Welcome to a special Sunday Evening Lyricality, featuring a weekly song or poem by a Minnesota writer.

In Minnesota we’ve been enjoying a winter thaw, raising our spirits and awakening our hopes for spring. This week, instead of a Sunday Morning offering, I give you a song written by Tony Barr for a lucenarium celebration–an ancient form of evening worship. This is a hymn to honor the twilight hours of the day. In his reflections on this hymn, Tony Barr writes, “The Jesuit scientist-mystic Teilhard de Chardin took the occasion of dusk to offer to his God the rising heat of the energies of the day’s travail, as the planet cooled with the coming of the night…The Lakota Indian, ever conscious of the Great Spirit, honors the moment of twilight as an occasion of thanksgiving for all that has happened that day.” Whatever your personal beliefs, I hope this music will entice you to honor twilight with thanksgiving.

Tracy Rittmueller

O Great Mystery
Tony Barr

Listen to O Great Mystery by Tony Barr

O Great Mystery! Source of light, unvanquished as night-fall returns!
O Holy Wonder! O Bright star of the evening as day turns to night!
O Great Spirit! Fire in the night sky! O Voice from cloud, in darkness!

We gather now before you, to honor you and thank you, 
for light, and life and goodness, for all that sustains us.

O Great Mystery! Source of life and wisdom as darkness returns!
O Holy Wonder! O Timeless, agelong beauty as daylight is fading!
O Great Spirit! Hand-print in the heavens, the spinning of galaxies!

O Great Mystery! Source of all that comforts as day takes its rest! 
O Holy Wonder! O Spark of expectation, of dreams coming true!
O Great Spirit! Love for our reflection as evening approaches!

Tony Barr is a theologian, astrophysicist. composer and writer.  He is currently researching the roots of the European ritual music tradition for St John’s University archives, about the 20th Century Dutch pioneers Bernard Huijbers and Huub Oosterhuis.  He is currently translating their works into English and making recordings of them  in the St Joseph studio.  He publishes his own music from his home in Saint Cloud under the label of Jabulani Music, which he formed while with Zulu friends in South Africa . Originally from a pre-Brexit UK, he has been a permanent (legal) resident in the US since 1986.  His preferred language is English, but he gets by with American, and has recently enjoyed an extended stay in The Netherlands and France. He lives in St. Cloud, Minnesota.

"O Great Mystery" by Tony Barr, published by Jabulani Music in the album You Are For Me (© 2010). 
Appears here with the permission of the publisher and author.