Lord, speak to me, that I may speak in living echoes of thy tone.
As thou hast sought, so let me seek thine erring children lost and lone.
O lead me, Lord, that I may lead the wand’ring and the wav’ring feet.
O feed me, Lord, that I may feed thy hung’ring ones with manna sweet.
O strengthen me, that while I stand firm on the Rock, and strong in thee,
I may stretch out a loving hand to wrestlers with the troubled sea.
O teach me, Lord, that I may teach the precious things thou dost impart,
And wing my words, that they may reach the hidden depths of many a heart.
O fill me with thy fullness, Lord, until my very heart o’erflow
In kindling thought and glowing word, thy love to tell, thy praise to show.
O use me, Lord, use even me, just as thou wilt, and when and where,
Until thy blessed face I see, thy rest, thy joy, thy glory share.
It’s a new year. I am glad of that – the last year was certainly a mixed bag of good and bad, excitement and disappointment. It’s nice to start fresh; to think about how one might approach life with a renewed vision. This hymn reminded me of that – when I found it in the faith journey section of my hymnal, under the heading regeneration.
What does it mean to regenerate? Looking up the definition, it seems to be a biological term referring to the process of restoring damaged parts. I found that interesting. Obviously, from a biological perspective, that means fairly specific things in specific contexts, but if I think about it from an emotional or philosophical perspective, it is exactly what many of us need at the start of a new year. We are all damaged. We all need to be restored. To health, to safety, to calm, to energy, to joy, to rest, to peace.
The words of this hymn, written by religious poet Frances Havergal in 1872 are about finding regeneration through what she sought in her God. Whether we see things exactly as she did or not, we certainly can learn from this example of seeking inspiration in our lives. But what I really find powerful, is that each of the things she seeks is about what she will then give. Speak to me, that I may speak. Lead me, that I may lead. Feed me, that I may feed. Strengthen me, that I may offer a hand. Teach me, that I may teach. It is this desire to receive in order to give that I find inspiring. It is this flowing through us to others, from whatever inspires us, that is interesting – and so very useful when we seek to regenerate and move positively in our worlds.
There are times when what we need is rest and solitude. There are times when we need not be preoccupied with others and when we should simply look after ourselves. But there is also much energy and reward to be gained from allowing ourselves to pass on whatever we have within us. Taking our moments of regeneration and using the results to offer that same space to others. There is fullness to be found in doing so. Fullness that will overflow.