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.
In eight lines the writer uses the word "one" five times.
There is a strong echo of Deuteronomy 6 and its assertion
of the oneness of God. With all our many competing
interests and commitments, Lent comes to remind us of
the one God who reveals the divine self in Jesus through
the Holy Spirit and invites us into a deep personal
relationship. The religious plurality of the world may call
us to divide our devotion. But God calls us to remember
that the Light is One.
The words of the hymn also suggest a strong echo of Luke
10:41 in which Jesus says one thing is needed, calling
Martha to realign her priorities. Martha was worried
about many things to be done. Jesus pointed her to the
one thing needed--sit with me, learn of me, entertain
me--and let the other things fall into place.