Hymns have a way

Hymns have a way of catching one unawares.

While on a relaxing holiday, I slowly read through M. Basil Pennington’s Engaging the World with Merton: on retreat in Tom’s hermitage (Paraclete: 2005). It was much about the reality of God’s presence in the immediate here and now. At the first Sunday Eucharist after our return to our home church, the very first hymn we sang was "God himself is present" (Together in Song 121). Only a few lines has been sung before I was lost to tears.


God himself is present,
let us now adore him
as with awe we come before him
God is in our midst, now
in our hearts keep silence,
worshipping in deepest reverence.
Him we know,
him we name,
come and let us make him
our renewed surrender.

O majestic Being,
I would praise you duly
and my service render to you
in the selfsame spirit
as the holy angels,
ever standing in your presence.
Grant me now
so to strive
evermore to please you,
dearest God, in all things.

Let your glorious light, Lord,
permeating all things,
reach my face and eyes to touch them;
as the tender flowers
open out their petals,
to the sun their hearts unfolding,
so may I,
calm in joy,
hold your rays from heaven,
power within me working.

Lord, make me your dwelling,

let my heart and spirit

be for you an earthly temple:

come, Immediate Being,

my whole life illumine,

so I’ll always praise and love you,

so where’er

I may be

there I may perceive you,

ever bow before you.

Tune: Wunderbarer König—Joachim Neander 1650-80

Word Gerhard Tersteegen 1697 1769, tr. Honor Mary Thwaites 1914-93″life-and-love”;”2007-10-01-15-29″;”edit_date”;”2011-03-10-02-57″;”God’s own self is present”;”5.235.158″;”0.24.235″;”5.212.28″;”8.167″;”8.185″;”5.106″;”8.135″;”1.205″;”1.147″;”1.229″;”1.197″;”1.209″;”1.206″;”1.200″;”1.235″;”1.183″;”5.11″;”5.47″;”2.151″;”1.20″;”2.81″;e=1192″;”gods-own-self-is-present”;”

On my recent holiday, I slowly read