12th August 2020

Honesta Obtinete

“Test all things; hold fast that which is good.”
I Thessalonians 5:21 (NKJV)

There is not a lot of Latin that I remember from my school days. In our second year of secondary school we spent a term each on Latin, German and Classical Studies. I chose German to couple with the compulsory French. When the verb conjugation would get the better of us, we would find solace in the following ditty:
Latin is a language, Dead as Dead Can Be,
First it Killed the Romans, Now It’s Killing Me.

The one piece of Latin which remains with me all these decades later is my school motto Honesta Obtinete—hold fast to that which is good. Our school song went:
In all things give praise & rejoice, Honesta Obtinete
And labour together with pride, Honesta Obtinete.
To honour strength of mind, to comfort the fearful of heart,
Hold fast to that which is good, hold fast to truth and right. 

For we are the children of light, Honesta Obtinete
And we are the children of day, Honesta Obtinete
Quench not the Spirit that seeks to follow the vision of seers.
Hold fast to that which is good, hold fast to truth and right. 

Be watchful & sober in thought; Honesta Obtinete
Thus cometh the wisdom & power, Honesta Obtinete
Put on the breastplate of faith; the helmet of love and hope.
Hold fast to that which is good, hold fast to truth and right.

Songs have been used to teach from the days of Moses such as in Deuteronomy 32:1–43, right up to modern times such as the alphabet song and the periodic table song. In Ephesians we are instructed to speak in Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs (chapter 5:19) which would presume a prior knowledge of them.

Apparently, there was a second verse to my anonymous childhood ditty – who knew?!
All are dead who spoke it. All are dead who wrote it.
All are dead who learned it, Lucky dead, they’ve earned it.
The dead (in Christ) are indeed blessed, they have made it and can claim their crown of righteousness (II Timothy 4:8). Let us also put on that armour of God (Ephesians 6:11) continue to fight that good fight, finish the course and keep the faith (II Timothy 4:7).

Who knew back then as we sang our school song each week that we were singing words of life? So, in the words of the Rosa Bassett School song, let’s encourage one another to: Hold fast to that which is good, hold fast to truth and right!

Loving Eternal Father, thank You for Your love, your patience and the crown of righteousness You hold in place for us. Thank You for sending your Spirit to help us continue that good fight, enabling us to finish the course and keep the faith. In Jesus’ name we pray.

Study by Jackee Brown


About the Author:
Jackee Brown is a member in the Worldwide Church of God UK Congregation in London, a part of Grace Communion International .

Local Congregation:
Worldwide Church of God London
Indian YMCA Student Hostel
Mahatma Gandhi Hall
41 Fitzroy Square

Meeting Time:
Saturday 2:30pm

Local Congregational Contact:
Barry Robinson
Email: london@gracecom.church


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