Praising the Source of Faith and Learning
To me, the Institute and the Divinity School are a place providing a means to draw upon religion in ways that are reconciling and redemptive for aesthetic/intellectual/religious communities. And so I was especially honored recently that my hymn, whose words are reproduced below, was selected for the 2007 National Prayer Breakfast by the keynote speaker for the occasion, Dr. Francis S. Collins, the director of the National Human Genome Research Institute at the National Institutes of Health.
Dr. Collins describes himself as “a scientist, but also a believer, having been converted from atheism to Christianity in my 20s. I describe the harmony that I find between the scientific and spiritual worldviews in a recent book The Language of God." In his remarks, Dr. Collins set out to explain the ways in which science can be a form of worship of God the creator. “But for many of us,” he said, “words are so much more powerful when coupled with music -- and [these] lyrics, sung to Hyfrydol, [are] the perfect summation of what I want to convey.”
Because these views are no doubt shared by so many in the ISM community, I am pleased to offer them to you as well.
Praise the Source of Faith and Learning
Praise the source of faith and learning
who has sparked and stoked the mind
with a passion for discerning
how the world has been designed.
Let the sense of wonder flowing
from the wonders we survey
keep our faith forever growing
and renew our need to pray:
God of wisdom, we acknowledge
that our science and our art
and the breadth of human knowledge
only partial truth impart.
Far beyond our calculation
lies a depth we cannot sound
where your purpose for creation
and the pulse of life are found.
May our faith redeem the blunder
of believing that our thought
has displaced the grounds for wonder
which the ancient prophets taught.
May our learning curb the error
which unthinking faith can breed
lest we justify some terror
with an antiquated creed.
As two currents in a river
fight each other’s undertow
till converging they deliver
one coherent steady flow,
blend, O God, our faith and learning
till they carve a single course
while they join as one returning
praise and thanks to you their source.
from Thomas H. Troeger
Borrowed Light: hymn texts, prayers, and poems
copyright © 1994 Oxford University Press
reproduced by permission.
Dr. Francis S. Collins
Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute at the National Institutes of Health
Photo Courtesy NIH