The leaf unfurling in the April air,
the newborn child, the loving parents’ care;
these constant, common miracles we share:
All life is one, a single branching tree,
all pain a part of human misery,
all happiness a gift to you and me:
The self-same bells for joy and sorrow ring.
No one can know what the next hour will bring.
We cry, we laugh, we mourn, and still we sing:
While I was waiting for my coffee to brew this morning, I was scrolling through Facebook on my phone, nearly ever post about last night’s presidential debate. I found myself – as is all too frequent these days – feeling a mix of sadness, fear, outrage, and frustration, a hard way to start a day, especially when the feelings are rooted not in personal crisis but in a larger, existential weltschmerz.
As I took my first sip of that miracle brew, I opened the hymnal to today’s entry – and as I read the first lines, I breathed for maybe the first time since I hit the on button on the coffeemaker. I realized what a gift spiritual practice is, for just reading this lyric brought me back to myself, brought me back to the enormity of life, reminded me that particular events – whether happening to just me or to the whole nation – are just blips in the vast grandeur that is life.
Interdependent web indeed.
On a musical note, this is another hymn I am unfamiliar with – it’s got some unexpected intervals that may make more sense with the accompaniment, so it’s not entirely intuitive to sing. However, I want to really learn it, because I would hate for such poetry to go unsung. It also dawns on me that this would be a fine substitution to “We Laugh, We Cry”, which I am honestly quite tired of.
Grateful for this practice this morning. Grateful for music and how it awakens the soul. Grateful for the music makers.
[…] hymn was written by John Corrado, who was our lyricist way back in the first week. I should note that the original lyric used the phrase “in dark and rain”; our hymnal […]
I have just discovered your website since i am on a journey to quilt hymns in journal quilts 8.5 ” X 11″. In our original church at First Parish Lexington we sang this often since it was written by Don Cohen, the husband of the Senior Minister I think for her ordination or installation in the early 1908s. However, we always sang it to a different tune , I think #103 For All the Saints. It caused confusion several times because it was listed as #7 but everyone sang a different tune. Glad to have found your site.