WHEN OUR LIVES KNOW SUDDEN SHADOW (words by Shirley Erena Murray)

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one verse played on piano by Ron Klusmeier.

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When our lives know sudden shadow,
new awareness, shot with pain,
when the body’s ills defeat us,
anger beats in hard refrain,
God, our God, we cry for meaning,
cry for all we would regain.

Patch by patch, the quilt is fashioned,
thread by thread, the colors sewn,
stitched in tears, and richly patterned,
loves our lives have touched and known,
families of hapless sorrow,
drawn together, yet alone.

Friend, befriending the afflicted,
wake us to the world we share,
shine through us, divine compassion,
hope within our heart’s despair,
building from the stones rejected
new communities of care.

Only you, most holy Lover,
hold us with insistent claim,
from our living to our dying
give a purpose to our frame,
welcome us, however broken,
wait for us, and call our name.

Author / Composer Comments

• Author Shirley Erena Murray, from her book Every Day in Your Spirit (Hope Publishing Co., 1996, No. 29): “I wrote this at the prompting of Hope [Publishing Co.] Chairman, George Shorney, who asked for a hymn appropriate to an AIDS service or AIDS awareness workshop. Within weeks of its completion, it was used at an AIDS consultation at the World Council of Churches, Geneva. Terry McArthur, worship consultant there, wrote me a heartwarming note: ‘I wanted you to know that one of your songs did not have to wait for a major meeting to be a blessing to the ecumenical movement.’”

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