Tuesday, May 11, 2004

When I was about 12 or so, I was forced to go to Church one Sunday with my parents. I found myself, shockingly, bored; mainly because my parents had forbidden me to bring a book to read this time. In an attempt to curb the boredom, I decided to pick up the hymn book in front of me and memorize a passage. It turns out I became really moved by it, though I was (and still am) atheist. I found it beautiful. Recently, I just discovered the scrap book in which I had written down the passage when I returned from church that day. It stills moves me. Apparently this passage comes from Isaiah 44:22, but I'm not sure on that. Here it is:

I will sweep away your transgressions like a cloud, and your sins will be to me like a mist-dissolved. So return to me, I will heal you, for I love you.
If you say to me: "Father, I am blind," if you say to me: "I cannot see," I will be your light, I'll restore your sight. Place your darkness in me.
If you say to me: "I am in prison Lord, I'm imprisoned by my fears," then I'll come for you, I'll comfort you. Let me wipe away your tears.
If you say to me: "I am poor and lame, I need to be healed and set free. I have sinned O Lord, I am sorry Lord, I need you to live in me".

I am still touched by it, though I can't really articulate why.


At 5:31 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know that you are an atheist, so you can take my comment (as a non-atheist) with a grain of salt if you wish. You don't recognize it as such, but perhaps this passage moves you because God is speaking to you through it.

At 10:20 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just came back from church where they played that passage as a song. It really moved me to. and I love the song so much. But I cannot find it anywhere, so if you know of a place that I can listen to it that would be great.

At 9:17 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's 6am, and I've tripped into your writings ... don't understand the concept of these personal pages yet; however, I had put in the search for I Will Sweep Away Your Transgressions and found you at the top! Amazing, ay? That you memorized so much of it is, in itself, quite the feat ... when I can't even hardly remember the title !!! I LOVE this hymn, and the music is a soft and lilting melody which reminds me of something Jewish (as much as I know about that sound)... it's been "haunting" me for days now.
So, then, I see you are an "athiest" .. that one always sets me alight with great disbelief .. spawned by the fact that you have been given the gift already of insight ... I LOVE that phrase "I was FORCED to go to Church". In fact you were about as lucky as they come that some brilliant Mum and Dad had the foresight to drag you by the hair and lead you to this hymn. Sorry, pal, girlie, when you're tripped, you're tripped, and already you won't be let go to drown in the great new age of freedom from freedom.
Bless your funny heart.

At 5:32 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...


This hymn popped into my head today as I was driving home from work. I was raised Catholic and my family is very involved in the church but I was never that much interested in it all (though I wouldn't call myself an athiest - usually it depends on the day!). However, this hymn always spoke to me (also "City of God" "Here I am Lord" and "Gift of Finest Wheat" - those were my favourites). I don't know why the hymn came to me today but I typed the first line into Google on a whim and your page came up. The past year has been very difficult - with 4 funerals for beloved family members. It has made me re-think some things. I don't know what I actually believe, but I know what I'd like to believe and maybe that's enough. Thanks for your post about this hymn - I'm glad I'm not the only one who has been haunted by this song over the years.

Btw for the other Anonymous, I found an organ track of it on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iLiVP7f-PTI


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