Holy Communion

~The Rev. John Keble


O GOD of Mercy, God of Might,
How should pale sinners bear the sight,
If, as Thy power in surely here,
Thine open glory should appear?

For now Thy people are allowed
To scale the mount and pierce the cloud,
And Faith may feed her eager view
With wonders Sinai never knew.

Fresh from th’ atoning sacrifice
The world’s Creator bleeding lies.
That man, His foe, by whom He bled,
May take Him for his daily bread.

O agony of wavering thought
When sinners first so near are brought!
“It is my Maker—dare I stay?
My Saviour—dare I turn away?”

Thus while the storm is high within
’Twixt love of Christ and fear of sin,
Who can express the soothing charm,
To feel Thy kind upholding arm,

My mother Church? and hear thee tell
Of a world lost, yet loved so well,
That He, by whom the angels live,
His only Son for her would give?

And doubt we yet? Thou call’st again;
A lower still, a sweeter strain;
A voice from Mercy’s inmost shrine,
This very breath of Love divine.

Whispering it says to each apart,
“Come unto Me, thou trembling heart;”
And we must hope, so sweet the tone,
The precious words are all our own.

Hear them, kind Saviour—hear Thy Spouse
Low at Thy feet renew her vows;
Thine own dear promise she would plead
For us her true though fallen seed.

She pleads by all Thy mercies, told
Thy chosen witnesses of old,
Love’s heralds sent to man forgiven,
One from the Cross, and one from Heaven.

This, of true penitents the chief,
To the lost spirit brings relief,
Lifting on high th’ adored Name:—
“Sinners to save, Christ, Jesus came.”

That, dearest of Thy bosom Friends,
Into the wavering heart descends:—
“What? fallen again? yet cheerful rise.
Thine Intercessor never dies.”

The eye of Faith, that waxes bright
Each moment by thine altar’s light,
Sees them e’en now: they still abide
In mystery kneeling at our side:

And with them every spirit blest,
From realms of triumph or of rest,
From Him who saw creation’s morn,
Of all Thine angels eldest born,

To the poor babe, who died to-day,
Take part in our thanksgiving lay,
Watching the tearful joy and calm,
While sinners taste Thine heavenly balm.

Sweet awful hour! the only sound
One gentle footstep gliding round,
Offering by turns on Jesus’ part
The Cross to every hand and heart.

Refresh us, Lord, to hold it fast;
And when Thy veil is drawn at last,
Let us depart where shadows cease,
With words of blessing and of peace.