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HYMN FOR TRANSFIGURATION I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light

Text and tune: Kathleen Thomerson (1934-)


Transfiguration of Christ. Raphael (1483-1520)

1 I want to walk as a child of the light.

I want to follow Jesus.

God set the stars to give light to the world.

The star of my life is Jesus.

R/In him there is no darkness at all.

The night and the day are both alike.

The Lamb is the light of the city of God.

Shine in my heart, Lord Jesus.


2 I want to see the brightness of God

.I want to look at Jesus.

Clear sun of righteousness, shine on my path,

and show me the way to the Father.

R/


3 I'm looking for the coming of Christ.

I want to be with Jesus.

When we have run with patience the race,

we shall know the joy of Jesus.

R/


REFLECTION:

The Transfiguration is fundamental to the story of Jesus and all the gospel treat it—even John who tells the story rather differently, but still gives us a moment in the life of Jesus that according to a new book by Sarah Hinlicky Wilson shows us who Jesus is and brings the whole biblical witness together. Her book Seven Ways of Looking at the Transfiguration, which will be available soon at Thornbushpress.com, will astonish readers with its thoroughgoing digging in Scripture for what the event tells us.

 

Look for it!


Transfiguration of Christ. Russian icon

The hymn for today is a popular contemporary hymn that we can sing thinking of the Transfiguration. There is a sweetness, almost naiveté in the text. It moves us as we sing of Jesus who is all light. While the hymn is spoken by someone--the hymnologists call it the anonymous I—most Christians can sing it as their own. Note how little it says about the state of the singer, except the longing to be with Jesus. Then descriptions of what kind of light Jesus is—the star, the brightness of God, the Sun of righteousness, the Lamb who is the light of heaven—lovely images from Scripture. We hear Scripture singing throughout the hymn: Genesis, the Gospel of John, 1 John, Revelation 21, Hebrews, etc.  There are no “new” images of Christ here, it is pure Bible. But the sound of the hymn is for all times. This sweet longing to be with Jesus is fetching.

 

When Jesus instructed the disciples to say nothing about this event, in some ways he was saying this can’t be understood until the whole story is over, and he was right. something of Wilson's argument. Peter's account in 2 Peter 1:16-21 says as much. In a sense, we don’t or won’t get it until the end. But that is the mystery of our faith. We connect with the baby Jesus and know something big has happened in the world that connects the divine with our daily lives and flesh. His suffering we understand because we have suffered. His death is also part of human life, but the resurrection starts to topple us over. And then his ascension and reign in heaven as the transfigured Christ. Indeed, he even will transfigure us when we walk in his light and he takes us up into himself. So, we can sing in an almost childlike way, with confidence, “Shine in my heart, Lord Jesus.”

 

HYMN INFO

Kathleen Thomerson

Kathleen Thomerson has worked in the church as organist and composer since her youth. She wrote this hymn in the late 1960s and worked mostly around Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville where her husband was a professor but studied extensively with luminaries like Flor Peters and Jean Langlais. Her achievements as organist and composer are impressive. This hymn is rich with biblical references especially the Epistle of 1 John and the longing we have to be filled with the light of Jesus.


LINKS

The Concordia College Choir



Hal Leonard and Shawnee Press Chorale/John Purifoy's choral arrangement

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NB: Here is the link to my latest book. It would help me a lot if more than 50 were pre-sold by March 15 at a lower price. Thank you! www.finishinglinepress.com




 

 


 

 

 

 

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