Wednesday, January 7, 2009

"Simple Gifts"












Simple Gifts was written by Shaker Elder Joseph Brackett, Jr. in 1848. It was first published in The Gift to be Simple: Shaker Rituals and Songs. Simple Gifts was a work song sung by the United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearing (more commonly called the Shakers, an offshoot of the Quakers).

'Tis the gift to be simple,
'tis the gift to be free,
'tis the gift to come down where you ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
It will be in the valley of love and delight.

Refrain:

When true simplicity is gained,
To bow and to bend we shan't be ashamed.
To turn, turn will be our delight,
'Til by turning, turning we come round right

'Tis the gift to be loved and that love to return,
'Tis the gift to be taught and a richer gift to learn,
And when we expect of others what we try to live each day,
Then we'll all live together and we'll all learn to say,

Refrain:

'Tis the gift to have friends and a true friend to be,
'Tis the gift to think of others not to only think of "me",
And when we hear what others really think and really feel,
Then we'll all live together with a love that is real.

Refrain:

'Tis the gift to be simple,
'tis the gift to be free,
'tis the gift to come down where you ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
It will be in the valley of love and delight.
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This dear old Shaker Hymn has always been a great comfort to me. I'm sure it's been that to millions around the world now. "Elder Brackett" would quietly smile I think on hearing that. These are hard days for many of us. Difficult times in the world, and in our hearts.

So I thought I'd share "Simple Gifts" with those that happen by this page. It's always been a healing piece for me. I hope it helps you on your way.






2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Sidney. Simple Gifts is one of my favorite hymns. Unfortunately it is seldom sung. People tend to go looking for the holy in special transcendant experiences without realizing that holiness is most with us in the simple, mundane and "ordinary."

Mr. Chips

Uncle Sidney said...

This one of the few hymns that I sing as I walk along.

I love it so.