Communion.

A poem by Susan Coolidge

What is it to commune?
It is when soul meets soul, and they embrace
As souls may, stooping from each separate sphere
For a brief moment's space.

What is it to commune?
It is to lay the veil of custom by,
To be all unafraid of truth to talk,
Face to face, eye to eye.

Not face to face, dear Lord;
That is the joy of brighter worlds to be;
And yet, Thy bidden guests about Thy board,
We do commune with Thee.

Behind the white-robed priest
Our eyes, anointed with a sudden grace,
Dare to conjecture of a mighty guest,
A dim beloved Face.

And is it Thou, indeed?
And dost Thou lay Thy glory all away
To visit us, and with Thy grace to feed
Our hungering hearts to-day?

And can a thing so sweet,
And can such heavenly condescension be?
Ah! wherefore tarry thus our lingering feet?
It can be none but Thee.

There is the gracious ear
That never yet was deaf to sinner's call;
We will not linger, and we dare not fear,
But kneel,--and tell Thee all.

We tell Thee of our sin
Only half loathed, only half wished away,
And those clear eyes of Love that look within
Rebuke us, seem to say,--

"O, bought with my own blood,
Mine own, for whom my precious life I gave,
Am I so little prized, remembered, loved,
By those I died to save?"

And under that deep gaze
Sorrow awakes; we kneel with eyelids wet,
And marvel, as with Peter at the gate,
That we could so forget,

We tell Thee of our care,
Of the sore burden, pressing day by day,
And in the light and pity of Thy face
The burden melts away.

We breathe our secret wish,
The importunate longing which no man may see;
We ask it humbly, or, more restful still,
We leave it all to Thee.

And last our amulet
Of precious names we thread, and soft and low
We crave for each beloved, or near or far,
A blessing ere we go.

The thorns are turned to flowers,
All dark perplexities seem light and fair,
A mist is lifted from the heavy hours,
And Thou art everywhere.

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