Today was the Fifth Sunday of Easter at Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church, where one of the readings came from Revelation 21:1-6. Those words speak of a new heaven and a new earth, when God will wipe away every tear from our eyes and “mourning and crying and pain will be no more.” I thought about that as I heard the sound of a flute, and later the pipe organ with it, accompany the voices of the choir singing a beautiful text of Easter joy by Harriet Beecher Stowe for the offertory anthem.
Still, still with Thee, when purple morning breaketh,
When the bird waketh, and the shadows flee;
Fairer than morning, lovelier than daylight,
Dawns the sweet consciousness, I am with Thee.
Alone with Thee, amid the mystic shadows,
The solemn hush of nature newly born;
Alone with Thee in breathless adoration,
In the calm dew and freshness of the morn.
Still, still with Thee! As to each newborn morning
A fresh and solemn splendor still is giv’n,
So does this blessed consciousness, awaking,
Breathe each day nearness unto Thee and heav’n.
So shall it be at last in that bright morning,
When the soul waketh and life’s shadows flee;
O in that hour, fairer than daylight dawning,
Shall rise the glorious thought, I am with Thee.