I love hymns. Recently I found myself in the chapel of my college flipping through the hymnbook playing these hymns that I love on my flute. When I came to O For A World, I realized how hard those words hit.
1. O for a world where everyone
Respects each other's ways,
Where love is lived and all is done
With justice and with praise.
2. O for a world where goods are shared
And misery relieved,
Where truth is spoken, children spared,
3. We welcome one world family
And struggle with each choice
That opens us to unity
And gives our vision voice.
4. The poor are rich, the weak are strong,
The foolish ones are wise.
Tell all who mourn; outcasts belong,
Who perishes will rise.
5. O for a world preparing for
God's glorious reign of peace,
Where time and tears will be no more,
And all but love will cease.
This is a beautiful hymn and one of my favorites. Not because it speaks of this world to come, but this is God's hope for the world now. This is my prayer for the world today and everyday. My prayer is that we learn to respect each others ways, live in love, truth is spoken, goods are shared, equality achieved, where we are welcoming, open to unity, and preparing for God's glorious reign of peace.
This is not something to long for after we are dead and gone, but it is something to strive for in the here and now. Our society tells us this is impossible but God says it is not.
I heard two sermons last Sunday from Isaiah 65:17-25
For I am about to create new heavens
and a new earth;
the former things shall not be remembered
or come to mind.
But be glad and rejoice for ever
in what I am creating;
for I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy,
and its people as a delight.
I will rejoice in Jerusalem,
and delight in my people;
no more shall the sound of weeping be heard in it,
or the cry of distress.
No more shall there be in it
an infant that lives but a few days,
or an old person who does not live out a lifetime;
for one who dies at a hundred years will be considered a youth,
and one who falls short of a hundred will be considered accursed.
They shall build houses and inhabit them;
they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
They shall not build and another inhabit;
they shall not plant and another eat;
for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be,
and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands.
They shall not labour in vain,
or bear children for calamity;
for they shall be offspring blessed by the Lord—
and their descendants as well.
Before they call I will answer,
while they are yet speaking I will hear.
The wolf and the lamb shall feed together,
the lion shall eat straw like the ox;
but the serpent—its food shall be dust!
They shall not hurt or destroy
on all my holy mountain,
says the Lord.
Let us strive to live in a world where all but love will cease. Let us be open to the possibility that God is at work in the world doing a new thing in our midst.