At the Eucharist


By Woodbine Willie: Geoffrey A. Studdert-Kennedy

At the Eucharist

How through this Sacrament of simple things

The great God burns His way,

I know not He is there.

The silent air

Is pulsing with the presence of His grace,

Almost I feel a face

Bend o'er me as I kneel,

While on my ears there steal

The strains of "Agnus Dei" softly sung.

How it calls — calls Heaven to earth,

Calls Christ to birth,

And pleads for man's Redemption

With his God.

Here star and sod

Unite to sing their Maker's praise,

While, through the windows, broken rays

Of crimson sunlight make a path

For Him to tread. Just common bread?

The artist's colour blazing bright,

The subtle scheme of shade and light,

That thrills our souls to ecstasy,

Is bread.

The notes that wed,

And weave a wonderland of sound,

Wherein our hearts may wander round,

And reach the heart of God's red rose,

Where beauty dwells alone and grows

Sublime in solitude, All these are bread.

Are they not born of earth and rain

Becoming tissue of man's brain,

The vehicle of every thought?

The Spirit that our God bestows,

The mystery that loves and knows,

The very soul our Saviour bought

Speaks through a body born of bread —

And wine.

The clinging vine

That climbs some crumbled wall in France,

Drinks in the Love of God,

His precious Blood,

Poured out in beams that dance

Through long-drawn summer days,

Swift golden rays of sunshine,

That are stored within the grape

Until it swells

And spills their splendour

Into wine

To fill the chalice of the Lord.

Then earth and heaven intertwine;

The Word

Takes flesh and dwells with men,

And once again

Dim eyes may see

His gentle glory shine,

The glory of humility,

Which in creation stoops to raise,

Through time's eternity of days,

Our weakness to His strength,

For neither length,

Nor breadth nor depth nor height,

Stays now the piercing of that light

Of omnipresent Love,

It runs red fire through our veins;

The Life divine,

In common wine,

Thrills through the matter of our brains,

Begetting dreams,

And gleams

Of God — swift golden speech,

And charity that burns to reach

The very depths of hell,

And lift them up to Christ,

Who has our thirsty souls sufficed,

Till they are drunk with God.