Our Father’s Business :

Holman Hunt’s Picture of “ Christ in the Temple.

O Christ-child, Everlasting, Holy One,1
Sufferer of all the sorrow of this world,2
Redeemer of the sin of all this world,3
Who by Thy death brought’st life into this world4
O Christ, hear us !5
This, this is Thou. No idle painter’s dream6
Of aureoled, imaginary Christ,7
Laden with attributes that make not God ;8
But Jesus, son of Mary ; lowly, wise,9
Obedient, subject unto parents, mild,10
Meek—as the meek that shall inherit earth,11
Pure—as the pure in heart that shall see God.12
O infinitely human, yet divine !13
Half clinging child-like to the mother found,14
Yet half repelling—as the soft eyes say15
How is it that ye sought me ?  Wist ye not16
That I must be about my Father’s business ?”17
As in the Temple’s splendors mystical,18
Earth’s wisdom hearkening to the all-wise One,19
Earth’s closest love clasping the all-loving One,20
He sees far off the vision of the cross,21
The Christ-like glory and the Christ-like doom.22
Messiah !  Elder Brother, Priest-and King,23
The Son of God, and yet the woman’s seed ;24
Enterer within the veil ; Victor of death,25
And made to us first fruits of them that sleep ;26
Saviour and Intercessor, Judge and Lord,—27
All that we know of Thee, or knowing not28
Love only, waiting till the perfect time29
When we shall know even as we are known—30
O Thou Child Jesus, Thou dost seem to say31
By the soft silence of these heavenly eyes32
(That rose out of the depths of nothingness33
Upon this limner’s reverent soul and hand)34
We too should be about our Father’s business35
O Christ, hear us !36
Have mercy on us, Jesus Christ, our Lord !37
The cross Thou borest still is hard to bear ;38
And awful even to humblest follower39
The little that Thou givest each to do40
Of this Thy Father’s business ; whether it be41
Temptation by the devil of the flesh,42
Or long-linked years of lingering toil obscure,43
Uncomforted, save by solemn rests44
On mountain-tops of solitary prayer ;45
Oft ending in the supreme sacrifice,46
The putting odd all garments of delight,47
And taking sorrow’s kingly crown of thorn,48
In crucifixion of all self to Thee,49
Who offeredst up Thyself for all the world.50
O Christ, hear us !51
Our Father’s business :— unto us, as Thee,52
The whole which this earth-life, this hand-breadth span53
Out of our everlasting life that lies54
Hidden with Thee in God, can ask or need,55
Outweighing all that heap of petty woes—56
To us a measure huge—which angels blow57
Out of the balance of our total lot,58
As zephyrs blow the winged dust away.59
O Thou who wert the Child of Nazareth,60
Make us see only this, and only Thee,61
Who camest but to do thy Father’s will,62
And didst delight to do it. Take Thou then63
Thou bitterness of loss,—aspirings vain,64
And anguishes of unfulfilled desire,65
Our joys imperfect, our sublimed despairs,66
Our hopes, our dreams, our wills, our loves, our all,67
And cast them into the great crucible68
In which the whole earth, slowly purified,69
Runs molten, and shall run—the Will of God.70
O Christ, hear us !71