Through the night of doubt and sorrow,
onward goes the pilgrim band,
singing songs of expectation,
marching to the promised land.
Clear before us through the darkness
gleams and burns the guiding light;
pilgrim clasps the hand of pilgrim
stepping fearless through the night.
One the light of God's own presence
on the ransomed people shed,
chasing far the gloom and terror,
bright'ning all the path we tread.
One the object of our journey,
one the faith which never tires,
one the earnest looking forward,
one the hope our God inspires.
One the strain that lips of thousands
lift as from the heart of one;
one the conflict, one the peril,
one the march in God begun.
One the gladness of rejoicing
on the far eternal shore,
where the one almighty Father
reigns in love forevermore.
Onward, therefore, sisters, brothers;
onward, with the cross our aid.
Bear its shame, and fight its battle
till we rest beneath its shade.
Soon shall come the great awak'ning;
soon the rending of the tomb!
Then the scatt'ring of all shadows,
and the end of toil and gloom.
My friends and I were only a mile or two from base
camp, but night had fallen. I proposed that we spend
the night in the meadow we had reached, rather than
try to negotiate a rocky, sloping trail in pitch darkness. I
was afraid--afraid of falling, of the unknown. My friends
said, "No, come on. We'll be all right." And one of my
friends, Soren, put his hand on my cheek in a gesture of
comfort and reassurance. And with that reassuring touch,
suddenly I knew that they were right. We would make it.
We should keep going.
"Pilgrim clasps the hand of pilgrim" says the hymn. Often,
that's what keeps us going--a hand holding ours, a
touch on the cheek, a comforting embrace, a tater-tot
casserole. God gives us fellow pilgrims--family, friends,
church members--companions for the journey to lift us
up when we fall, to encourage us when we doubt. And
we do the same for them. Through the night of doubt
and sorrow, surrounded by that communion of saints we
keep on keeping on.