Text: Eyvind Skeie Tune: Trond Kverno
1. We shall see you, dear Lord Jesus,
In your glory, once again.
When you raise us from the darkness
To a life of joyful song.
Then your face will shine like morning,
With a glorious burst of light,
As we saw you once transfigured
Filled with pow’r and shining bright!
2. With God’s truth your shield and buckler
Hammered from the purest gold,
With a crown of thorns upon you,
Pure as wool and bright as snow.
And your mouth a two-edged sword blade
That will speak your final Word
To release us, all the captives,
Everyone who lived on earth!
3. In the wounds that you have suffered,
Where the sword did pierce your skin,
We see heaven’s shining glory,
As you cry, “Your will be done!”
You were offered, Lamb most holy,
And you died to give us peace.
Resurrected, your own brilliance
Lights all heav’n and will not cease.
4. We shall see you, Lord and Savior,
When your voice will judge the earth
Which is groaning for redemption
As it cries for second birth.
You were dead, but now are living!
We arise to sing and dance.
We shall see you, as the first time,
Filled with pow’r and radiance!
Tr. Gracia Grindal
Eyvind Skeie, Norway’s most prolific living hymn text writer, has always been fascinated with the end times, what the theologians call apocalyptics. This hymn which is in the Transfiguration section in the current Norwegian hymnal works for both that day and the last things. The imagery begins on the Mount of Transfiguration and ends when we will see Jesus again in the heavenly spaces.
Eyvind uses the notion of seeing to describe what will happen at the end. Over time I have come to understand that there is another reality, or dimension, we cannot see, but will when Jesus returns. The notion that the Gospel is not true because we can’t see Jesus, or his resurrection and ascension, has always baffled me. Just because we cannot see it doesn't mean it isn't there. For Christians seeing is not believing; but at the end, we are promised we will see him as he is.
In the meantime, faith is our vision, not of what we see, but of what we believe is there, what we have caught glimpses of now and then, when suddenly the curtains seem to part and we see him like the two at Emmaus when they recognized him briefly. There is a flash of light and then he disappears.
Paul also promises us in his great love chapter in Corinthians 13, that now we see only in part, but then we will see fully. And as we come to know we will also be fully known.
That can be a fearful thought on this side. We all have things that we are ashamed of and don’t want known. N. T. Wright, I believe it was, said in one of his commentaries that a pastor had told him that if we could see others as they really are we might weep for hours.
The good news, however, is that Jesus does see us fully now, on all our sinful deceptions and lies, and still died to save us from them. The Samaritan woman rejoiced that she had met someone who knew everything about her and still loved her.
Eyvind’s text proclaims that all will be revealed at the last day and, because of Jesus’ life and death on earth, that will be a joyful time, in which we can sing and dance. Think about that—no more hiding, no more secrets—Jesus knows them all and forgives you. So dance with him--in heaven it won't be a sin!
This hymn was the last piece in a Church opera called Jeremiah (Jeremias) that Skeie and Kverno wrote in 1982. The tune had appeared previously in a work by Kverno Lauda sion salvatorum from 1973.
Skeie melds the language of the Transfiguration with the imagery of Revelation, with a very strong emphasis on Jesus having been crucified and wounded for our sake.
Skeie and Kverno were influential during the editing of the 1984 Norwegian hymnal and their work continues to be significant. Skeie, born in Bergen, is a Norwegian pastor who served in Tromsø and Oslo. He was editor of Vår Kirke and helped establish a City ministry in Oslo. Skeie has spent his life writing hymns, songs for children, texts for larger works like Jeremiah. He Is well known in Norway for his work on television with Portveien 2 and Sesam Statjon--a version of Sesame Street. He has written two novels, Sommerlandet (1985) and Den hemmelige Prinsen (1991). For his 60th birthday he put out a collection of hymns 316 Salmer og Sanger. He is an almost perpetual motion machine. He always has several projects going, all of them centered on the Bible and telling its story to the world.
One of my favorite memories of Eyvind is when he came to Mindekirken. Bill Holm, Eyvind and I presented a program on hymnody at Luther Seminary. Eyvind is a forceful presenter, but no match for Bill Holm, the Icelandic-American poet. Eyvind began singing and talking about his hymns, but when Bill, a gifted pianist, found out I had been on the LBW committee which had left out the great Bach setting of "O Mensch bewein dein Sünde groß," he roared over to the piano and played the Bach setting with power and passion in a rage that we had done such a thing--I had not been involved with that decision. It was terribly funny.
Kverno I have written about elsewhere. (See the link) This tune is a big one and could use a big accompaniment.
From the hymn marathon in November 2014--This will get you to the section. Click on No 12. It is hymn 102 which you will see at the top left hand
O Mensch, bewein dein Sünde groß--Bach BWV 622