June 13, 2015

The Courage to Enter the Song

Gather Us In
Lyrics by Marty Haugen
Here in this place new light is streaming,
Now is the darkness vanished away,
See in this space our fears and our dreamings
Brought here to You in the light of this day.
Gather us in the lost and forsaken,
Gather us in the blind and the lame;
Call to us now and we shall awaken,
We shall arise at the sound of our name.
verses1-4 with refrain:
We are the young our lives are a mystery,
we are the old who yearn for your face.
We have been sung throughout all of history,
Called to be light to the whole human race.

Gather us in the rich and the haughty
Gather us in the proud and the strong,
Give us a heart so meek and so lowly,
Give us the courage to enter the song.

Here we will take the wine and the water,
Here we will take the bread of new birth,
Here you shall call your sons and your daughters,
Call us anew to be salt for the earth.

Give us to drink the wine of compassion,
Give us to eat the bread that is you;
Nourish us well and teach us to fashion,
lives that are holy and hearts that are true.

Not in the dark of buildings confining,
Not in some heaven light years away,
But here in this place the new light is shining,
Now is the Kingdom, now is the day.

Gather us in and hold us forever,
Gather us in and make us your own;
Gather us in all peoples together,
fire of love in our flesh and our bones.

When shall we arise at the sound of our name? Called to be light? A heart so meek and so lowly? Call us now, and we shall awaken? Salt of the earth, lives that are holy and true? Meditating on this song, listening to it, one realizes the possibility of its lyrics. This is powerful stuff. Powerful in its message of the possible, and in its encouragement. Is it not hopefulness ultimately that inspires so many acts of faithful goodness?
By proclaiming the Kingdom, we are informed that it must be here, it must be now. And we must awaken, rise to the sound of our name. The ancient Hebrew language, as well as many other languages past and present, give names to persons with a distinct meaning. Names carefully considered, and cautiously bestowed. They were not simply because of fashion, or because  they sounded pleasing to the parents or child's family.

Sometimes those names served up a tall order for the child who received them; sometimes they were more modest in their intentions. Names like Jesus, the Lord is salvation or Moses, Saviour; David, the Beloved or Sarah, Princess; Michael, Who is like God or Saul, Prayed for. What are you named? Why do you suppose that name was chosen? Do you ever think of its meaning, or who you are in the sound of your name? Is that your truest name? The Bible tells us we are all named, Beloved.  

Names do matter and they are important. Sometimes couples can't decide on a baby name, even with nine months of deliberations; not in some heaven, as the song goes, but here and now, they can't decide. Yet it is appealing, the thought that a name is bestowed which we can call upon someone, call them something. We can gather us in and hold us forever, make us your own, all peoples together, fire of love, flesh of our bones. The sound of a name.

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