I have finally figured out the hymn, whose tune was running through my head so insistently yesterday. I knew I had the words wrong, but I thought the crave was wrong and that it should have been praise. Ha, was I wrong. Here are the words to the hymn, written by Sylvia Dunstan.
You, Lord, are both Lamb and Shepherd,
You, Lord, are both prince and slave.
You, peacemaker and sword bringer,
Of the way you took and gave.
You the everlasting instant;
You, whom we both scorn and crave.
Clothed in light upon the mountain,
Stripped of might upon the cross,
Shining in eternal glory,
Beggared by a soldier’s toss,
You, the everlasting instant,
You, who are both gift and cost!
You, who walk each day beside us,
Sit in power at God’s side.
You, who preach a way that’s narrow,
Have a love that reaches wide.
You, the everlasting instant;
You, who are our pilgrim guide.
Worthy is our earthly Jesus!
Worthy is our cosmic Christ!
Worthy your defeat and victory.
Worthy still your peace and strife.
You the everlasting instant
You, who are our death and life.
-Sylvia Dunstan, Copyright 1991
This hymn so brilliantly presents us with the complexity of the many facets of Jesus and of our relationship with him.
Yes we scorn him at times, we reject his ways, ignore his calling, yet we crave a relationship with him because we know it is essential for meaningful living.
Yes he is both gift and cost. God’s gift to us, for salvation and life, God’s cost in the depth of pain that both he and Jesus endured to bring that gift…but also cost to us, because taking up our cross and following him means that we are all in. This is not a half way commitment.
Yes he is both pilgrim and guide. He walks this journey with us, and yet he also goes ahead and beckons us onward. In that role he if both friend and protector, both comforter and challenger. As we walk with him we know both peace and turmoil.
Yes he is both death and life. He died, and lived again, but he also died for our life. And in responding to him we both die to what we were and what held us bound and rise again in the eternal life he came to give us.
But the ultimate paradox of who Jesus is for us is in the first line of the chorus, which calls him the everlasting instant.
An instant is a breath, here and gone in a second, yet everlasting is eternal. For me that is what I have repeatedly been trying to learn about my own life, that the struggle is temporary it is here and it will be gone, but that the peace, hope, comfort and confidence that I have from Jesus is eternal. God is with me, Christ is in me and the Spirit guides me, now in this instant and forever.
Yes Jesus is all those things and some days I fear what he calls forth in me and other days I crave with a desperate need what he brings me. I hope that in the balance of the paradox of who Jesus is and how I respond to him, there is more faith that fear, more grace than denial and more love than scorn.
Today’s Prayer: EVERLASTING INSTANT
Eternal God, creator of the Universe
Victory belongs to you in death and in life
Entering your courts I praise your name
Renewing my vows to love you and serve you
Leaving my offering before your throne, giving you all that I have
Asign me a role as your servant
Send me forth to do your bidding
Teach me the ways of obedience
Instill a desire to love as you love
Nourish within me a sense of compassion
Grant me the wisdom to seek you and to crave you
In all things you are constant
Now and forever your care is over us all
Seeing us as we are, you love us with an eternal love
Taking all that we have and redeeming it in your service
Announcing our salvation
Not just for today but for all eternity
This we know, this we need to learn, you are our all in all. Amen
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