You set me on a journey,
but take all I'd prepared
and send me out with nothing
to go I-know-not-where.
Without my sure provisions
and all my careful plans,
I go about my mission
with only empty hands.
I meant to scale the mountains
but had no rod or staff,
to sail the ocean's fountains,
but had no mast or raft,
so when I fell, I shattered,
and when I sank, I drowned,
and all my dreams were scattered
as ashes on the ground.
What is it, then, you've asked me?
(No money in my sack.)
With what, then, have you tasked me?
(No tunic for my back.)
There's nothing I can give you,
no glories for your name.
I am not worthy of you:
This is my constant shame.
But still your journey beckons,
and, sandal-less, I go
with nothing I had reckoned,
by roads I do not know.
You do not ask for wonders,
but only that I walk.
Then barefoot, let me blunder
along the road you've marked.
I have known the days of waiting
flowing from my heart-rent cry,
'til you stooped, O Lord, to save me;
'til you reached down from on high.
I have known the exultation
when I knew that you had heard,
raised my voice in celebration
and with joy proclaimed your word.
Have you known the days of waiting
when you called me to your side,
when your touch alone could save me
but I wandered far and wide?
Have you known the deep down grieving
when your call has gone unheard,
when I go forth unbelieving
and I push away your word?
There are other voices waiting,
other hands than mine upheld.
Will you come, O Lord, to save them?
Will you send me in your stead?
Give me ears to hear them calling;
give me eyes to see the signs.
Hands to lift up all the falling:
they are yours, O God, and mine.
I hear you call across the sand,
“Come, follow after me,”
but still my net is in my hand,
my feet are in the sea.
I hear you say, “Come after me
and cast your nets again.”
How, Master, can I leave the sea
and fish instead for men?
It's to this work that I was born,
to storm-tossed, angry seas.
My heart is hard; my nets are torn;
what can you do with these?
“Come after me,” still echoes on
like waves that strike the shore.
As you walk off into the dawn,
I long to hear you more.
How can you want the thing I am,
just this and nothing more?
But I will follow God's own Lamb
when he goes from the shore.
“Come after me”: Oh, Lord, I will
across the sand and sea.
I give you my torn nets to fill
while you are mending me.
No spirit hand is writing on the wall,
no words of flame are burning in my sight.
No disembodied midnight voices call
to tell me not to turn to left or right.
Instead, the human voices of my world
are calling me each moment of the day,
while human hands are pointing to you, Lord,
and human footsteps forge for me the way.
Some hands are withered, some are worked and worn,
or smooth or wrinkled, light or deeply dark.
They point me to your own hands, ripped and torn,
and show me every everlasting mark.
Then take your wounded hands and touch my eyes
to see in all these hands the spirit's flame.
Teach me to hear your voice in every guise,
in every call to work in your great name.
And may I, when they call, say, “Here I am.”
Here are my hands: oh, use them as you will!
And may my voice teach others of the Lamb
who died and rose, who lives and saves us still.
A single trumpet sounds,
a simple clarion call,
but somehow all the world resounds
with tones that rise and fall.
Unearthly song abounds
and holds our souls in thrall:
the music of the thorn-encrowned
that resonates in all.
Each one of us a note,
we sing back from a thousand throats
the music of the Christ.
Come: Life and love devote,
with every chord you prized,
to beautify the song he wrote
with all you've improvised.
No voice shall silent fall
nor echo fade away:
Resound each answer to the call
until the final day!
Oh, God, who hears them all
(Hear us, oh God, we pray!)
may we sing someday in your hall
for aye, for aye, for aye!