Wed, December 04, 2002

Thanksgiving

We spent a lovely Thanksgiving day in Ohio and enjoyed time with extended family that we infrequently get to see. Getting to meet all the new (and not so new) babies was great fun.

One of the things that I was surprisingly thankful for this year was google. Everybody’s favorite search engine continues to amaze. Let me explain: For as long as I can remember and I’m told long before I was even around, our family has sung a German hymn as a prayer at the major celebrations and gatherings of the family. This is a tribute to my mom’’s grandparents who brought the hymn with them when they came to the United States from Switzerland. I’m told that there was a memorable moment in my mom’s life when the normal family prayers switched from being said in Swiss German to English. In any case, this hymn has been a part of our lives and gatherings for a long time.

Unfortunately, as the grandparents and great aunts and uncles have fallen asleep in the Lord, fewer and fewer of us know the tune and words sufficiently well to do other than sing the chorus and sort of hum along. Google to the rescue. A quick search and we have the text and music to Gott ist die Liebe. Now we can at least hum along with the music. Even better, Google gave us a quick translation of God is (the) love, which gave those of us who’d studied German in high school and college an acceptable starting point for making one that better fit the music.

Some of the family seemed to remember seeing a translation of this hymn as God loves me dearly. So we sang the first verse in German and then in English as “God loves me dearly, he sets me free; God loves me dearly, he loves even me. Let me say it again: God loves me dearly, God loves me dearly, he loves even me.” What a gift to praise God in two languages and to honor our heritage.

Looking for it again today, it appears that this is hymn 175 in the Evangelical Lutheran Hymnal, but there doesn’t appear to be a complete copy of the text of the hymn online. I did find a partial version:

God loves me dearly, grants me salvation;
God loves me dearly, loves even me.

Refrain:
Therefore I’ll say again: God loves me dearly,
God loves me dearly, loves even me.

I was in bondage, sin, death, and darkness;
God’s love was working to make me free.

He sent forth Jesus, that true Redeemer;
He sent forth Jesus and set me free.

Jesus, my Savior, Himself did offer;
Jesus, my Savior, paid all I owed.

Now I will praise You, O Love Eternal,
Now I will praise You all my life long!

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