Church Worship

Bless This House

  • Lucy Neeley Adams
  • 2008 26 Nov
Bless This House

Home and Thanksgiving day are a priceless combination! The smells of turkey roasting, yeast rolls rising and all the fancy dishes touch the heartstrings. My children especially like the crystal dish filled with cranberry sauce, spiced peaches and olives. We even have a tradition that's strange but fun. Those who love to eat whole spiced peaches try to be the first one to drop the seed into the plate, hoping it will make a funny  sound... "ker-plunk"!
Around the heavy-laden table, after we have eaten our fill, we push our plates back and remember times past. The first funny story is usually about a sermon that turned us into a few muffled gigglers. When the children were young and we were visiting at a community Thanksgiving church service the preacher was very dramatic as he began.
Standing straight and tall he announced, "This worship service is about more than Thanksgiving - it is about ThanksLIVING." The children got tickled as he increased his volume each time he stressed the word LIVING. It is a funny memory but it has deep significance as we share our lives.
We ask each other what part of living have we been thankful for since the last Thanksgiving. We immediately name our homes that are warm and safe. The adult children talk of the birth of their children and we thank them for our grandchildren. 
However, there came a year when one child had been through a divorce. Their home was what some may call "broken" and tears flowed as we all shared the pain. But a heartwarming idea came to us during our conversation that day.
Yes, divorce seems to be running rampant these days. But those families do not need to be "broken." If each member is still alive, their days are spent in different houses as they visit mom or dad. In fact we decided that those families are just "re-arranged." Yes, re-arranged! That sounds better than broken.
I spied a framed poem sitting on the bookcase nearby and knew this was the time to share it. Our grandson Cory, whose parents had gotten the divorce, wrote it a few years before, when he was nine. He wrote about me; the love of a little child is so evident and refreshing:

"My Memama smells very good and she says that I always should
Pray everyday so that bad things will stay away.
My Memama likes to watch the news.  My Memama loves to snooze.
My Memama's cooking smells so good,  I eat it all up like I should..
She always hugs me really tight - and calls me sweet ole' cutie pie.
I miss my Memama everyday.  When I go to her house I want to stay.
But I can't because my Mom will say, ‘Come home, Cory, come home!'
And this is the end of my sad ole' story."

Our laughter and hugs, after the reading of that poem, will never be forgotten. Then we read some scripture that ushers in our joy because we have each other"

"First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all..." (Romans 1:8a)

"Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift"  ( I Cor. 9:15)

A few weeks after that memorable Thanksgiving around our dining room table the mail brought something wonderful from one of Cory's brothers. Another grandson Tevin, who was ten, shared his heart with his grandparents.
When my husband and I received it in the mail, it was as if the Light of God was shining through the envelope. It was a sweet reminder that Jesus told us about the glory of children: "Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them for of such is the kingdom of God."   (Mark:10:14b)

Tevin wrote: "Dear Memama and Granddaddy. I wanted to write a prayer for you. I love you. Dear God, I just want you to put your hands on my Memama and Granddaddy. I  want you to bless them with the Holy Spirit. I want you to protect them. I just want you to let them know that I will love them no matter what happens. Amen."

We knew the presence and peace of our healing Lord was at work. God leads us through all experiences whether painful or joyous. Out of them He "works for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28).

As we sing our praises this Thanksgiving we will include a song. In England, the poet Helen Taylor wrote these words in 1927. A friend from Australia, May Morgan Brahe, wrote the music. It is most often heard during Thanksgiving but in our lives it is a year round favorite. We are thankful for this melodious message of prayer:

"Bless this house, O Lord, we pray
Make it safe by night and day.
Bless these walls so firm and stout
Keeping want and trouble out."

The following two verses speak of chimneys, doors, windows , hearths and Gods' blessings. It is the last verse that makes the tears flow down my cheeks for the joy of a beloved husband, four children, fourteen grandchildren and one great grandchild:

"Bless the people here within,
Keep them pure and free from sin.
Bless us all that we may be,
Fit O Lord, to dwell with thee."

Lucy Neeley Adams has always loved music. She began telling the story of hymns on Christian radio WWGM in Nashville, TN, in the '80s. She then wrote a newspaper column titled "Song Stories" for five years. During that time Lucy's book, 52 Hymn Story Devotions, was published by Abingdon Press in Nashville. Each of the 52 stories contained in the book is written in a devotional format, with the words of the hymn concluding each devotion. Visit her at