“Take This Moment” John Bell (1949-present)

This article first appeared in the September 2014 issue of our parish magazine.

This month’s musical musings are dedicated to my godson Bradley, who is due to start at high school this month, and may choose to attend confirmation classes when he turns 12 years old.  He and his family live on the south coast and my thoughts and prayers are with him – and all other recent and potential confirmation candidates – along with this song.

I first came across “Take this Moment” as an anthem offered by the choir not long after I joined it. There is an instrumental solo in the middle, which at that time Hannah Ogden played on her clarinet. Some of the verses are unison, some are in harmony. Either way the melody flatters an alto voice as it never soars unreachably high, yet also explores the richer lower vocal registers. Years later, the instrumental solo was played by Jennifer on her flute, and later again, the congregation was encouraged to sing the more simply arranged hymn version from the ‘white book’.

Typically for John Bell, the words are powerful. If you have time, read them slowly and thoughtfully:

  1. Take this moment, sign and space;

take my friends around;

here among us make the place

where your love is found.

  1. Take the time to call my name,

take the time to mend

who I am and what I’ve been,

all I’ve failed to tend.

  1. Take the tiredness of my days,

take my past regret,

letting your forgiveness touch

all I can’t forget.

  1. Take the little child in me,

scared of growing old;

help me here to find my worth

made in Christ’s own mould.

  1. Take my talents, take my skills,

take what’s yet to be;

let my life be yours, and yet,

let it still be me.

Verse 1 sets the scene, making us aware of Our Lord’s presence amongst us as we sing: “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am with them” (Matthew 18:20) Not necessarily in a church building, not necessarily in a church service, but anywhere we choose to gather in Jesus’ name. Feel his presence, feel his love.

Verses 2 and 3 are our pleas for God’s healing and forgiving touch in our lives, for the ill that we’ve done and for the good that we’ve failed to do. He knows us all individually and by name, and meets us at our own points of need – whatever and wherever they may be.

In verse 4 we remake our confirmation pledge to strive to live better lives, despite our fears. The uncertainty implicit here transforms into trusting confidence in verse 5: here I am, just as I am, with everything I have to offer now and in the future. I am here to serve, please let it be in a way that suits the skills and talents You have given me – even if I don’t yet know what they are. And this is the verse that I want to dedicate to Bradley: grow in confidence, give of yourself freely, and maintain your personal integrity, values and beliefs.

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