The Psalm of Life

I want to share a timely poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, my favorite one he penned. Read it slowly and see it. I hope it stirs your heart just a little.

What the heart of the young man said to the psalmist

Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream!– For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.

Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each to-morrow
Find us farther than to-day.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.

In the world’s broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife!

Trust no future, howe’er pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act,–act in the living present!
Heart within, and God o’erhead!

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.

About Fred

Fred came to serve greater Williamsburg and WCC as lead pastor in October of 2010 and is grateful to be a part of the family. He is a husband, father, certified trauma professional, S.T.A.R. (strategies for trauma awareness & resilience) practitioner, community organizer, TEDx alum, founder of 3e Restoration, Inc. and co-owner of Philoxenia Culture LLC. He received his B.S. in Ministry/Bible at Amridge University and his Master’s of Religious Education in Missional Leadership from Rochester University. Currently he is a candidate for a Doctorate of Ministry in Contextual Theology in at Northern Seminary in Chicago. Fred has also served as an adjunct professor for Rochester University and Regent University where taught courses in philosophy, ethics, leadership, pastoral care, intro to Christianity, and ethnography. He has also served as a guest lecturer on the subjects of racialized cultural systems, poverty, and missiology at various universities, such as William & Mary and Oklahoma Christian University. Fred has authored on book (Racialized Cultural Systems, Social Displacement and Christian Hospitality) and several curriculum offerings, including The FloorPlan: Living Toward Restoration & Resilience. Fred enjoys hanging out with his family anytime, anywhere. He is deeply grateful for how God graciously works through the Church in all her various forms, despite our brokenness. He is passionate about seeing the last, least, and lonely of every neighborhood, city and nation experience God’s in-breaking kingdom, and come to know Jesus as King. Oh, and his favorite season is Advent and Christmas. Fred is a founding member of the board of directors for Virginia Racial Healing Institute, a member of the leadership team for Williamsburg's local chapter of Coming to the Table, and a member of Greater Williamsburg Trauma-Informed Community Network's Racial Trauma Committee and Training Committee.
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1 Response to The Psalm of Life

  1. Gailyn Van Rheenen says:

    Thanks, Fred, for this powerful poem. I will share it with my others, especially to my living brothers and sisters—powerful and purposeful for where I am an life. How are you doing? I celebrate God’s work through you in your church, among the poor, and as a partner with Mission Alive. What are your continuing relationships with Mission Alive? I am thankful for the wonderful job Tod Vogt is doing as executive director. I continue to come into staff meetings once every 2-3 months via video conference.

    Becky and I are living in Atlanta close to family. Becky has a Retinitis Pigmentosa, a degenerative eye disease, and it was time to move closer to one of our children and her family.

    We are working closely with leaders of the North Atlanta Church of Christ with Don McLaughlin and other leaders, developing a course called God’s Mission; Our Mission applying Missions: Biblical Foundations and Contemporary Strategies (Zondervan 2014, 2nd edition) to life and ministry in North American culture, especially in regard to renewal of churches and training of leaders. Becky and I have taken the leaders of North Atlanta through 16 sessions on this book over lunch from 11:30-1:00 on consecutive Tuesdays. Would like to hear more about this? If so, I would like to describe this process that we are beginning to do for churches and perhaps seminaries?

    For the sake of the Kingdom of God,
    Dr. Gailyn Van Rheenen;


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