God of Trials and New Beginnings

Music by Ron Klusmeier
Words by Walter Farquharson

Lyrics as Poetry

God of trials and new beginnings,
God of destinies and partings,
would you hear your people’s prayer?
For with love and deep devotion,
we have set again in motion
yet another moving out.
God of cradling and of nurture,
God of family and adventure,
would you grace your people’s hope?
Though with problems we have striven,
we have treasured those you’ve given;
helped them all to know their worth.

God of passages and journeys,
God of pilgrimage and turnings,
would you light your people’s way?
For with fear and with misgiving,
we approach the risks of living
in a world not tuned to love.
God of calling and of yearning,
God of justice and of burning,
would you call your people out?
For with gifts and talents practiced,
by your Spirit’s grace made active,
we may live with courage here.

God of purpose and intention,
God of dreaming and invention,
would you fire a people’s will?
For your world is full of hurting
and disaster for us lurking
distant from your good intent.
God of joy and celebration,
God of music and elation,
would you join your people’s praise?
‘til the hymns and prayers we’re offering,
with our living and our giving,
sing out with creation’s song.

Words by
Walter FarquharsonCopyright © 1989 by Walter Farquharson
Administered by Hope Publishing Company
Carol Stream, Illinois • USA

Comments About Song


These words were written in 1989 when a friend, the Rev. Richard Hall, United Church minister then serving at Shellbrook, Sk. asked if I would work with him in preparing a hymn suitable for a community church service celebrating the graduation from High School of local students. Sung then to music Richard had composed, the hymn was received by the students themselves and by family and community members.

The hymn reflects the ambiguities built into each such rite of passage – celebration and sadness, hope and expectation in a world filled with risks and definitely a world “not tuned to love”.

Events such as school graduations often bring together the generations. They give expression to the truth that it takes a whole village or community to bring up a child. They provide opportunity to reflect on the passage of time and the shifts that take place in terms of life experiences, responsibilities, interactions.

At a study group composed of persons aged 65-75 someone observed that we were all experiencing some fairly major transitions in our lives. We could have sung this hymn together and claimed it had been written for us. Another song that Richard and I had collaborated to produce was “And what when I grow old?” Strange how what we had written then still rings true.

Ron’s tune for “God of trials and new beginnings” allowed its incorporation as epilogue into the musical “For Nineveh’s sake” .

The Book of Jonah (said by some to be, of the Hebrew Scriptures, the closest in spirit to the gospels) would be a reading I’d recommend to any who appreciate these hymn words. Jonah experiences a call to new beginning. That scares Jonah and he flees the call.

The storm at sea and then the belly of the fish proves a good facsimile of a “disaster for him lurking, distant from God’s good intent”. The dry land and a plant of promise announce “yet another moving out” for Jonah – and for each of us who have ever travelled a similar road.

Scripture References

  • Genesis 28:10-22
  • Exodus 1:22-2:15
  • Exodus 3:1-15
  • Isaiah 61:1-4
  • Jeremiah 31:31-34
  • Jonah
  • Matthew 4:18-22
  • Luke 18:18-27
  • Luke 24:13-35
  • Acts 11
  • Acts 17:22-31
  • 1 Thessalonians 2:7-12
  • 1 John 4:7-13

Season, Theme
or Subject

  • Celebration
  • Community
  • Creation
  • God∶ love of
  • God∶ nature of
  • Human Relationships
  • Love∶ God's
  • Praise
  • Relationships∶ relationships with others
  • Risk, Risking
  • Wholeness
  • World

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