I am in danger of overusing this hymn.
You see, it expresses to me perfectly so much of what we believe and so much of what we are trying to do every week – getting folks to see themselves as an active part of creation, creators one and all in the today we live in and the tomorrow we dream of.
And whether I am preaching about a topic of justice, or spiritual growth, or community, at some point I find myself talking about our role in building the beloved community. I talk about being architects of fate:
All are architects of fate,
working in these walls of time;
some with massive deeds and great,
some with ornaments of rhyme.
For the structure that we raise
time is with materials filled;
our todays and yesterdays
are the blocks with which we build.
Build today, then, strong and sure,
with a firm and ample base;
and ascending and secure
shall tomorrow find its place.
Now our lyrics are from our favorite Longfellow’s more famous brother Henry – from a longer poem entitled “Builders.” I appreciate the hymnal commission’s cutting from nine verses to three; indeed, the other six don’t add much new but rather emphasize Longfellow’s point in his typical eloquent verse.
Anyway I really like this hymn. I love singing it and I love the theology it harkens to. And…who doesn’t love a Tom Benjamin hymn tune? Woodland is so gentle, and it’s lilting lines are as aspirational as the lyrics.
This one is a real winner. As long as I don’t overuse it.