Monday, 26 August 2013

Lord of all being

Christ enthroned on the rainbow, from the Doom painting at Wenhaston, Suffolk

Woke up this morning with this hymn running through my mind... I remember singing it at school. (The words are by Oliver Wendell Holmes, and you can read about him and it here.) It felt good to sing it out loud while HALO and Canis Minor were out for their early walk (my turn comes later).  I love the imagery of God as both "throned afar" and so close to our hearts - and as "centre and soul of every sphere".

I'm not sure about the third verse, though... I have known God's smile at midnight and I love clouds - I'd rather think of them as "God's ambassadors" (cf Mary Oliver) than symbols of sin. What do you think?

Lord of all being, throned afar,
thy glory flames from sun and star;
centre and soul of every sphere,
yet to each loving heart how near!
Sun of our life, thy quickening ray
sheds on our path the glow of day;
Star of our hope, thy softened light
cheers the long watches of the night.
Our midnight is thy smile withdrawn,
our noontide is thy gracious dawn,
our rainbow arch thy mercy's sign;
all, save the clouds of sin, are thine.
Lord of all life, below, above,
whose light is truth, whose warmth is love,
before thy ever-blazing throne
we ask no lustre of our own.
Grant us thy truth to make us free,
and kindling hearts that burn for thee,
till all thy living altars claim
one holy light, one heavenly flame.

Source: Church Hymnary (4th ed.) #125

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