Following guide-posts to peace


The Rev. Geoffrey Butcher, Priest-in-Charge - Trinity Episcopal Church, Russellville



Henry Van Dyke, born in 1852, was an American author, educator, and clergyman. Among his many poems, essays, and stories he wrote the lyrics to the popular hymn, “Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee,” sung to the tune of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy.” Some remember him as the author of “The Other Wise Man.”

As a distant relative of his, my mother’s middle name was Van Dyke, I’ve taken a new interest in his life and writings. Recently I noted a statement of his introducing “The Van Dyke Book” entitled, “The Foot-Path to Peace.” Since we are in the season of preparation to receive the Prince of Peace again into our hearts at Christmas, I thought these guide-posts would be helpful to our readers.

“To be glad of life, because it gives you the chance to love and to work and to play and to look up at the stars; to be contented with your possessions, but not satisfied with yourself until you have made the best of them; to despise

nothing in the world except falsehood and meanness, and to fear nothing except cowardice; to be governed by your admirations rather than by your disgusts; to covet nothing that is your neighbor’s except his kindness of heart and gentleness of manners; to think seldom of your enemies, often of your friends, and every day of Christ; and to spend as much time as you can, with body and with spirit, in God’s out-of-doors – these are little guide-posts on the foot-path to peace.”

In a world filled with change and anxiety we can direct our attention to little guide-posts on the foot-path to peace. In the process we will feel the nearer presence of God as we follow the footsteps of Christ. Fear will be relieved as we seek peace, love, and joy.

Henry Van Dyke is noted for his quote on Time. “Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love – time is eternity.”

Enter again time’s eternity of love.

The Rev. Geoffrey Butcher, Priest-in-Charge

Trinity Episcopal Church, Russellville

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