When hands can no more reach and hold,
Or arms no more embrace,
When lives must now be held apart
By yawning empty space;
Great God, now give your children hope
In place of sad despair,
And hold our hearts in your good peace,
Our breaking souls repair.
God, teach us in this lonely time
To hold in yearning prayer
Those lives and souls who touch our own,
And give them to your care.
Let not our gnawing fear take hold
And make us feel alone,
But teach us, Lord, to hold this truth
Until this scourge is gone:
Those souls we’ve been loved by and love
Are still with us this day;
That friendship touch is not denied,
Nor is it gone away.
Help us reach out, though not with hands
Or arms or holy kiss,
To all those friends and loved ones dear
Whose presence now we miss.
Our prayers for health and wholeness hear,
And give our souls release
To hope against that day when we
Can reunite in peace.
Sustain our souls, set free our minds,
Renew our battered love
On earth, e’en now in solitude,
As in your realms above.
TEXT: Charles Spence Freeman, 2020.
MUSIC: Suggested tune RESIGNATION, USA folk melody,
Lewis’s Beauties of Harmony, 1828 (CMD)
A hymn of the moment. As the grim reality of Covid-19 settled in and the necessity of isolation and "social distancing" became all the clearer, I was reminded (oddly enough, but not really?) of the Carolyn Winfrey Gillette hymn title "When hands reach out and fingers trace." The obvious question became "but what happens when we can't do that?" This hymn is a feeble attempt at an answer, or less an answer than a response?