The day Thou gavest, Lord, is ended,
The darkness falls at Thy behest;
To Thee our morning hymns ascended,
Thy praise shall sanctify our rest.
I love the evening. The calm found in darkness. The night sky, stars and the moon. Although I don’t often have the luxury of doing so, there is nothing better than playing piano late into the night when it feels like the rest of the world is sleeping. There is something about filling that kind of silence with music that brings to mind a space far greater than the room I’m in. This hymn reminds me of that space. Of the world out there that carries on when we sleep. Of the world that needs to be cared for whether we can see it or not.
We thank Thee that Thy church, unsleeping,
While earth rolls onward into light,
Through all the world her watch is keeping,
And rests not now by day or night.
The words to this hymn were written by John Ellerton in 1871, reportedly on his nightly walk to a teaching position he held. Not surprising to those of us who enjoy late night walks, it is easy to imagine how creativity can emerge from this activity. It is easy to imagine that creativity should emerge when we come to the end of the day. The cycle of day to night and night to day is so much a part of us and this hymn reflects that. Reflects the understanding that every end is also a beginning.
As o’er each continent and island
The dawn leads on another day,
The voice of prayer is never silent,
Nor dies the strain of praise away.
The sun that bids us rest is waking
Our brethren ’neath the western sky,
And hour by hour fresh lips are making
Thy wondrous doings heard on high.
So as I relish the evening, I need to consider what follows. All the possibilities that emerge from the end of one day and the beginning of the next. And the thing that flows between; the thing that hold us together as we pass from night to day and back. This is our treasure. Find it and let it share the calm space of the night, and the joy of the new day.
So be it, Lord; Thy throne shall never,
Like earth’s proud empires, pass away:
Thy kingdom stands, and grows forever,
Till all Thy creatures own Thy sway.