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” Oh Lord, how great thou art”

April 19, 2020

For those of us who attended a Protestant church school, memorization and daily reading of the King James I Bible of 1611 was a part of daily life. At age 13 when “Confirmation” classes were held, we daily recited verses from the King James Bible. And I can remember memorizing and reciting all the books of the King James Bible, attending “Bible School” in summer and Bible classes on Sunday.

All that had its effect and when I pray I use the vernacular of 17th century England.

“How mighty thou art” seems quite natural and though I dislike Julia Ward Howe’s “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” she speaks a language I know when she writes, “Mine eyes have seen the glory.”

In my study of the origins of Russian religion in the 11th century, I learned that unschooled mystics and common folk would repeatedly recite “The Jesus Prayer.”

“O Lord, Jesus Christ,  Son of God, have mercy upon me, a sinner.” I wonder how many celebrating Eastern rites at home this Sunday are praying that little prayer.

All these forms of speaking to God have their effect, if not in our actions, in how we speak when God is near.



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