When I first glanced at this I thought, “Oh no, not another impossibly optimistic song of praise!” Having trudged on in a hymn at the other dour extreme, a hymn in another book seemed to be unrealistic about the joys of morning. The first line began “Today I awake” and goes on to talk sentimentally about how God “patterns the morning”.

I must take care to avoid jumping to conclusions from such cursory glances. Although this hymn has been placed in the “morning and evening” category that is not the whole story. In fact, if I had bothered to read the whole poem through, I would have discovered that its main theme is God’s faithfulness in all kinds of situation both good and bad. “God never sleeps…Christ is beside me…The Spirit inspires…called me to life and call me their friend”. Not only is God present but he also is there to help us move on “to hope and to heal…from broken to blest”.

The tune accompanying it I found somewhat mournful – or perhaps I would have said ‘wistful’ had I been in a better mood when I played it. The only real criticism is a point about the language we use when talking about God the Trinity: the last verse talks about the three persons and so concludes “they called me…” which is grammatically correct. Unfortunately, it could also be a bit misleading because the Christian belief is that there is one God in Trinity.

It turns out that this hymn is hopeful, rather than wildly optimistic, as well as realistic. The morning may well be patterned with slithers of gold but God may also reveal “glory in grey”; and that almost throw-away phrase is the one I find the most encouraging and affirming line of all. God is in the stuff we do understand, as well in the miracles that we don’t; God is in the ordinary times as well as in the special ones.