If you prefer a video, Pastor Ken reads his devotion on YouTube as well. Click HERE to visit the page.
Videos are posted about a week after the devotion appears in the blog.
 
 
If you would like to read the words to this hymn or hear the melody played, click on this link:
 
O Come, All Ye Faithful

 

O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye, to Bethlehem. Come
and behold him, born the King of angels;


Refrain: O come, let us adore him, O come,
let us adore him, O come, let us adore him,
Christ the Lord.
 
Sing, choirs of angels, sing in exultation; O
sing, all ye citizens of heaven above! Glory
to God, all glory in the highest.
Refrain.
 

Yea, Lord, we greet thee, born this happy
morning, Jesus, to thee be all glory given.
Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing.
Refrain.

 
 

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Responding to Jesus by Giving Thanks – Week 4

A Table of Blessing

 
When you think about thanksgiving, it’s always easy to give thanks when things are going your way. 
 

A Little History:  The pilgrims did not have it easy on that first trip.  They landed in November near Plymouth Rock and had no time to prepare for winter.  They had to rely on whatever they could find by foraging and getting by on what they could find. 

 

So that first year 102 people foraged, tried to build shelters and stay healthy.  Even on the way over on the ships, because of storms and other things, they weren’t always able to eat well.  Once they were on land, several were dying of malnutrition and scurvy.  By the Spring only 44 survived. 

 

The ship called the Mayflower returned to England, but not one of the original pilgrims went back with it.  They were determined to stay.  One of their members was a former native American who helped them learn to plant and make a treaty with local tribes. 

Governor Bradford proclaimed a time of celebration after their first harvest. 

 

In the Old Testament there was a festival of thanksgiving called Sukkot, commonly knows as the Feast of Tabernacles or Festival of Booths.  It was a Jewish Autumn festival of double thanksgiving celebrated either on the fifteenth day of September or October and lasted for five days.
 
Can you imagine having Thanksgiving for five days?  Talk about blowing your diet!
 

In Psalm 9, David writes,

I will thank you, Lord, with all my heart;
    I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done.
I will be filled with joy because of you.
    I will sing praises to your name, O Most High.

 

And in Psalm 34,

I will praise the Lord at all times.
    I will constantly speak his praises.
I will boast only in the Lord;
    let all who are discouraged take heart.
Come, let us tell of the Lord’s greatness;
    let us exalt his name together.

I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me.
    freeing me from all my fears.

 

Testimony:  The Upchurch Family (5:36)

 

Kevin & Bree share about hosting a virtual Awesome Autumn online (18:30)
 

Psalm 66

Shout joyful praises to God, all the earth!
    Sing about the glory of his name!
    Tell the world how glorious he is.
Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds!
    Your enemies cringe before your mighty power.
Everything on earth will worship you;
    they will sing your praises,
    shouting your name in glorious songs.”

Come and see what our God has done,
    what awesome miracles he performs for people!

 

Give Thanks for all those around us! 

We do it all for Jesus! 

 
A Favorite Plaque: 
I do nothing for the applause of man, but I do everything for the applause of his nail scarred hands.

 

Thanking all those who work behind the scenes at our church.  (22:13)

We have been in this facility for almost 16 years. (31:34)
We began in a house in 1910 and now, for many of you, you are back in your house!

 

We don’t let the circumstances of life dictate what we will do… out hope is in God.

We have lost some of our saints this week.  (34:00)

But we celebrate!  We know where they are.

 

Prayer requests.

 

The Doxology: Prayer and singing the Doxology (36:26)
 
 

You can listen to the message here:

 

You can watch to the message HERE.

 

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Seize the Moment – Day 249

Hymn: “Come, Ye Thankful People, Come”

Psalm 92:1

 

“It is good to give thanks to the Lord, 

to sing praises to your name, O Most High” (ESV)

 

The first thanksgiving was decreed by Governor Bradford in 1621 in honor of the pilgrims’ harvest. But it wasn’t until 1941 that Congress passed a bill proclaiming the fourth Thursday of each November as Thanksgiving Day. And this hymn has become a tradition of this holiday. So what is the history of this hymn?

 

Henry Alford was born in 1810, and was raised by his Anglican clergy father and grandfather to have a special love for God’s Word. He became a renowned biblical scholar, earning his degree from Cambridge. He was later assigned to be the vicar of a small parish and connected well with the people there because he had a knack for explaining things in a way the simple people could understand.

 

He wrote this hymn to celebrate the beautiful harvest festival in the English countryside. He wanted everyone to join in, recognizing the glory of God’s breathtaking creation and lovingly responding to a faithful God with praise!

 

Wake up and recognize all that God has done in your life! Why? Because a thankful heart is pleasing to God!

 

“Come, ye thankful people, come!
Raise the song of harvest home.
All is safely gathered in, ere the winter storms begin;
God our maker doth provide, for our wants to be supplied.”

 

If you would like to receive a personal phone call today, all you have to do is dial the phone number below right now and one of us will call you soon.
 
 

YOUTUBE:

If you prefer a video, Pastor Ken reads his devotion on YouTube as well. Click HERE to visit the page.
Videos are posted about a week after the devotion appears in the blog.
 
 
If you would like to read the words to this hymn or hear the melody played, click on this link:
 
1
Come, ye thankful people, come,
raise the song of harvest home;
all is safely gathered in,
ere the winter storms begin.
God our Maker doth provide
for our wants to be supplied;
come to God’s own temple, come,
raise the song of harvest home.
2
All the world is God’s own field,
fruit as praise to God we yield;
wheat and tares together sown
are to joy or sorrow grown;
first the blade and then the ear,
then the full corn shall appear;
Lord of harvest, grant that we
wholesome grain and pure may be.
3
For the Lord our God shall come,
and shall take the harvest home;
from the field shall in that day
all offenses purge away,
giving angels charge at last
in the fire the tares to cast;
but the fruitful ears to store
in the garner evermore.
4
Even so, Lord, quickly come,
bring thy final harvest home;
gather thou thy people in,
free from sorrow, free from sin,
there, forever purified,
in thy presence to abide;
come, with all thine angels, come,
raise the glorious harvest home.
 
 

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