Love Divine, All Loves Excelling (ELW 631, Verses 3 & 4)
3 Come, Almighty, to deliver;
let us all thy life receive;
suddenly return, and never,
nevermore thy temples leave.
Thee we would be always blessing,
serve thee as thy hosts above,
pray, and praise thee without ceasing,
glory in thy perfect love.
4 Finish then thy new creation,
pure and spotless let us be;
let us see thy great salvation
perfectly restored in thee!
Changed from glory into glory,
till in heav’n we take our place,
till we cast our crowns before thee,
lost in wonder, love and praise!
We arrived at the funeral well in advance of the congregation on that gloomy September day. I had time to walk around the church cemetery on the wind-swept North Dakota prairie. Mom would be buried next to her husband, and near his Norwegian immigrant parents and grandparents. I noticed the grave of a child who died as a toddler. The area in front of the grave maker was set up as a child’s sandbox complete with dinosaurs and little trucks. I saw some familiar sounding names on many tombstones thanks to graduating from a college founded by Norwegians.
On many Norwegian tombstones are the words Takk for Alt, Thanks for All. There has never been a more simple epitaph nor one more profound. The abiding love of the vinegrower holds us up, igniting a love in us that is forever lost in wonder, love, and praise. Takk for Alt.
Almighty Deliverer, let me never loose sight of your love and may I daily give thanks for all. Amen.