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“Setting Right”: Put Your Hand in the Hand
2 FALL 2021
   The Rev. Dr. Daniel D. Scott, Moderator of the 2021 General Assembly
When my daughter was quite small, I was walking with her on the sidewalk in front of the manse. She was hold- ing my hand with her little hand, but really I was holding on to her. I’m not sure if she tried to dart away or if she just slipped. I remember holding her hand tightly, afraid she might fall into the street and get hit by a car. I real- ized something had happened when she let out an ear-piercing scream. Her elbow had dislocated.
My wife wrapped her in a blanket, and I whisked her off to Southlake Hospital. A young resident came and asked my daughter to sit on the exam- ining table. He asked if she liked pop- sicles and when she nodded yes, he went and got one. The doctor asked if he could examine her arm and she nodded. He quickly popped it back into place and put the popsicle in her mouth before she could even cry out. He asked if she was okay and with tear-filled eyes she nodded yes.
Satisfied that everything was in order, we were let go and advised that her elbow may dislocate again at times, but it was easy to set right.
Fortunately, it only ever happened once after that.
I understand that the Greek word used often in the New Testament for “correct” or “reprove” has its back- ground in medicine. It refers to the setting right of a bone.
This Greek word elencto, from which J. H. Bavinck, Dutch mis- sionary to Indonesia, developed his missionary approach known as elenctics, is used throughout the New Testament for believers as well, saying that they too need to be cor- rected or “set right.” Paul to Timothy (2:42) wrote: “Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of sea- son; set right, rebuke and encour- age—with great patience” and to the young Titus (2:15) said: “These... are the things you should teach. En- courage and set right with all author- ity.” John in the book of Revelation writes, “those whom I love I rebuke and set right.”
At the recent General Assembly, there were several items that suggest- ed The Presbyterian Church in Canada has some “setting right” to do.
Even before the Assembly could turn to deal with matters that needed to be corrected, unmarked graves were discovered at a Residential School in Kamloops, B.C. A service of prayers of confession, silence and lament took place during General As- sembly, and once again the church committed to make right the historic wrongs of the Residential Schools in a document signed by two modera- tors (see page 5).
Our interfaith guest to the Assem- bly was from the Muslim-Christian Association. His community was reeling from the news of a sense- less and malicious killing of a Muslim family in London, Ont. It suggested that in welcoming our Islamic friends and neighbours, there is much that
still needs to be set right.
For four years, the Rainbow Com-
munion has been listening to stories of harm done by the church to LGT- BQI members. The report and its rec- ommendations included expressions and actions of repentance and apol- ogy, but also concrete steps—revi- sion of theological school curricula, training documents for churches and courts, provision of funds for coun- selling, etc.— to ensure things are set right.
The Assembly asked that several letters be written to various public of- ficials about many important items. One of these issues relates to the care of creation and the environment. We’ve not always attended to the care of the world, and this too needs to be set right.
There were other items, some tucked into omnibus motions that recognize there are things that need correction. For example, a clear statement was produced by the Life and Mission Agency dealing with physical punishment of children.
A few weeks before the first lock- down, I attended “An Evening with John Irving” in Uxbridge, Ont. I am a big fan of his novels—especially A Prayer for Owen Meany, which I think is one of the best books on call, vo- cation and the riddle of our existence. Terrence Des Pres writes that, “Novel by novel, Irving has moved steadily toward more intimate knowledge of this sinister’s demonic undertow at exactly those points where, any day, any one of us might slip and be sucked down.” Irving recognizes in his books that these forces need to be set right.
So, too, did our Lord Jesus. When Peter’s mother-in-law suffered from a fever, Jesus “rebuked” the illness and “it left her” (Luke 4:39). When Jesus and his disciples were at sea
In the Summer 2021 edition a piece of text was cut off on page 43 in the Just Wondering section. For clarity, the full answer is provided here and can also be found in the online version of the newspaper at
Can we change, add verses or al- ter the words of a hymn or praise song?
If the words of a song or hymn are copyrighted, the text cannot be changed without the permission of the copyright holder. While chang-
and a severe storm endangered the ship, Jesus “rebuked the wind and said to the sea, ‘Peace, be still!’” (Mark 4:39). We are all affected by the undertows of mysterious diseas- es and awesome storms. We need the power of Jesus to set things right.
Throughout the Assembly, the commissioners were led in prayers including the saying of the Lord’s Prayer. We didn’t use the version included in Eugene Peterson’s The Message, but we could have. It goes like this:
Our Father in heaven, Reveal who you are. Set the world right; Do what’s best—
as above, so below.
Keep us alive with three square meals.
Keep us forgiven with you and for-
ing the words of a hymn or adding a verse may seem insignificant, changing the lyrics without per- mission will put you in violation of copyright and could lead to legal re- percussions.
However, things are different for hymns or songs in the public do- main. Some music leaders change the lyrics of hymns in the public domain to make the language of the songs reflective of their context or easier to understand. For instance, there are obvious benefits to chang- ing “By Cool Siloam’s Shady Rill”
giving others.
Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.
You’re in charge!
You can do anything you want! You’re ablaze in beauty!
Yes. Yes. Yes.
In setting the world right, our prayers may be answered by the work that we do together as The Presbyterian Church IN Canada, es- pecially when it comes to many of the social issues of today. However, we must never forget that it is ulti- mately God who sets the world right through Jesus Christ.
Like the song that Anne Mur- ray used to sing, we need to be re- minded: “Put your hand in the hand of the man who stilled the water... who calmed the sea...the man from Galilee.”
to “By Cool Siloam’s Shady Pool.” Even though the verses of the hymn no longer rhyme as they used to, at least the singers know what they are singing about. And it may make lots of sense to change “shouldst” to “should,” and “thy” to “your” or to “God’s” if it clarifies the meaning of the hymn, nurtures the singer’s understanding and still scans well within the metre of the music.
This is a permitted practice with hymns in the public domain, but, as already mentioned, it is not permit- ted with hymns that are copyrighted.

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