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When Sidey’s weekend theme – “The End” – finally appeared, (in full – whaddaya know? – but not until Saturday), on my screen, the title line to this post came instantly to mind (I bet it did to Hubs, too!).  It is from a beautiful hymn (both music and lyrics) by Natalie Sleeth (10/29/1930 – 3/21/1992). While in the process of writing the hymn, she wrote that she was. . .

“…pon­der­ing the death of a friend (life and death, death and re­sur­rect­ion), pon­der­ing win­ter and spring (seem­ing op­po­sites), and a T. S. El­i­ot poem which had the phrase, ‘In our end is our be­gin­ning.’ These seem­ing­ly con­tra­dic­to­ry ‘pairs’ led to the the­sis of the song and the hope­ful mes­sage that out of one will come the other when­ev­er God choos­es to bring that about.”

Her hus­band, Dr. Ron­ald Sleeth, heard Hymn of Prom­ise short­ly be­fore he died, and asked that it be sung at his fun­er­al.

This lovely video, in which you can hear the hymn sung, has photographs reminiscent of some of my own, and the photos were taken in the “Blue Ridge” near the part of the Smoky Mountains where I live. I’ve printed the lyrics with which you can follow along:

“Hymn of Promise”
© Natalie Sleeth 1986

In the bulb there is a flower;
In the seed, an apple tree;
In cocoons, a hidden promise:
Butterflies will soon be free!

In the cold and snow of winter,
There’s a spring that waits to be,
Unrevealed until its season,
Something God alone can see.

There’s a song in every silence,
Seeking word and melody;
There’s a dawn in every darkness,
bringing hope to you and me.

From the past will come the future;
What it holds, a mystery,
Unrevealed until its season,
Something God alone can see.

In our end is our beginning;
In our time, infinity.
In our doubt, there is believing;
In our life, eternity.

In our death, a resurrection;
At the last, a victory
Unrevealed until its season,
Something God alone can see.

I have another “end” story to tell.  Being true to my promise to myself to “back off a bit,” I will save that for tomorrow.

Natalie Sleeth’s perfect union of “word and melody” is enough. . .

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