This was written for Coventry Cathedral, as the final hymn of their diamond jubileee celebration service, on 25th May 2022. The first, second and final verse are suitable for any service on the general themes of reconciliation, forgiveness, diversity, and so on. The third verse is particularly suitable for the Cathedral, reflecting on the history of that specific building and how destruction paved the way for its ministry of reconciliation. Most of the scriptural, cultural and theological references are probably fairly obvious, but if anyone would like me to provide a short commentary, I’d be very happy to do so.
Be in our midst, and gather us together,
and let your loving-kindness be our guide,
Help us discern your image in each other,
and walk with humble footsteps by your side.
Send us to work, O Lord, Almighty Giver,
‘till all who thirst and hunger now are filled,
Let justice thunder like a mighty river,
And let the storms of strife and conflict now be stilled.
When all the world’s great sorrows overtake us,
and we are crushed by centuries of pain,
lend us your strength, and lovingly remake us
that by your grace we may be whole again.
And when the sins of passing generations
make all the wounds of hist’ry still feel raw,
send out your healing power among the nations,
and fill this broken earth with heaven’s peace once more.
*A verse for the Cathedral only
And if the cross, the site of such destruction,
a sign of violence, suffering and sin,
can be redeemed to witness resurrection,
and be a place where life can still begin,
then iron and wood and stone can sing their stories:
‘Father, forgive’ these very walls have prayed,
that what was lost could birth still brighter glories,
and what was hurt can be transfigured and remade.
Grant us that peace beyond the mind’s discerning,
Help us to live the truth that sets us free.
And may the Spirit’s fire within us burning
help us become who we are called to be.
In eager longing for your new creation,
a world reshaped by love and hope and grace,
with Christ the Prince of Peace as our foundation,
we’ll build your kingdom now, in this and every place.
Tune: Londonderry Air (184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11)