Over 30 years ago Christian singer/songwriter, Graham Kendrick wrote ‘O Lord, the Clouds are Gathering‘. The hymn is a clear-eyed account of the brokenness of our contemporary world.
His poetic gift was at its most powerful when he described the plight of starving children with the words ‘the tools of war increased, their bread is stolen‘
“O Lord, over the nations now
Where is the dove of peace?
Her wings are broken
O Lord, while precious children starve
The tools of war increase
Their bread is stolen“
Kendrick’s words feel more timely now that when they were first written.
Devastation in Ukraine
Our world feel so much darker now – a global pandemic that is estimated to have killed over 6 million people. Famine, extremism, war in Ukraine, with threats of nuclear escalation. Dire economic forecasts, energy and food shortages. And a tsunami of mental health disorders and family breakdown since those words were penned.
“O Lord, the clouds are gathering
The fire of judgement burns
How we have fallen!
O Lord, you stand appalled to see
Your laws of love so scorned
And lives so broken“
So where is God in all this?
Graham Kendrick wrote at a time when he was critical of much of the Christian activity he saw around him – considering it to be shallow. But still he could write:
“Yet, O Lord, your glorious cross shall tower
Triumphant in this land
Through the fire your suffering church display
The glories of her Christ
O Lord The Clouds Are Gathering by Graham Kendrick
In this song Kendrick laments the brokenness of our world – but also reveals his confidence in the promises of God. Over thirty years later we need to look back – more than ever – to a depth of Christian insight that was once much more understood.
“Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Jer.6:16)