Note to My Readers: from mid-June to mid-August (6/18 - 8/20), I will be taking a summer break from posting new articles for my Thursday and Friday slots. This will only affect my Thursday series on the global growth of Christianity, and my Friday series, the "Theological Bestiary" of birds, both of which will resume in late August. During the summer, I'll be dusting off some of my best essays from the first few years of this blog (a decade ago), as well as my verse play "Thus Ends the World," and re-posting them in the Thursday and Friday slots. All other weekdays will continue to feature new material throughout the summer.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

"O Past and Gone," by Gerhard Tersteegen

Every now and then, when my poetic muse won't submit to the stricture of weekly activity, I'll post instead a classic poem that has been meaningful in my life. This one is by the German Christian poet and mystic Gerhard Tersteegen, an 18th-century writer (you can find more of his poetry here). I first learned it from the text of an article by the preacher A. W. Tozer, who also loved its mystical sensibility. It expresses the almost inexpressible wonder of being caught up in a sense of the greatness of God.

O Past and Gone
  
O past and gone!
How great is God! how small am I!
A mote in the illimitable sky,
Amidst the glory deep, and wide, and high
Of Heaven's unclouded sun.
There to forget myself for evermore;
Lost, swallowed up in Love's immensity,
The sea that knows no sounding and no shore,
God only there, not I.
More near than I unto myself can be,
Art Thou to me;
So have I lost myself in finding Thee...
The boundless Heaven of Thine eternal love
Around me, and beneath me, and above;
In glory of that golden day
The former things are passed away—
I, past and gone.

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