♫ Hymn of the Month: “God Within, God Around”

Monday, June 3

old music notes - retroBy Randall E. Pratt of Lee’s Summit, Missouri, USA

“Be still, and know that I am God!”

—Psalm 46:10

I was impressed by this simple song or chant while hiking (and gasping for breath!) on a mountain trail in a national park in Colorado. The day was sunny, the alpine flowers beautiful, and the view of the snow-capped peaks magnificent! When I am away from all the distractions of my “normal” busy life and responsibilities, it is easier for me to sense the presence of God. I feel God within me and around me when I’m not surrounded by walls built by human hands.

Celtic spirituality for centuries has spoken of the “thin veil” that separates heaven from Earth. God is not distant or apart from us, even if our ability to sense or experience God is sometimes limited. And, sometimes I make that “veil” much thicker with all the busyness that claims my time, attention, and identity. I simply forget that God is present, close, real.

When I feel far from God, it is not because God is far from me. If I stop looking, stop listening, stop sensing, and stop seeking, God seems distant.

This simple song is a reminder for me of God’s close, intimate, pervasive reality in my life. This is a reality that I can find, touch, and inhale when I seek it. The chant refrain can be sung many times (three to 10 times during a worship service), so this reality deepens within and around us as we linger in the presence of God. (Only the refrain chant will be in the new hymnal.)

Refrain Chant:
God within, God around, in all creation God is found.
Holy Presence, near us, with us.

Stanzas:
Mountain and plain, desert and sea; all places praise your majesty!
Maker of all, your gift this world. You touch us by Spirit and Word.
How do we know? How can we see? We sense by faith your mystery!
Author of time, all time you see. Our souls alive eternally.
Now in this time, here in this place, we find your joy, we share your grace!

Prayer for Peace
Eternal and ever-present God, we sense your creative spirit everywhere. Our souls come alive in your grace. We are still. We know.

Spiritual Practice
Contemplate this hymn as a poem. Use the refrain chant as a mantra, several times over.

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