This is My body which is given for you. Luke 22:19
The hymn text originated while I was shaving one morning (a time when I get a lot of original ideas). I was editor of This Day magazine at the time.
Since my teenage years I have been writing and translating poetry, so many poetic phrases run through my mind, some of them ending up on paper. Somewhere in the back of my mind, during my previous eighteen years in the full time parish ministry, I was accumulating reasons and benefits in worship.
I have felt that we often get so little out of worship because we anticipate so little, and we seldom come with a bucket large enough to catch all the shower of grace that comes to us in that setting.
Suddenly the hymn began to form in my mind as a list of awesome and exciting things that one should expect in worship, culminating in the Eucharist and benediction. The introit or entrance hymn resulted.
Subconsciously I was producing a hymn without rhyme or without worn clichés, depending entirely on rhythm and repetition to make it singable. The reversal of the Trinitarian order in the benediction was made not only to make the conclusion memorable, but to indicate the order in which the Trinity approaches us in worship: The Spirit brings us the Gospel, by which God’s blessing is released in our lives.
Now the silence, now the peace,
Now the empty hands uplifted;
Now the kneeling, now the plea,
Now the Father’s arms in welcome;
Now the hearing, now the power,
Now the vessel brimmed for pouring;
Now the body, now the blood,
Now the joyful celebration;
Now the wedding, now the songs,
Now the heart forgiven, leaping;
Now the Spirit’s visitation,
Now the Son’s epiphany;
Now the Father’s blessing,
Now, now, now.
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