Eternal being, Three yet One (website only)

Authors & translators:
Brown, Andrew
Composers & arrangers:
Beesley, Jo
Festivals and Seasons:
The Trinity

trinity-image-istock-470588848Eternal Being, Three yet One,
you give all life its origin,
help us to recognise with joy
your spark, your glory, in each soul. 

Eternal ebb and flow of life,
like rippling waves upon the shore,
help us to find within our lives
the living water of your way. 

Eternal love: a burning flame,
unruly wind and gentle dove,
help us to move to every sign
your Spirit is within our world.

Eternal Trinity of God,
relationship that is divine;
help us to build communities
inspired by all we know of you.

Words: © Andrew Brown – March 2023

Suggested tunes: Solothurn (StF 678); tune by Jo Beesley, specially written for these words – download as a PDF

Metre:  88 88 (LM) 

Ideas for use

It will be worth spending time to learn Jo Beesley’s attractive setting of these words. The tune's easy movement seems to take inspiration from the hymn’s second verse (“Eternal ebb and flow of life, like rippling waves upon the shore”), while the leap in the melody at start of line four nicely mirrors the uplift with which Andrew brings each verse to a close.

More information

waves-lapping-on-shore-gettyimages-1430657052It’s often helpful to re-imagine how we speak of the Trinity, to explore the ways in which God reveals Godself to us. In the first three verses of this hymn, Andrew focuses on each person of the Trinity in turn, but uses language that is fresh and thought-provoking. This is especially true of verse 2, in which the incarnate God is thought of as being like rippling waves upon a sea or lake shore, continually disturbing but also comfortably present; at once the “eternal ebb and flow of life” and alongside us in our experience of it.   

There are glimpses, too, of the unpredictability of God’s presence in the burning flames and unruly wind of verse 3, and an acknowledgement that God’s Spirit is present in all sorts of ways, events and encounters – a Pentecost diversity that is both richly generous but which also keeps us on our toes! (Compare this with Raj Bharath Patta and Clare Stainsby’s Streets are filled with many people (website only) with their image of “God in multi-lingual speak”.) 

Verse 4 makes explicit what is implicit when we speak of the three persons of the Trinity, that the heart of God is relationship – that relationship is intrinsic to the character if God and is inspirational for our own. 

Andrew Brown has been a Methodist Local Preacher for over forty years and is based in Yorkshire. He says: “I became interested in writing hymn poems in 2003 and am keen to provide words that question and challenge, while remaining true to the good news of God’s love for each individual.”

Previous Page Here is a death (website only)
Next Page A third on the road (website only)