Lead on, lead on, O kindly Light
Amid th’ encircling gloom;
Though far from home in the darkest of night,
Still You will lead me on.
The distant scene, the path before me
I do not ask to see;
But guard my feet o’er mountain & valley
One step sufficient for me.
‘Lead on. Lead on’ not always my prayer
When pride embittered my soul;
My heart grown hard, my sight firm resolved
To choose the path I should go.
The cares of day, so shallow and fleeting
Shine bright yet cannot endure;
Now fear is gone, my past is forgiven,
My sin remembered no more!
Lead on, lead on with power and grace
The road Your footsteps have worn,
Till break of dawn discovers your face
And I am truly home.
With childlike faith through joy & through sorrow
My journey finally done,
My rest and calm in light everlasting
Where loved and Lover are one.
The story behind this song
Stuart: Based on the famous hymn by Cardinal Henry John Newman, this song focuses on our need to follow and trust in Christ day by day, even when we don’t know what the future looks like. It is natural for us to want to see the big picture, to make sense of everything, to see into the future and what it may bring; and yet God calls us to trust him in the moment, for the next step, even though the distant future isn’t clear. And yet, at the same time, we know that our ultimate destination is to be in his presence forever.
Emma: I came across the words to the original hymn at university, and I really liked the first verse especially. It talks about how the scene before you might be really clouded and misty, and you have no idea what your future holds, but you only need to see the step that is directly in front of you, and have the faith and the confidence in God to take just that one step at a time. So it’s a song of encouragement that in the darkest and scariest places, where you don’t know what lies ahead, you are called to trust God with both the immediate and long-term future. And although this takes a lot of courage, we have a God who gives courage to those who ask for it.