Posted by: rcottrill | June 13, 2010

Today in 1592 – Thomas Ravenscroft Born

Thomas Ravenscroft lived some 400 years ago. In his day, he was an acclaimed musician, who composed a great deal of church music. Unfortunately the main thing for which most know him today is the song Three Blind Mice! The rather gruesome ditty was written while he was still in his teens. (It is surely a warning to us that our legacy may not be quite what we’d hoped or expected!)

Three blind mice. Three blind mice.
See how they run. See how they run.
They all ran after the farmer’s wife,
Who cut off their tails with a carving knife,
Did you ever see such a sight in your life,
As three blind mice?

(2) Today in 1976 – Earl Marlatt Died
Dr. Marlatt was an American educator who was professor of philosophy of religion and religious literature at Southern Methodist University in Texas. Though he wrote other poetry and hymn texts, he is mainly known for the hymn, “Are Ye Able,” Said the Master. The hymn was written for a service of consecration in 1926, while Mr. Marlatt was on the faculty of Boston University.

The song is unusual in that it lifts a verse of Scripture out of its context and misses the sad irony of the original. Just before Jesus went to the cross, the mother of James and John came to Him to ask if her sons could be given a prominent place in His coming kingdom. In response, the Lord asked them, “Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?”–a reference to His suffering and death. And the men answered, “We are able” (Matt. 20:22).

Knowing what was about to happen in coming days, we now see their self confidence as naive. In truth, when the time of testing came, “all the disciples forsook Him and fled” (Matt. 26:56). But we as learn that in later years, strengthened by the Spirit of God, one after another faced persecution and even death with holy boldness. To the later faithfulness of these “sturdy dreamers,” the hymn writer alludes with his use of the text. The hymn begins:

“Are ye able,” said the Master,
“To be crucified with Me?”
“Yea,” the sturdy dreamers answered,
“To the death we follow Thee.”

Lord, we are able. Our spirits are Thine.
Remold them, make us, like Thee, divine.
Thy guiding radiance above us shall be
A beacon to God, to love and loyalty.


Responses

  1. Bob:This story reminds me so much of Simon Peter telling Jesus he would follow him but because of spiritual weakness he fell asleep. How much we are reminded every day that although we think we are strong God knows and understands our weakness. It is only when we commit the situation that is happening in our lives to our God then and only then can we stay strong. I have come to realize that it is one moment of each day rather than one day at a time as we walk we our Lord. Keep them coming Bob I am really enjoying this series. God Bless
    Lorraine

    • Thanks. And you make a good point. And sometimes I find that it’s the “little things” in which I fail to rely on the Lord. We think we can handle them, but they have a way of tripping us up. In the words of Scripture, “Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (I Cor. 10:12).

  2. […] Marlatt was an American educator who was professor of philosophy of religion and religious literature at Southern Methodist University in Texas. Though he wrote other poetry and hymn texts, he is mainly known for the hymn, … View full post on methodist – Google Blog Search […]


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