When our futures are uncertain (website only)

1. When our futures are uncertain,
when our Christian life is tough,
when our worries fill our thinking,
when our hope is not enough –
then the rallying cry of Thomas
rises high above the crowd:
‘Give your lives, your all, for Jesus.
Join him on this narrow road.’

2. When the many signs confuse me -
aimless wanderings fill my day -
then I pray the prayer with Thomas:
‘Gracious Lord, show us the way.’
Suddenly the spell is broken!
Truth and Life in Christ, I see:
‘I’m the way that you are seeking,
Come, disciple, follow me.’

3. When I miss the great adventure,
When belief is too absurd -
deep inside, I need, with Thomas
simple faith to be assured.
Then, the resurrected Jesus
brings to me his hands and side.
Overwhelming love engulfs me!
Death is dead and Christ’s alive!

4. Come, inspire this feeble vision,
put your daring in our minds:
words to motivate disciples,
lives that challenge humankind.
Like Saint Thomas, full of passion,
clear our gloom that we may see -
Christ, our Lord, alive forever!
Christ, my God, alive in me!

Words: © Adrian Low

Metre: 87.87.D

Suggested tunes: Scarlet Ribbons (StF 131); Jesus calls us (StF 28); Calon Lân (StF 323i)

More information

St Thomas - man of passion

A number of StF+ readers picked up on our 2014 article, No hymn for Thomas?, in which we noted the lack of references in Singing the Faith to Jesus’ disciple, Thomas. Some suggestions were made (you can see them in the responses below the article) and we received a couple of texts that were new to us: Andrew Pratt’s What peace is there for tarnished lives? – and this one by Adrian Low.

Where Andrew places Thomas alongside the other disciples, exploring their fear and sense of guilt in the days following Jesus’ crucifixion, Adrian reminds us that there was more to Thomas than simply the man who needed extra persuasion to believe in the Christ’s resurrection.

We usually remember Thomas as “doubting Thomas” – arguably a rather simplistic nod to the story told in John 20: 19-31. Adrian is alluding to this well-known event in verse 3. In verses 1,2 and 4, however, he reminds us that Thomas was the one who had urged his nervous companions to go with Jesus to Bethany where his dear friend Lazarus was lying mortally ill (John 11). Bethany was dangerously close to Jerusalem and to Jesus’ powerful enemies – but it’s Thomas who exclaims (John 11: 16): “Let us also go, that we may die with him”.

Maybe, like Peter, Thomas is the impulsive sort, but here too is the man Adrian describes as “full of passion” (v.4). Like Peter, Thomas doesn’t always understand what’s going on (“Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” he asks Jesus at the Last Supper (John 14: 1-5)). As Adrian suggests (verse 2), Thomas’s confusion can be ours also.

Nevertheless, Thomas follows through on the call to discipleship and can rightly challenge us to the task of following Jesus (verse 1), even when – as Adrian admits – “Christian life is tough”.

Adrian wrote When our futures are uncertain for St. Thomas’ Presbyterian Church in Houston, Texas, after he had written a hymn about Saint Andrew for another church in the States.

An emeritus professor of Computing Education at Staffordshire University, Adrian is both a Methodist local preacher in the Cannock Chase circuit and also a priest in the Church of England, currently in the benefice of Abbots Bromley, Blithfield, Colton, Colwich and Great Haywood, all in Staffordshire. This makes him, he says, “49.9 per cent Methodist and 50.1 per cent Anglican”. He adds: “I love writing hymns that have a more modern language, context and culture and have a small collection of 60-plus so far.” As he says, that leaves him “only another 5,940 to go to beat Charles [Wesley]”.

Categories: 87.87.D. (Trochaic), Calling and Commissioning, Calon Lân, Conflict, Suffering and Doubt, Covenant, Growth in Grace and Holiness, Jesus calls us, Jesus Risen and Ascended, Latest hymns (submit to stfplus@methodistchurch.org.uk), Low, Adrian, Our Journey with God, Scarlet Ribbons.

3 Responses to When our futures are uncertain (website only)

  1. Vince Gilbert says:

    I used this hymn this morning, as an integral part of a service looking at all we know of Thomas, and concluding there’s a lot more to him than a doubter. I’ve never had such a strong positive reaction to a new hymn. Well over half the congregation made a point of saying how good it was. Thank you, Adrian.

  2. Helen White says:

    I notice this hymn is not on the authorised list for CCLI. May I copy the words for use in a single act of worship?

    • Editor says:

      All new hymns posted on StF+ are done so on the understanding that they can be reproduced for worship. Our wording reads: “All hymns reproduced on Singing the Faith Plus are published on the understanding that they can be used freely by site-users (for non commercial purposes), with any copyright information printed as appropriate.” http://www.singingthefaithplus.org.uk/?p=12079

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