Several weeks ago at St. Paul's, we sang "Gather Us In." Now, as with many things, it takes several hearings before it stands out so I have probably heard this hymn before. It grabbed my attention right off the bat with the place reference. It describes so much of what I have been trying to articulate about Philip Sheldrake's work Spaces for the Sacred that welcomes the periphery into the whole...the marginalized and broken, the ambiguous and forgotten people and memories are brought out into the Eucharist. Here...not just in the church, but at the altar we bring our fears and our dreams...offering the human pathos. So much more should be said about this wonderful hymn. If you've not heard it you can hear it above and read it below.
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.
We are the young - our lives are a mystery
we are the old - who yearns for you 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 of 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 usin the and hold us forever
gather usin and make us your own
gather us in all peoples together
fire of love in our flesh and our bone.