Our sermon hymn this past Sunday, March 15, was “Christ, Be Our Light.” We do not know when we will be able to meet together again to worship next. In a month? In two? As I said before, Carol and I choose the hymns weeks in advance. Who would have known that this one would speak so powerfully to us in that moment through the marriage of music and words of which only hymns are capable?
This hymn by Bernadette Farrell (b. 1957) takes us from longing for signs of God’s kingdom in the midst of the world’s darkness, trouble, hunger, and homelessness, to a prophetic yearning in stanza 5 that God would make us servants so we may minister to those who need it most. Through it all, we plea for the light of Christ to shine through us.
Isn’t this exactly where we are, each of us? We find ourselves gazing incredulously into the vast spaces of social isolation that seem to stretch endlessly all directions: Longing for light, we wait in darkness; longing for peace, our world is troubled; longing for food, many are hungry; longing for the shelter (from the virus), we are homeless (in a context that we can’t begin to fathom). In the midst of this, O gracious God, make us your servants! Teach us anew how to love our neighbor and care for those whose souls are downcast!
Friends, take heart. Your church is here for you in every way that modern technology makes available. Perhaps God even created technology for such a time as this. :)
Please follow the music below to this wonderfully uplifting rendition by the University of Notre Dame (Indiana) folk choir. Their faces reflect how I feel whenever I sing this hymn—full of joy and hope. I pray that the setting in the campus’ gorgeous Basilica of the Sacred Heart reminds you of the all that worship can be.
Grace and peace, Pastor Raabe