Mrs. Looyenga is a member of South Holland Protestant Reformed Church. She wrote this poem for the 75th anniversary and read it at the Pre-Convention Singspiration.
When energy burst forth from God’s creating mind,
His Spirit, by the power of His spoken Word, gave form,
And there was light. What creature saw it when it shined,
Illuminating, radiating warm
Upon the universe of matter waiting there?
When firmament was for the heavens placed,
And waters gathered from the land still bare,
Hills skipped and vales rejoiced as waters raced.
A universal chorus started thus—
“Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us,
But unto Thee be glory given,
Whose Word has called to being Earth and Heaven.”
When trees sprang up at His command,
Full-flowered, bearing seed of kind,
And herb and grass and flowers filled the land,
And sun was for the bearing of day’s light designed,
When moon and stars were in the heavens strung
As lesser lights illuminating night,
And planets circled, in their courses hung,
He called from dust His creatures — fish and birds in flight,
And animals of sizes small and great.
Then formed in His own image from the dust,
A man, who with God’s breath inspired, joined with the chorus, “Not to us.”
Then fallen Lucifer came into Eden’s glade,
And saw the beauty of friend-servants walking with their God
Beholding goodness of the things that God had made,
He formed a plan, and evil was abroad.
Inhabiting a serpent, he came there to tempt the man,
Approaching woman formed from man — his life, his love,
And bringing her the lie to taste it first and question God’s command:
“If you shall taste of knowledge — you shall be as God above,
And unto us — yes, unto us — shall glory then be given.”
She ate forbidden fruit, and gave to Adam. Since then man has striven
For the glory of himself — this creature formed of dust.
And all Creation then began to groan, “Deliver us!”
God saw the man and woman hidden and afraid,
Ashamed and naked in their sinful state,
The serpent, arrogant, was on his belly laid,
Devouring dust until the Devil met his fate,
The man and woman, by sin’s stroke condemned to die,
But not before abundant weeds sprang up to choke the earth,
While man would toil beneath a blazing sky.
The woman, also, in her giving birth,
Would find as her attendant Sorrow now,
And tension greatly strain the tender vow
She made to serve the one God gave to be her head.
But grace breaks through with promise that the woman’s seed
Would slay the serpent’s. God would do this mighty deed.
Not unto us be glory giv’n — not unto us, O God,
For shedding of the blood that would clothe Adam and his wife,
Not unto us the glory for an ark of grace upon the mighty flood,
Bearing thy chosen man of righteousness and all his kin to life.
And not to us the glory of confusion in great Babel’s plain,
Where tongues demanding “Glory unto us on earth!”
Were silenced, and man’s strivings proved in vain.
Not from our mouths the call that separated Abram from his land of birth
And brought him safely to the Promised Land.
Not from our arms the strength that brought forth Israel’s band
From their Egyptian bondage — holding back the sea,
And feeding them with bread of life conveniently.
Not by our wills the parting of the Jordan’s mighty swell,
Nor safe returning to the land promised by Thee.
Not unto us the glory for kings routed while the great walls fell,
For that inheritance that spoke of rest eternally.
Thine be the glory, Thine alone.
For type and shadow of the One to ransom Israel,
For David, man after Thy heart, upon his royal throne,
From whom the Son of God would come — Emmanuel.
The prophets’ voices brought Thy Word of comfort and of warning
To those who, long in darkness, waited for salvation’s morning.
In disappointed wrath their God would not destroy,
Dry bones would rise to sing “Not unto us!” with joy.
And so it was accomplished through a mighty paradox:
A virgin maid gave birth to this Emmanuel
Within a stable’s walls. While lowly shepherds over flocks
Were watching, an angel chorus came from Heaven to tell.
“Glory to God!” their voices chorused,
And as they echoed through the hillside, all Creation sighed with joy.
Salvation’s riches came to lowest, poorest,
Ancient of days appeared incarnate in a baby boy!
And sent from heaven’s eternal throne,
The Son will wrap Himself in time to save His Own.
Not unto us, O humble Lamb, not unto us,
The glory of atonement, the Just One perishes to make us just!
The burden of our sins, our griefs, the Savior bears,
Saddened with sorrows, and languishing with loss
We should have borne ourselves. The cares
Of all His Own He gathers willingly. His steps turn toward the cross,
And in the space of but a few short hours,
The Woman’s Seed unto this single Root diminished
Takes on the Serpent and his fiendish powers,
Then with triumphant voice cries, “It is finished!”
And now the grave awaits His broken body; blood and water into dust shall seep,
For but a little while, only for three days He shall sleep.
Before the day of resurrection — day of hope for all who die in Him.
Not unto us the power that flung the dark tomb open, releasing us from sin!
Not by our power the Spirit’s pouring out on Pentecost,
With sound of rushing wind, and cloven tongues of flame,And words that fell upon the opened ears of Gentiles that were lost,
Not ours the grace that called the persecutor, Saul, by name
On that Damascus road, and turned his heart to spread the Way with zeal.
Thine is the glory for the apostolic band
That by Thy Great Commission set out to reveal
The gospel to all men in every land.
Not by their strength did Ancient Fathers faithfully defend
The Truths on which Thy promises depend.
Though slain by wild beast, and fire, and swords,
They went to Death as martyrs for their Lord.
Not ours the glory of the Reformation’s Sun,
Dispelling all the shadows of the darkest age
Since Christ had come, in which Thy Word from common tongue
Had all but disappeared, interpreted by those who sought to gauge
Man’s faith again by deeds of righteousness.
Praise be to Thee for seeking men who found within Thy Word revealed
“The Just Shall Live by Faith.” Who in their great distress
For those deceived reopened Truths that long to them were sealed.
Not unto us the honor for the Truth preserved from then
Until this day by multitude of faithful men,
Who championed Thy uncommon grace, Thy sovereignty,
Maintaining Soli Deo Gloria, “Not to us, but unto Thee!”
Not unto us, who march beneath Truth’s standard here on earth,
‘Til He returns upon the clouds to claim His Own.
No — unto Thee, Eternal Covenant God, be all the worth,
Thine be the praise, the glory—the work is Thine alone.
In deep humility we bow before Thee, Sovereign One,
Who sought and bought Thy church, Thy blessed bride,
With blood and water of Thy Own Begotten Son,
And poured the Spirit of the very One who died
Upon us, that we might go forth to every nation, tribe, and tongue,
Bearing salvation’s truth. In every land therefore be sung,
“Not unto us, O Sovereign, Covenant Lord of Earth and Heaven,
But unto Thee, our Maker and Redeemer, be all glory given.”