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I read a short essay by C.S. Lewis a couple years ago called Must Our Image of God Go? in which Lewis is responding to an article by a Bishop of Woolwich claiming that it should. This description of his immediately struck me as capturing part of the majesty of God in a few short words: “We have always thought of God as being not only ‘in’ ‘above’, but also ‘below’ us: as the depth of ground. We can imaginatively speak of Father ‘in heaven’ yet also of the everlasting arms that are ‘beneath’.”

I have always loved the glorious description of Christ being in all, and all things held together in him, that we find in Colossians. Lewis’ comment reminded me of the “everywhere-ness” of God as well: above, below, in. At a similar time two other occurrences combined- listening to lectures on God’s revealing of himself and picking out hymns one Sunday with a theme of the same. However, there didn’t seem to be many hymns that spoke directly to the idea. I decided it would be a good project to write one.

I knew I wanted to explore the idea of above and yet below, and that ended up providing the central thoughts of this song. Each of the verses dwells on a different way God reveals himself, through nature, through the Incarnation, through Scripture, through the yet-to-come appearing of the Son.  In all of these, I hoped to convey not only God, the majestic one, but also God who has come near to us.

My main goal as I set it to music was to capture a combination of weightiness and spaciousness. A few ways I tried to accomplish this was through the repeated chords in 2/2 time, and a wide pitch range. Nathan Bird lent his rich voice next to my lighter one, as well as, with my husband, to the opening rumbling hum. The cellist, Dan Lawonn, played beautifully, coming in with a pedal note on the third verse that gave a stability and gravity to the description of Christ.

The song ends with “we shall know him as we are known”- a reference to I Cor. 13:12, long one of my favorite verses: “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” We do not see him clearly yet, but we will.

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Who is this enthroned above the earth
His mighty word beneath all things
Glorious, immeasurable his worth
Ever life creating
Ever truth unfading
This our God, the last, the first
Making himself known

Nowhere can we flee that you’re not there
In you alone is life and breath
Earth and sky your splendor loud declare!
The farthest star sustaining
The darkest depth reclaiming
You are God of everywhere
Making Yourself known.

Who is this who suffered in our place
You have not left us on our own
Incarnate Word, God’s love to us displayed
Far above in righteousness,
Come near to our weakness
Christ our God, what glorious grace
Making Yourself known.

This our very bread, our very life
Every word that comes from you
Filling all our darkened ways with light
Standing firm eternally,
Speaking to the lowly,
In your Word, ‘til faith is sight,
Making yourself known

In our midst, alive, forevermore,
Yet still we wait to see your face
Beauty blinding, burning like the sun
Holiness your covering
Adorned in long-suffering
This our God, we’ve waited for!
Making yourself known

We will know him as we’re known

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