A Thanksgiving Recollection of Good Times
Thanksgiving Day, November 26, 2020
Miss Ethel Brock was my fifth grade teacher in 1953 at the Hooper Alexander Elementary School on Memorial Drive in Dekalb County, Georgia. Miss Brock was from Maine and often described the harsh winters she experienced as a child. She had never married. She had silver and white hair and at the time I thought she was really old (no longer true since I am now in my late seventies and have a lot of silver and white hair!).
Miss Brock loved children. At the same time she was a stern disciplinarian. As an active and often misbehaving ten year old boy, I was often scolded and sometimes properly punished with a ruler across the knuckles. I also spent a good bit of time, along with the rest of the class, copying text from one of our books. I can still hear Miss Brock her strong and stern voice saying: “Class, take out your green book and start writing!” That was her way of gaining control of an unruly class, even if it was just a few who were causing trouble. Sometimes we had to keep copying for up to thirty minutes without a word being spoken. I suppose that was the old fashioned way of being in timeout. We almost wore out the pages of that green Geography book by the end of the year.
There was no doubt that Miss Brock was a Christian. Every day after reciting the Pledge of Alegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, Miss Brock would read to us from her King James Bible, followed by an appropriate Prayer. We were often required to memorize and repeat scripture together as a class and individuals. Most of the Bible verses I learned as a child date back to that fifth grade class. In particular, I remember memorizing Psalm 100. And with a little coaching I can still recite it. It is one of my favorite scriptures to this day. Here is how it goes:
Psalm 100 (KJV) – Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. 2 Serve the Lord with gladness: come before His presence with singing. 3 Know ye that the Lord He is God: it is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture. 4 Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name. 5 For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting; and His truth endureth to all generations.
A number of Hymns have been inspired by Psalm 100. Here are the lyrics of one of my favorites:
Author: William Kethe (died 1594)
1 All people that on earth do dwell,
sing to the LORD with cheerful voice.
Serve him with joy, his praises tell,
come now before him and rejoice!
2 Know that the LORD is God indeed;
he formed us all without our aid.
We are the flock he surely feeds,
the sheep who by his hand were made.
3 O enter then his gates with joy,
within his courts his praise proclaim!
Let thankful songs your tongues employ.
O bless and magnify his name!
4 Because the LORD our God is good,
his mercy is forever sure.
His faithfulness at all times stood
and shall from age to age endure.
And below is a beautiful rendition of the timeless hymn performed by the Martins:
Heavenly Father, we want to link our voices with the whole of creation and rejoice in Your goodness and grace. Thank You for You great and might works and for the gifts and graces that You have bestowed on us. Thank You that Your grace is sufficient for all and that no-one is excluded from Your good and gracious offer of salvation – through faith in Christ. Thank You that You loved us so much that You sent Jesus to be the propitiation for our sins and thank You that by faith You have removed our sin as far as the east is from the west – and are prepared to do the same for all who will trust in Christ for the forgiveness of their sins. May our lives be a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving – for You alone are worthy of all praise and worship. in Jesus name we pray, AMEN.
Charles Spurgeon’s teaching on Psalm 100 is worth the review for those interested in an indepth discussion of this scripture.