God who sets us on a journey
to discover, dream and grow,
lead us as you led your people
in the desert long ago;
journey inward, journey outward,
stir the spirit, stretch the mind,
love for God and self and neighbour
marks the way that Christ defined.
Exploration brings new insights,
changes, choices we must face;
give us wisdom in deciding,
mindful always of your grace;
should we stumble, lose our bearings,
find it hard to know what’s right,
we regain our true direction
focused on the Jesus light.
End our longing for the old days,
grant the vision that we lack –
once we’ve started on this journey
there can be no turning back;
let us travel light, discarding
excess baggage from our past,
cherish only what’s essential,
choosing treasure that will last.
When we set up camp and settle
to avoid love’s risk and pain,
you disturb complacent comfort,
pull the tent pegs up again;
keep us travelling in the knowledge
you are always at our side;
give us courage for the journey,
Christ our goal and Christ our guide.
Words: Joy Dine (1937 – 2001) © Revd Mervyn Dine. Reproduced with permission; available for reproduction for the purposes of worship.
Suggested tunes: “Hyfrydol” (StF 103) was Joy Dine’s preferred tune for this text. Also appropriate are “Blaenwern” (StF 503) and “Austria” (StF 301), both familiar to many congregations, However, for a tune that seems to better reflect the anticipation and energy of the journey, try “Jesus Calls Us” (StF 28) – sometimes known as “Lewis Folk Melody”.
Joy’s hymn came about as her husband, the Revd Mervyn Dine, was preparing his presidential address for the New Zealand Methodist Conference to be held in Christchurch in November 1993. He told Joy that the theme for his address was to be “travelling together in faith and compassion”. She asked him whether he would like her to write an accompanying hymn. “God who sets us on a journey” was the result.
“At the time”, says Mervyn, “the Methodist Church in New Zealand was celebrating the 10th anniversary of the decision by Conference in 1983 to embark on a bi-cultural journey between the Maori (the Tangata Whenua) and all the various races that came afterwards. The New Zealand Methodist Church was also in some turmoil as to its acceptance of homosexuals to leadership roles within the Church, in particular as to whether they could be clergy. As a Church we were certainly on a journey of discovery.”
Joy, who died in 2001, was an excellent scholar and her interest in theology made her a valuable member of the Faith and Order Committee of New Zealand Methodist Church for many years. In 2000 (at the age of 62) she was capped Bachelor of Theology from the Auckland University having first been capped Bachelor of Arts in 1958. “Had she lived,” Mervyn adds, “I’m sure she would have written more hymns which people would love to sing. We have to be satisfied with this one published hymn!”