I Was There to Hear Your Borning Cry

We’ve just finished the rounds of Christmas concerts involving the choirs my daughter sings in. Although the choirs sang many songs that I love hearing, one in particular sticks in my mind. It is a song that I had not heard before I heard her Chamber Choir perform it, although I now understand it is popularly used at Baptisms (and sometimes Confirmations as well). The song is I Was There to Hear Your Borning Cry, and the lyrics go like this:

I was there to hear your borning cry,
I’ll be there when you are old.
I rejoiced the day you were baptized,
to see your life unfold.

I was there when you were but a child,
with a faith to suit you well;
In a blaze of light you wandered off
to find where demons dwell.

When you heard the wonder of the Word
I was there to cheer you on;
You were raised to praise the living Lord,
to whom you now belong.

If you find someone to share your time
and you join your hearts as one,
I’ll be there to make your verses rhyme
from dusk ’till rising sun.

In the middle ages of your life,
not too old, no longer young,
I’ll be there to guide you through the night,
complete what I’ve begun.

When the evening gently closes in,
and you shut your weary eyes,
I’ll be there as I have always been
with just one more surprise.

I was there to hear your borning cry,
I’ll be there when you are old.
I rejoiced the day you were baptized,
to see your life unfold.

I heard the song sung a number of times these past few weeks of concerts. Each time, as I listened to the lyrics, I looked at my daughter singing them from her place in the choir. I first heard the words as though I were singing them to her, with visions of her at various stages – from the newborn first placed in my arms to the young woman now singing before me – passing through my mind. Then, still with the feeling of my unbounded love for her, I heard the words sung by God to me, and was filled with that same sense of unbounded love, now coming from God.

So, read the lyrics again. And this time, hear God saying the words to you because, truly, this is a song God sings to each of us.


18 thoughts on “I Was There to Hear Your Borning Cry

  1. I just found your blog recently when I was looking for the words of Oscar Romero. My husband and I are both musicians and I would love to hear the music to this song. He is the director of music at a parish and I am a cantor. The first time I read it, I couldn’t put my finger on who’s voice was speaking the words. Then I did go back and read it as if God sang it to me and I almost cried. Ahh, I feel so loved. Thanks for sharing. pax et bonum

  2. This is in the Methodist hymnal (#2051), not sure the composer. Just sang it for my 13 year olds confirmation last Sunday. Truly a touching song.

  3. We sing this in church at baptisims, but I cannot sing it now without crying, because it makes me think of my son, who was such a sweet loving person, but suffered from loniness and depression and took his own life. I know God is the one speaking to all of us in this song, but I can only think of my son, who I will not see to old age or to middle age. I love the song but I just can’t bear to hear it.

    Paul’s Mom

    • Dear Gail – I love this song too, and will be burying my precious daughter this sunday. she also took her own life after suffering fro 28 years with M.S. and the past 6, with Colitis. I cry just hearing the song, so don’t know if I can do it. Does the pain ever go away?

  4. I know this is a song usually sung at Baptisms, but we sang it recently at my husband’s funeral. He died suddenly at 50 but was a long time sufferer of myotonic dystrophy. It was God’s song to him and his life. We cried at our overwhelming loss but also at the overwhelming reassurance and message of the words.

  5. This song is truely beautiful. We sang it this weekend at my grandma’s funeral and it was such a comfort to hear and play over again in my mind. This song is straight from our Lord and goes straight to my heart!

  6. I play guitar and sing often in church. My group has a play date around Easter and would love to play this song; however, I cannot locate the chords for the guitar.

    If anyone knows where I can locate the chords, please let me know.

    In Christ,

  7. The song appears in many hymnals. Our church has “Let All the People Praise You,” by Northwestern Publishing House, ISBN: 0-8100-0881-5. ‘Borning Cry’ is on page 34, with guitar chords.

    The copyright is John Ylvisaker, 1985, Box 321, Waverly, IA 50677

  8. Pingback: Marvelously Made « Adventures in Thanks-Living

  9. I made a special request of my friend and music director at our church to use this song for our daughter’s baptism. I was prepared for this to be a grand and joyous occasion as anyone would expect a baptism to be. Instead my daughter was in the hospital for her baptism. I can’t hear this song with a dry eye anymore.

    As you mention, this hymn has some great reflection for all stages of life. Mr. Ylivisacker (not sure if I spelle the correct) speaks from God’s perspective in this. It is important for us, as you say, to hear this sung to us from God, and for me to remember that I reque this song for my daughter’s baptism for that reason, and not my own. Thank you for your reflection.

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