A Song For Eugene Peterson

When I was in seminary I read Eugene Peterson’s book “Christ Plays In Ten Thousand Places” and it deeply impacted me. Peterson took this title from this poem, written by Hopkins.

As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame;
As tumbled over rim in roundy wells
Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell's
Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name;
Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:
Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;
Selves — goes itself; myself it speaks and spells,
Crying Whát I dó is me: for that I came.

I say móre: the just man justices;
Keeps grace: thát keeps all his goings graces;
Acts in God's eye what in God's eye he is —
Chríst — for Christ plays in ten thousand places,
Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his
To the Father through the features of men's faces.

Gerard Manley Hopkins: Poems and Prose (Penguin Classics, 1985)

As songwriters tend to do, I gathered up these influences, digested them over a period of weeks, and spit them back out in a song.

I played it last week, at a Clergy Conference, the morning after Eugene died. It was a special thing to be able to offer this song because the speaker for our conference was author and professor, James K.A. Smith, who speaks and writes a great deal on themes of incarnational theology, embodiment, and the like.

You can listen and download it for free right here!