A great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 1 Kings 19:11–12
Words: John G. Whittier, in the Atlantic Monthly, April 1872. These words are from a long narrative poem, The Brewing of Soma. It describes Vedic priests going into the forest and drinking themselves into a stupor with a concoction called
soma. They try to have a religious experience and contact the spirit world. It is after setting that scene that Whittier draws his lesson:
Dear Lord, and Father of mankind, forgive our foolish ways…
The hymn was sung in the 2007 movie Atonement, which won an Academy Award for best score. The hymn is as relevant today as when it was written. In a modern context, it speaks to the drug culture, and those looking for an
experience to prove the reality of God.
If you know where to get a good photo of Maker (head-and-shoulders, at least 200×300 pixels),
Dear Lord and Father of mankind,
Forgive our foolish ways;
Reclothe us in our rightful mind,
In purer lives Thy service find,
In deeper reverence, praise.
In simple trust like theirs who heard,
Beside the Syrian sea,
The gracious calling of the Lord,
Let us, like them, without a word,
Rise up and follow Thee.
O Sabbath rest by Galilee,
O calm of hills above,
Where Jesus knelt to share with Thee
The silence of eternity,
Interpreted by love!
With that deep hush subduing all
Our words and works that drown
The tender whisper of Thy call,
As noiseless let Thy blessing fall
As fell Thy manna down.
Drop Thy still dews of quietness,
Till all our strivings cease;
Take from our souls the strain and stress,
And let our ordered lives confess
The beauty of Thy peace.
Breathe through the heats of our desire
Thy coolness and Thy balm;
Let sense be dumb, let flesh retire;
Speak through the earthquake, wind, and fire,
O still, small voice of calm.