“Give Thanks, O Christian People”

Westminster Presbyterian Church
Westminster Presbyterian Church

Vocation or calling was the overall theme of the inspiring January 26th worship service at Minneapolis’ Westminster Presbyterian Church. Several parts of that service were especially meaningful for me and have been and will be discussed in this and subsequent posts.[1]

The third part of the worship service was Responding to the Word that was proclaimed in the previous Scripture readings and sermon. Music in the form of two hymns and an anthem emphasized the theme of vocation.

The second hymn was “Give Thanks, O Christian People.” Its first of four verses goes like this:

  • “Give thanks, O Christian people, for workers of our day who heed the call to service and make it their life’s way to go feed the hungry, to tend to those in need, to work for equal justice, till all God’s folk are freed.”

This and the other verses were written to honor the ministry of a colleague and is an effective reminder that God’s people serve in many vocations and ministries. The author is Mary Jackson Cathey (b. 1926), an Elder at National Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C. and former Director of its Christian Education program. She holds an advanced degree from Union Seminary-Presbyterian School of Christian Education in Richmond, Virginia. She finds hymn writing as a profound way to express her faith.

The tune, “Es Flog ein Kleins Waldvogelein” (the flight of a small forest bird), is a German folk tune that first was published in an early 17th century manuscript collection from Memmingen, Germany.

[1] The Bulletin for the January 26th service is available online along with the text and audio recording of the sermon as well as a video recording of the service. Prior posts have discussed this service’s (a) Prayer of Confession, (b) an anthem beginning with the words “God be in my head,” (c) passages from the Bible’s book of Acts and the sermon’s drawing on them for comments about the concerning the vocations of Tabitha, Peter, Lydia and Paul; (d) a passage from Paul’s epistle from a Roman prison and the sermon’s drawing on them for comments about the preacher’s and her people’s vocations; and (e) the hymn “How Clear Is Our Vocation, Lord.”  Clicking on “Westminster Presbyterian Church” in the Tag Cloud at the top right of the blog will give you all of the posts about the church in reverse chronological order of posting.

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As a retired lawyer and adjunct law professor, Duane W. Krohnke has developed strong interests in U.S. and international law, politics and history. He also is a Christian and an active member of Minneapolis’ Westminster Presbyterian Church. His blog draws from these and other interests. He delights in the writing freedom of blogging that does not follow a preordained logical structure. The ex post facto logical organization of the posts and comments is set forth in the continually being revised “List of Posts and Comments–Topical” in the Pages section on the right side of the blog.

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