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The title, “O Gentle Presence,” is a re-wording of Mary Baker Eddy’s poem, “Mother’s Evening Prayer.” Praying with/singing this text, we can know that God, divine Love, is our refuge, our child’s refuge. Verses one, three, and five of the poem are set to the same expressive melody. Verse three is marked by a contrasting accompaniment consisting of bell-like chords. Verses two and four offer musical contrast to the other verses—striking changes of tonal centers. The work is unified by a return in verse five to the same accompaniment pattern found in verse one.
O Gentle Presence
(Mother’s Evening Prayer)
Text: Mary Baker Eddy
Arranger: Terry J Barham
O gentle presence, peace and joy and power;
O Life divine, that owns each waiting hour,
Thou Love that guards the nestling’s faltering flight!
Keep Thou my child on upward wing tonight.
Love is our refuge; only with mine eye
Can I behold the snare, the pit, the fall:
His habitation high is here, and nigh,
His arm encircles me, and mine, and all.
O make me glad for every scalding tear,
For hope deferred, ingratitude, disdain!
Wait, and love more for every hate, and fear
No ill, — since God is good, and loss is gain.
Beneath the shadow of His mighty wing;
In that sweet secret of the narrow way,
Seeking and finding, with the angels sing:
“Lo, I am with you alway,” — watch and pray.
No snare, no fowler, pestilence or pain;
No night drops down upon the troubled breast,
When heaven’s aftersmile earth’s tear-drops gain,
And mother finds her home and heav’nly rest.
Words by Mary Baker Eddy from the Christian Science Hymnal, used courtesy of The Mary Baker Eddy Collection