Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Like Noah's Weary Dove

An Address for All/ Like Noah's Weary Dove

Like Noah's weary dove
That soared the earth around,
But not a resting place above
The cheerless waters found,

Oh, cease, my wandering soul,
On restless wing to roam;
All the wide world, to either pole,
Has not for thee a home.

Behold the ark of God,
Behold the open door;
Hasten to gain that dear abode,
And rove, my soul, no more.

There safe thou shalt abide,
There sweet shall be thy rest,
And every longing satisfied,
With full salvation blessed.

And, when the waves of ire
Again the earth shall fill,
The ark shall ride the sea of fire
Then rest on Zion's hill. 

                 (William Augustus Muhlenberg)

I discovered this nineteenth-century hymn during my first months in  Texas.  I would listen to it as I walked my mile to church each Sunday, wandering somewhere between homelessness and hope.  Some years later, the words became doubly precious to me as I struggled through a season of brutal anxiety and depression.  During that darkness, Psalm 84, with its image of a sparrow finding a home on God's altars, became my psalm of hope--I memorized it, reciting the words when panic threatened to overwhelm me. This song, so similar in its picture of God providing a home for the smallest of things in the holiest of places, speaks the same message of hope. Now, with so many external joys and triumphs and plans on my mind, this song reminds me that this earth and this life can only ever be the hope and beginning of my true home. 

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