O shining city!
Lord, my Lord, where and when shall union take place --
this homecoming for which my soul ceaselessly pines?
Spectral voices and music have entered my ears
from the crib and cradle, through hard back pews,
on the Southern ether and the radio dials,
from behind the lecterns, choir lofts, baptismal pools --
o lovers, o sinners, it lies yonder, lies yonder --
across the river, through the gates of pearl,
the walls of jasper, above
the city foundations of twelve precious stones;
in a city -- o shining city! -- streets of gold,
among the clouds ...
in the land of Beulah,
beyond the sun ... union lies, o pining hearts,
o tear-stained, heaving chests;
o lovers and sinners, lost and found, lost and found ...
wretched and redeemed, every head bowed, every eye closed,
knees bent and buckled, every heart broken.
O Beloved, I have heard Your promise my life long --
and others will hear it yet, pronounced above my grave --
and wonder, Lord, my Lord, where and when,
where and when, shall this union take place? Where
and when shall I enter, at last, the glorious gates of pearl?
O child of God, take comfort in the heart's evidence --
you are, indeed, a stranger in a strange land.