RURAL BRYANT, SD, PRESENTS:
by Ron Ginther
"Remember, My child, that you have a gift of weaving fancies into verse and a gift with the pencil of producing visions that come to your heart, consecrate these to Me as thoroughly as you do your inmost spirit." That was what God seemed to be syaing to Mary Lathbury, an artist by training, a teacher of art by profession, and eventually the general editor of Methodist Sunday school materials [this isn't the postmodern Methodist church of today, but the one that was originally Bible-based--Ed.].
She is regarded as one of the founders of the Chautauqua Movement, which began as a Christian summer conference on Lake Chautauqua in western New York. The movement spread across the coutnry, providing both Christian education and cultural development to thousands of believers.
At Chautauqua, Lathbury was asked to write an appropriate evening hymn for the conference. As she sat watching the sun disappear behind the trees, she was inspired to write the first two stanzas of this hymn. The third and fourth stanzas were written two years later.
Day is dying in the west;
Heaven is touching earth with rest;
Wait and worship while the night
Sets her evening lamps alight
Through all the sky.
Of the universe, Thy home,
Gather us who seek Thy face
To the fold of Thy embrace,
For thou art nigh.
Heart of love enfolding all,
Through the glory and the grace
Of the stars that veil Thy face,
Our hearts ascend.
Pass the stars, the day, the night,
Lord of angels, on our eyes
Let eternal morning rise
and shadows end.
You have made the moon to mark the seasons, the sun knows its time for setting. You make darkness, and it is night, when all the animals of the forest come creeping out. The young lions roar for their prey, seeking their food from God. When the sun rises, they withdraw and lie down in their dens. people go out to their work and to their labor until the evening. O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.