We met as darkness fell (website only)

Authors & translators:
Gilbert, Vince
Festivals and Seasons:

jesus-appears-to-disciples(For the season of Easter)

We met as darkness fell,
Came hooded, cloaked in fear,
Too scared to hear what Mary said
Unless we barred the door.

Then Jesus came right in;
Alive, yet bearing scars:
The One who’d walked and healed and taught
And died on Golgotha.

He breathed into our souls,
He set us all apart;
He sent us out to do his work,
To wear his opened heart;

To tell folk, "Touch our scars,
Put hands into our side,
So you’ll believe that we believe
In him who loved and died."

 Words: Vince Gilbert © 2022 vince.gilbert@gmail.com

Suggested tune: Written with Carlisle StF 370 (ii) in mind. An alternative tune may be Redemptor (StF 466) [but see note below].

Metre: 66.86. (Short)


Ideas for use

Useful for the Sunday following Easter, when readings often recount the appearance of Jesus to the disciples in a locked room. But, with its emphasis on the kind of discipleship to which the crucified Jesus calls us, this is a hymn that speaks to times when hard tasks or situations must be faced, by individuals or communities.

More information

With its powerful opening scene-setting, this is a text that grabs our attention, evoking the mood of the first disciples following the crucifixion of Jesus. If sung on the Sunday following Easter Day, it will be a reminder that the joy inspired by the resurrection comes with hard tests and challenges.

In the first two verses, we hear the voices of the disciples sharing their memories; in verse 3, the perspective shifts and their experience becomes our experience ("He set us all apart") . The final verse is especially thought-provoking – the idea that the Christian community is, by its very nature, wounded as Jesus was wounded; that our gospel is quite the opposite of triumphalism.

Vince writes: "This hymn springs from wondering what the 'other' disciples were feeling as news  spread about the Resurrection not the ones named in the narratives, but those for whom the most that is said is that they gathered together in secret for fear of the Jews. They were probably closest in mood to many people in our congregations today: unsure what this might mean for their lives outside the holy huddle, and with no idea how they might respond. It was written to support a sermon calling people to consider what this amazing joyous truth might mean in these days."

sacred-heart-kildare-white-abbey-north-transept-windowIt was also noted by the hymn submission group that those with a Catholic background may have a very particular response to the couplet “He sent us out to do his work, / To wear his opened heart”, which is worth reflecting on. (Image left: Kildare White Abbey North Transept Window)

Singing "Golgotha"

Vince says that when he chose to write with the tune "Carlisle" in mind, he was aware that the name "Golgotha" (end of v.2) would land on three notes that all carry the same length and weight. "What I responded to in the tune Carlisle was its slightly mournful, resolute stateliness. The text expresses a mood of 'My God, did Jesus actually mean all that stuff we were trying to ignore? We're in trouble now!' I want the tune to reinforce the mood rather than to lighten it." For the place of Christ's crucifixion, "I did want the ugly sound (in English) as opposed to the more euphonious, and more familiar, Calvary."


vince-gilbertVince Gilbert is a Methodist local preacher, a poet, and a retired engineer. For The Story Project*, Vince talks about the gift of “starting over, forgiven”. He says: “God accepts everything you’ve done but now he has something new for you to do”. It's a profound, post-resurrection realisation that also informs the words of this hymn. View Vince sharing his story here

Vince’s concern with the demands of discipleship is also seen in We shall make peace and Vince’s Transfiguration hymn Who is this, whose face shines brighter – both published on StF+.


*The Story Project is a Methodist initiative that aims to give people both a platform and the confidence to share their story,

Previous Page Fear not, for I am with you (website only)
Next Page What is your compass hymn?