Here is a new hymn text which grew out of a Trinitarian reflection on John 1.1-18. I have a feeling that a couple of the verses are still in process of development, so any suggestions would be grateful received. In the meanwhile, if you wish to field test it in worship then you are welcome to reproduce it provided you acknowledge authorship and source (crammedwithheaven.org).
All is Love
Before the time when time began,
before the cosmos came to be,
God lived in love and love was all
and love o’erflowed the One in Three.
The Father spoke and glory shone,
creating both the day and night.
The Word of God was life for all,
eternal, undivided light.
Though sin has done its spoiling work,
with life corrupted, love ignored,
our Christ has come, redeeming all:
a life laid down, a love outpoured.
Come, Holy Spirit, fill my heart,
repair my life, renew my will,
that I may know and share your love
and Christ may all my living fill.
I worship and adore you, Lord,
I praise you, Father, Spirit, Son;
for you are mine and I am yours,
eternal Love, beloved One.
Christopher J Ellis
Tunes: Tallis’s Canon
Come Together (Jimmy Owens)
Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God:
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes,
The rest sit round it, and pluck blackberries…
from Aurora Leigh by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s lines have often been quoted by writers on spirituality.They are an invitation to see in the world signs of God’s presence and glory.
Yet they carry a caution about eating blackberries which could be misunderstood. Such sentiments could be seen as a form of elitism. ‘I can see what you can’t see!’ We might even call it a form of aesthetic gnosticism if we wanted to coin some fancy language, suggesting that you have to be in the know, or part of a special group, in order to see the glory. The teaching of Jesus goes in quite a different direction:
Then turning to the disciples, Jesus said to them privately, ‘Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.’ (Luke 10.23f.)
This business of seeing is elusive – it is about having eyes open – about not being distracted by accumulating things – about seeing the world as gift – about a readiness to appreciate what we see (or hear) without immediately assuming it is for our gain – remember the story of Winnie the Pooh and the bees!
It’s not straightforward – but, then, simplicity often isn’t , because the labyrinthine workings of our hearts are not straightforward. But I hope my musings on this blog will be an invitation to see the glory – or be wanting to see the glory (which is a good start). I’ll muse on other themes as well, but I hope we can develop a conversation which encourages us to see better and see more consistently the glory of God.
One closing thought: it isn’t only in beauty that we see the glory of God (see Isaiah 53.2f.) but that’s a theme for another day…