JACOB TRAPP (1899-1992). A Unitarian Universalist minister who served congregations in Salt Lake City, Denver, and Summit, New Jersey, he was the editor of Modern Religious Poems and author of the hymn, “Wonders Still the World Shall Witness.”
MARK OF THE ETERNAL
Grant us to see things that bear the mark of the eternal:
The beauty that lives with loving kindness,
The transmutation of suffering into wisdom and understanding;
The divine impulse given and received.
Give us to cherish life’s perishable beauty
That it may be imperishably present with us,
And may we so pass through the things that are fleeting
As to be richer in the things that endure.
Great Spirit, whose voice is heard in the stillness, whose breath gives life to all: we come before You as children needing strength and wisdom. Grant us to waIk in beauty, seeing the uncommon in the common, aware of the great stream of wonder in which we and all things move. Give us to see more deeply into the great things of our heritage, and the simple but sublime truths hidden in every leaf and every rock. May our hands treat with respect the things which You have created. May we walk with other creatures as sharers with them in the one life that flows from You.
Guide us, True Light;
Quicken us, True Life;
Feed us, True Bread;
That our hunger for You may be fed,
And that we may be led
Into the Way of Peace.
May the flame of faith that nerves both freedom and order burn always.
May the spirit of adventure live on in us always, seeking in high courage the green fields beyond the desert.
May we keep alive our love of life, our delight in friendship, our hunger for new knowledge, and our hatred for a lie.
May we keep the courage of a free mind which, like a flower, is most beautiful when open.
May we come to learn, in our religious experience, the ineffable mystery and wonder of our own souls.
Wisdom, be more precious than possessions without end.
Truth, be more sacred than the pleasing of a friend.
Courage, be our strength to gain the distant goal.
Beauty, send cleansing wonders through the soul.
YOU ARE NOT THERE
How does it happen in this poor world that You are so near, yet nobody finds You?
That in all things You speak, yet nobody hears You?
That Your signature is everywhere in the beauty of things, yet nobody knows Your name?
We close our eyes, and say we cannot see You,
We stop our ears, and say we cannot hear.
We flee from You, and say we cannot find You.
Present always, You are nearer to us than we are to ourselves, but too often we are not there.
We awaken to the sun’s glory of light praising You in the morning.
You are the blue dome above, the limitless sky beyond.
You are the warmth that embraces mother earth, the rain that quenches her thirst and gives renewal of life to all her children.
You are the brightness of sunlit leaves, the shade under a cool canopy of trees, the congregation of great rocks, giving strength, among which we stand steadfast.
You are the stillness in the mountain, the corresponding stillness in us deeper than all stirrings of self.
You are the mesas and cliffs from which birds dart down and sing.
You are the wings, the singer, and the song.
You are the listening world.
Your signature is the beauty of things.