(Click here for a video of John reading this Catch.)
Be Thou My Vision is a 365-day devotional book I first published in 1995. It’s a devotional book based on selected lyrics from traditional known and lesser-known hymns. I wrote it on the premise that lyrics written by Christians over 100 years ago might speak into our culture today in refreshing ways. I was right. I also found that two to four lines from a hymn gave me plenty to write about each day.
One other thing about daily devotional books is the uncanny way they can relate years later to events on the very day. Case in point is yesterday’s reading on the very day Russia began its invasion of Ukraine. Keep in mind this was published 27 years ago to be read yesterday. Here is that reading.
Where cross the crowded ways of life,
Where sound the cries of race and clan,
Above the noise of selfish strife,
We hear Thy voice, O Son of man!
From “Where Cross the Crowded Ways of Life” by Frank M. North
Virtually all of the major conflicts that go on in the world — all of the wars — can be traced to the cries of race and clan. These wars are full of hateful crimes, fueled by memories of injustice — atrocities one generation remembers and retaliates for by inflicting upon the next. The cycle goes on and on.
More “civilized” folks read the newspaper and wonder how people can be so ruthless in Bosnia, Ireland, Rwanda, or the urban centers of the world. Are they not all the cries of race and clan? Were they not the cries of Hitler and Mussolini?
And what would the Son of Man be saying if we could hear His voice above the noise of strife? He would be saying that we are all one. There are no divisions, no races or clans. There is only one race: human. And there is only one clan: the family of men and women He died for.
In a Croatian hospital, a Muslim and a Croatian girl lie side by side, healing from the wounds of war. They become fast friends. They represent two warring clans, yet they have heard the voice of Jesus above the noise and the strife. They are proof that there is a better way. Yet they will go home to opposite sides of the river. Will someone listen to the children?
[Our Catch is late today because we have been trying to set up a way you can purchase a download of the book Be Thou My Vision for yourself. With volunteer help, we almost had it, but good thing I checked it out first. The link to purchase it took my money fine, but I never got a book! So we will have that worked out by Monday.
Meanwhile, pray for the people of Ukraine and pray for the Russians to cease their aggression.]