This hymn was written out of many conversations
with my friend and colleague Russ Dean.
Russ has, for many years now
(decades, actually … we’re getting old, Russ!),
thoughtfully and faithfully been reconciling
faith and reason, experience, belief and science.
I wanted to offer him some of our conversation as hymn.
It’s certainly not that singing’s any more important
than thinking through and speaking
the ideas, language and imagery incorporated into a hymn,
but singing feels symbolic of having reached another level
in the ongoing conversation.
Because we don’t sing about that which we’re still
What we sing has passed the basic test
of being acknowledged as worth affirming and celebrating.
We’re singing it, Russ!
The meter is 10.10.11.11. which works with LYONS,
the tune to which the hymn “O Worship the King” is sung.
The first and seventh verses are sung as that melody is written.
The second through the sixth verses though
are transposed into the minor key.
If, when our major faith affirmations are confronted
by the minor keys of life,
we faithfully, thoughtfully and honestly
sing into and through the discomfort,
we can end up—can—
back with our major faith affirmation—
revised, probably, yet affirmed.
We doggedly sing the faith we confess,
that comfort does bring, and relevance profess.
In spite of the wondering, the doubting what’s true,
it leaves us believing and hoping anew.
The living that’s stress, the fear that clings tight,
dark days that depress, the absence of light,
we look to our faith, and we look for our God—
and find very little beyond the facade.
When death and dis-ease and tragedy strike,
and no one at all knows what you feel like,
no easy God answers do justify pain,
and simplistic thinking fails us as inane.
Traditional words no longer hold weight.
The stories we heard no meaning create.
The strong affirmations that once we believed—
the old celebrations now all seem naive.
We no more accept the stories as told—
the idolatry of God in our mold.
Our distrust of power we honor as wise,
and knit back together a faith we revise.
We’re facing the truth without any fear.
We no longer rue the view through our tears,
but honor our reason and science’s claims
and thus find grounds legion to ponder God’s aims.
God-with-us as love transforms every now—
not pow’r from above, but presence below.
God always does everything that God can do—
the song that we sing that we treasure as true.