In church we’re doing a brief series of “hymn moments.” The RevDoc asked several of us to speak briefly about a favorite hymn. It’s part of intentionality and meaning in worship–telling how God has used this hymn to speak to us and thus letting the congregation hear something new in what we sing. So I’m up tomorrow. The song I chose is “I Am for You” by Rory Cooney.
I can’t find the text on-line anywhere, so I’m not really sure if it’s okay to put it on here or not. I’ll do the first stanza, though.
There is a mountain there is a sea
There is a wind within all breathing
There is an arm to break ev’ry chain,
There is a fire in all things living.
There is a voice that speaks from the flame:
“I am for you, I am for you,
I am for you is my name.”
Here, more or less, is what I plan to say:
I Am for You
A year ago this month, Squeak and Bubble were baptized*. During the week before the baptism, Bubble and I came in to go over things so Bubble would know what to expect. The RevDoc was working on the worship bulletin and happened to ask me if I had a favorite hymn, something I’d like sung during this special–to us anyway–service. I said that I really didn’t, that for all the years I’d spent in church, nothing particularly stood out.
During that baptismal service, The RevDoc themed the sermon around the idea that “all of scripture is a message from God to us, a letter, that can be summarized…in four words: I am for you.” At the close of the service we sang this song, “I Am for You.” And that stuck with me.
A few months ago, I was reminded of those words, of the truth of God’s word to us, “I Am for You,” and it made me remember the song, so I found it on iTunes and bought a copy. I put it into the playlist I call, “Bookgirl’s Go-To Songs.” So there it is in the shuffle when I’m walking or driving.
The song itself is rich. It’s kind of packed with scriptural references that call to mind moments of God’s love and power and the way God reaches out to us and through us. I could write a paper on it, but I’ll try to spare you. The song tells the story of God’s relationship with the world and with us and it personalizes it. The stanzas move from God to Mary to Christ to Us to Hope for what is still to come, yet it’s always God and God’s Word: “I am for you is my name… I am for you let it be… I am for you to the end… I am for you evermore… I am for you: We are one…” “I am for you…” It’s a phrase I like having rumbling in my head.
So this time, when the RevDoc asked what my favorite hymn was–it seemed at the time to be a random question, though evidently she had something in mind–this was one song that came to mind. This is the song that has been speaking to me, this year anyway, that reminds me of what I need to hear: God says, “I am for you” over and over again through many many voices.
*In this post I explain the baptism decision.