My minister in Chicago just posted the words to this little-known hymn as they sang it in a march tonight in Chicago. She mentioned how she wept as her parishioners all held hands, walking for peace and justice. As my friends in Chicago and New York converge on streets and parks joining one another to peacefully march, I sit in my home in San Diego and think of each of them.
I remember my grandfather’s last words in the third dream over a year ago, “Civil unrest is coming, son, war within our nation. Prepare. I love you. We are watching.” He repeated those words three times, hugged me tightly and I awoke with a tear-stained face. It would be the last time I would see him in my dreams. I literally ran to my church that early Monday morning in the rain, it would be the last rain I would see in Chicago. My minister was there to listen to the entire three dreams and comfort me.
Tears cascade again tonight as I think now upon those words and the souls that live in fear of their very lives. Be it minorities in America or across the seas in other lands, the ground is shaking beneath our feet. Can we change in time?
“William Gay, in a 1969 Christmas letter to friends wrote the hymn entitled, “Each Winter As the Year Grows Older.” William’s wife Annabeth composed a tune for the words, and the pairing now appears in several hymnals. 1969 was a year to be remembered as mounting protests against war and violence and riots filled the streets and change was in the air. Chicago seeing the worst of it as blood filled Lake Shore Drive and Lincoln Park as protesters lined outside of the Drake Hotel. Tonight as the news unfolds around the US as people become frightened of what more is to come, these lyrics ring true.
Each winter as the year grows older
we each grow older, too.
The chill sets in a little colder;
the verities we knew seem shaken and untrue.
When race and class cry out for treason,
when sirens call for war,
they overshout the voice of reason
and scream til we ignore all we held dear before.
Yet I believe beyond believing
that life can spring from death,
that growth can flower from our grieving,
that we can catch our breath and turn transfixed by faith.
So even as the sun is turning
to journey to the north,
the living flame, in secret burning,
can kindle on the earth and bring God’s love to birth.
O Child of ecstasy and sorrows,
O Prince of peace and pain,
brighten today’s world by tomorrow’s,
renew our lives again; Lord Jesus come and reign!