The kingdom of God is within you. Luke 17:21
Words: Mary A. Lathbury, 1903. Lathbury wrote these words as a poem to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle. References to the outdoors reflect the Circle’s birth in the woods near Lake Chautauqua, New York.
Music: Gerald Ludwig Spohr, Das Heiland’s Letzte Stunde 1834 (🔊 pdf nwc).
O wondrous world within a world
How beautiful thou art!
What high desire, what holy fire
Lie glowing at thy heart!
What beauty, like the silent stars,
Hangs ever o’er thy brow;
What youth, as old as Paradise,
Springs deathless in thee now!
Where did we learn to love thy face—
The music of thy name?
A leafy door beside the shore
Was opened—and we came.
Our lost ideals, grown more fair,
Thronged back through all thy ways;
Another life—a real life—
Filled all our empty days.
The world smiled, saying,
These are they
Who live among the trees;
Whose thoughts rise higher than the stars
And soar beyond the trees.
They do not weigh their wealth with gold
Or measure it with fame;
They speak a language all their own
They bear a hidden name.
So weighs the world its own true life,
Nor knows it as its own,
While, life of life, above all strife
God waits upon His throne;
He waits until the world of things
And the world of thoughts shall be
Blent in that perfect thing we call
The new humanity.
What joy is thine, O world within,
To bear thy banners out,
And there to claim in God’s dear name
The last and least redoubt!
The earth is His—the heav’ns are His,
He stooped to make them one
When that great mystery was wrought
That gave us God the Son.
The world without is blind to thee,
Thou world of the within,
Yet through the years thy saints and seers
Its oracles have been.
Still trust them with thy prophecies;
Still through them breathe thy breath;
Till honor blossoms from the dust
And life spring out of death.