God Whose Purpose is To Kindle

The recessional hymn at the Mass I attended yesterday was God Whose Purpose is to Kindle (sung to the tune of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy). It was not a hymn I had heard before, although a quick Google search suggests it is known by many.

God, whose purpose is to kindle, now ignite us with your fire;
While the earth awaits your burning, with your passion us inspire.
Overcome our sinful calmness, stir us with your saving name.
Baptize with your fiery Spirit, crown our lives with tongues of flame.

God, who still a sword delivers rather than a placid peace,
With your sharpened Word disturb us, from complacency release!
Save us now from satisfaction, when we privately are free,
Yet are undisturbed in sprit by our neighbor’s misery.

God, who in your holy gospel wills that all should truly live,
Make us sense our share of failure, our tranquility forgive.
Teach us courage as we struggle in all liberating strive.
Lift the smallness of our vision by your own abundant life.

The song recognizes that for those on a spiritual path, the “sin” is rarely overt evil. Rather, it is our failure to be sufficiently concerned with the needs of those less fortunate. Our ease in accepting things that could be changed if we were willing to expend more effort. Our ability to remain “undisturbed in spirit by our neighbor’s misery.”

And so we pray: Overcome our sinful calmness…Release us from our complacency…Save us from satisfaction…Lift the smallness of our vision.