Last night I had the chance to write a blurb for a new book on Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill. Shaker Village is a wonderful historical treasure located near Lexington, Kentucky. It is dedicated to preserving the memory and work of the Shakers. The Shakers were a very interesting religious group. They are remembered for their architecture, craftsmanship, the practice of celibacy, and their hymns. Perhaps their most famous hymn is “’Tis a Gift to Be Simple.”
Just today I came across a Shaker hymn I had not seen before. It is called “Returning Spring.” Here are a few of its verses:
The voice of the returning spring
Bids nature wake and rise,
And put her best new garments on,
For she has fresh supplies.
How wondrous are the ways of God!
How bountiful His hand!
We see his love in ev’ry tree,
And broadcast o’er the land.
Then why should we, whose lines have fallen
In such a pleasant place,
Be backward in the praise of Him,
Or e’er fall short of grace.
We ought to leap, and shout, and sing,
Till all the mountains round,
Reverberate the joyful news,
To earth’s remotest bound.
I find this hymn most inspirational. Here we are reminded that God’s love can be found in every tree and throughout His Creation. We also find a challenge to sing God’s praises for the bounty He has bestowed on us in nature. Something tells me that if we really paid attention to the glory of spring that we, too, would “leap, and shout, and sing.” Look around. Can you find anything worth singing about? I bet you can and hope you will!
(These images were taken at Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill.)