O Watcher in the wilderness

O Watcher in the wilderness,
O Lord of bush and flame,
you meet us when we least expect
and summon us by name.
From our routine we turn aside
to see your wonders here;
you bid us stand on holy ground,
and overcome our fear.

O Friend and Master, Jesus Christ,
in whose great name we meet,
you take the basin and the towel
and kneel to wash our feet.
You call upon us by this sign,
as we’ve been served, to serve;
then send us out to do God’s work,
to give without reserve.

O Guide and Comfort, barefoot God,
among your people now,
you speak to us, and urge us grow,
and gifts and grace endow.
Unblock our ears, unlock our hearts,
truly to hear your word;
and strengthen, Lord, each onward step,
to live as we have heard.

Written for the occasion of my Ordination as a Minister of Word & Sacraments in the United Reformed Church, in a service at which the Bible readings from Exodus & John and a thematic motif of “bare feet” were used. A version of the hymn appears in Singing the Faith (2011, Trustees for Methodist Church Purposes / Hymns Ancient & Modern Ltd). In that version, the editors have substituted the phrase “holy God” for “barefoot God” in verse 3.

In November 2015, a reflection upon this hymn was printed in the Methodist Recorder newspaper and subsequently published on the website Singing the Faith Plus.

Suggested Tunes: Coe Fen; Kingsfold

Bible References: Exodus 3.1-6; John 13.3-17


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