Guests of my life,
You came in the early dawn, and you in the night.
Your name was uttered by the Spring flowers and yours by the showers of rain.
You brought the harp into my house and you brought the lamp.
After you had taken your leave I found God’s foot-prints on my floor.
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Maureen and I share a love for the hymn, “He Comes to Us as One Unknown.” The text and tune capture both the epic sweep and broad arc of God’s reach to us, and also the mysterious nature of the approach – not in ways you would expect.
God never comes in ways you would expect, naturally. And that’s the compelling thing about faith.
As breath and pulse, God is the latent presence of life itself. In silence and sound, and like the flowing currents of seas and breeze, God’s spirit moves within our hearts as a voice that calls our real name known only to us. As Jesus, the presence of God in the flesh, a truth revealed and yet to be fully revealed. In scripture, lived out as wisdom – not on the page, but in our imperfect lives. Imperfect? Yes, but God, who is in the business of creating, redeeming, becoming, perfecting, and re-inventing, will do something new within us.
Who’s to say how and when God comes, except for the evidence of her presence? Oh, that we would be open to recognize the ways God shows up. That we could be hospitable to the presence of God in others. That we could be God’s presence to others.
Come to us, God
Open our spirits to your mystery
Open our eyes to your beauty
Open our ears to your voice
Open our hearts to your love
Open our lives to your truth
Here’s Maureen’s arrangement of the hymn tune and the text below it:
He comes to us as one unknown, a breath unseen, unheard;
as though within a heart of stone, or shriveled seed in darkness sown,
a pulse of being stirred.
He comes when souls in silence lie and thoughts of day depart;
half-seen upon the inward eye, a falling star across the sky
of night within the heart.
He comes to us in sound of seas, the ocean’s fume and foam;
yet small and still upon the breeze, a wind that stirs the tops of trees,
a voice to call us home.
He comes in love as once he came by flesh and blood and birth;
to bear within our mortal frame a life, a death, a saving name,
for every child of earth.
He comes in truth when faith is grown; believed, obeyed, adored;
the Christ in all the scriptures shown, as yet unseen, but not unknown,
our Savior and our Lord.
Text: Timothy Dudley-Smith, © 1973, Hope Publishing Co.
Tune: REPTON, by C. Hubert H. Parry, 1888; this arrangement: Maureen Howell © 2020
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