The People’s Peace

There is nothing quite like twilight on a snowy evening, especially seen from a window in a warm room.  It always reminds me of one of my favorite hymns.

The People’s Peace

Peace is the mind’s old wilderness cut down –
A wider nation than the founders dreamed.
Peace is the main street in a country town;
Our children named; our parents’ lives redeemed.

Not scholar’s calm, nor gift of church or state,
Nor everlasting date of death’s release;
But careless noon, the houses lighted late,
Harvest and holiday: the people’s peace.

The peace not past our understanding falls
Like light upon the soft white tablecloth
At winter supper warm between four walls,
A thing too simple to be tried as truth.

Days into years, the doorways worn at sill,
Years into lives, the plans for long increase
Come true at last for those of God’s good will:
These are the things we mean by saying, Peace.

by John Holmes (set to Sursum Corda by Alfred Morton Smith)

In the latest Unitarian Universalist hymnal (Singing the Living Tradition), the first verse was removed, apparently because of the reference to cutting down the wilderness.  What can I say?