Just got back from church this morning, and one of the songs really spoke to me.
Now, those amongst you who grew up in the painfully religious churches of this land will probably be familiar with this particular monotonous dirge. However, if you can manage to shake off the memory of boredom from overlong services, and songs sung with a lack of passion that adequately mirrored the congregation’s engagement with God, the words of this song are pretty beautiful.
Take two minutes – actually read it:
Dear Lord and Father of mankind,
Forgive our foolish ways;
Reclothe us in our rightful mind,
In purer lives Thy service find,
In deeper reverence, praise.
In simple trust like theirs who heard,
Beside the Syrian sea,
The gracious calling of the Lord,
Let us, like them, without a word,
Rise up and follow Thee.
O Sabbath rest by Galilee,
O calm of hills above,
Where Jesus knelt to share with Thee
The silence of eternity,
Interpreted by love!
With that deep hush subduing all
Our words and works that drown
The tender whisper of Thy call,
As noiseless let Thy blessing fall
As fell Thy manna down.
Drop Thy still dews of quietness,
Till all our strivings cease;
Take from our souls the strain and stress,
And let our ordered lives confess
The beauty of Thy peace.
Breathe through the heats of our desire
Thy coolness and Thy balm;
Let sense be dumb, let flesh retire;
Speak through the earthquake, wind, and fire,
O still, small voice of calm.
Interestingly, it’s from a poem by JG Whittier, called “The Brewing of Soma“, where he talks about a load of druids getting wasted on hallucinogenic concoctions, and then realising that the only way to God is to live lives of peace, love and praise. One verse in the poem is thought to talk about the way Christianity sometimes concentrates too much on the other stuff rather than lifestyle and God:
As in that child-world’s early year,
Each after age has striven
By music, incense, vigils drear,
And trance, to bring the skies more near,
Or lift men up to heaven!
Whilst its a good point, I think there is a place for music, (expecially “trance“, or maybe drum ‘n bass…?), butit is important that quietness shouldn’t be forgotten.