STLT#111, Life of Ages

Apologies for the delay, gentle readers – I needed to write the rest of my sermon to include reflections from the Women’s March.

But it’s in that spirit that I approach today’s hymn. The tune (Vienna) for me, is neither here nor there. But these lyrics, by Samuel Johnson (a contemporary of the Longfellow brothers) are right on point – because I saw life richly poured yesterday on the streets of New York, and in photos and reports from streets around the world. It cheered me to see such an intersectional crowd – people of all ages, all genders, all colors, all abilities – all cheering each other on, all talking nonstop about why they were marching, what we were seeing, how important this felt and how clear it was it’s just a first step.

There was laughter and joy, people sharing drinks and snacks and stories – but more, there was a clear understanding that that these people were not going to go home, hang up their pink hats, and forget to do anything else. These people – and I – understood that this was just the start. This was the kick off for the action we are called to. But if anything, the march set the tone – it told us we are not alone, that resistance may be fueled by fear and anger, but that it can be joyful, and funny, and kind, and creative – and that it should be. It must be.

This hymn comes as a perfect coda to the experience, saying from 170 years ago, yes! Keep going! The exemplars and pioneers that went before are in and around you and supporting you today in your holy resistance.

Life of ages, richly poured, love of God, unspent and free,
flowing in the prophet’s word and the people’s liberty —

Never was to chosen race that unstinted tide confined;
yours is every time and place, fountain sweet of heart and mind.

Breathing in the thinker’s creed, pulsing in the hero’s blood,
nerving simplest thought and deed, freshening time with truth and good,

Consecrating art and song, holy book and pilgrim way,
quelling floods of tyrant wrong, widening freedom’s sacred sway.

Life of ages, richly poured, love of God, unspent and free,
flow still in the prophet’s word and the people’s liberty!


Today’s photo is one of many I took yesterday at the Women’s March.

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