Words from the night (1)

In the musical The Phantom of the Opera, the song “Music of the Night” is heard.  It’s musically lyrical, expressive, and arguably beautiful.  Although the words are not particularly “dark,” a child of light is left with the sense that he ought to question the appropriateness of inviting someone into the “night.”  I think it depends on how you mean “night.”  If it’s a mere question of things that happen after dusk, no big deal.

More to the point here:  the expression “dark night of the soul” has been used historically to describe an extended period of distance, spiritual yearning, and/or troubled times during a spiritual journey.

In Songs in the Night (1996), Henry Gariepy has collected stories that stand behind songs and hymns born in the “night” of human experience.  Here is one hymn—relatively unknown today, very unfortunately:

O Love that wilt not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe,
That in thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.

O light that followest all my way,
I yield my flickering torch to thee;
My heart restores its borrowed ray,
That in thy sunshine’s blaze its day
May brighter, fairer be.

O Joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain,
That morn shall tearless be.

O Cross that liftest up my head,
I dare not ask to fly from thee;
I lay in dust life’s glory dead,
And from the ground there blossoms red
Life that shall endless be.

– George Matheson, 1882

After the young lady to whom Matheson was engaged found out that he had become totally blind, she would not then marry him.  The hymn’s words arose out of his sense of rejection.

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2 thoughts on “Words from the night (1)

  1. Don(nie) Braugh 07/06/2015 / 3:48 am

    Oh these are the things God may remember for eternity: the offerings to His will born out of a faith that is so solid.

    Like

  2. Steve 07/06/2015 / 12:40 pm

    I don’t recall which Harding music class it was, but I was required to take a hymn and “parse” the stanzas. I chose this one, and as I was reflecting on these powerfully worded emotions, I remember some type of overwhelming spiritual experience that took me by complete surprise. It transported me to a plane of worship that I rarely have visited. I cherish this memory–and this song!

    Like

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