Covenant-God, mighty Lord of creation,
by whose decree countless mercies proceed:
friends you bring forth in each new generation,
faithful to follow wherever you lead.
We too shall come, Lord of church and tradition,
striving to serve in obedience and joy.
We too shall answer your call and commission,
ready to go where you deem and deploy.
In every task, every careful decision,
give us the counsel you promise us still.
Strengthen, encourage, preserve from division:
open our minds to discern now your will.
Yours is the hand gently pressing behind us,
yours is the hand in whose grasp we’re secure.
Should we fear risk or rejection, remind us:
leading and holding, your touch shall endure.
Praise to the Father, protecting and guiding;
praise to the Saviour, Christ Jesus the Son;
praise to the comforter-Spirit abiding:
glory to God, ever three, ever one!
In the Church of Reconcilation at the ecumenical community of Taizé in France, there is a stained-glass window depicting Abraham with Isaac. The image here (a detail from that window, showing the young boy Isaac standing in front of his father) has stayed with me for many years, and is one of the influences for this hymn. Note in particular the pair of hands upon the boy’s shoulders: one reassuring and protective, the other encouraging the lad to go onwards.
Suggested tune ‘Epiphany Hymn’.