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730

I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light

Scripture References

Further Reflections on Scripture References

Jesus said that those who do not “receive the Kingdom of God as a little child will not enter it.” Thomerson’s hymn is childlike: simple in rhetoric, profound in meaning. It is a confession of faith in Christ (st. 1), of love for him (st. 2) and of joy celebrating the promise of the joy of “the city of God” once revealed to the apostle John (st. 3). It sounds familiar because nearly every line is based on Scripture.

 

Sing! A New Creation

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

The Canons of Dort V, 13 explain that our assurance of eternal security and perseverance cannot “produce immorality or lack of concern for godliness in those put back on their feet after a fall, but it produces a much greater concern to observe carefully the way which the Lord prepared in advance” and it is “an incentive to a serious and continuous practice of thanksgiving and good works...” (Canons of Dort V, 12) Therefore, this sub-section contains songs which express both the desire and the commitment of the believer to walk in obedience for holy living. Woven throughout these songs are expressions of fervent desire for holy living, a dedication to follow God’s will, a surrender of one’s will, and prayers for the Holy Spirit to continue his sanctifying work.

730

I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light

Additional Prayers

A Prayer for Epiphany
Wondrous God, shining light of the universe, in you there is no darkness at all.
I want to walk as a child of the light.
O Lord Jesus Christ, in you is the fullness of God and the fullness of God’s light.
I want to walk as a child of the light.
O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, you were found by magi who followed a star.
I want to walk as a child of the light.  I want to follow Jesus.  Amen.
— Cornelius Plantinga, Jr.
730

I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light

Tune Information

Name
HOUSTON
Key
C Major
Meter
10.7.10.8 refrain 9.9.11.7

Recordings

Musical Suggestion

Often characterized as a hymn, and certainly appropriate to lead in a more traditional style, it works surprisingly well as a modern rock ballad. The stanza/refrain structure is similar to most praise and worship songs. It is easy for a congregation to hear this song as new and contemporary.
 
Feel the rhythm in one beat per measure, and allow the guitar and rhythm section to establish a subtle groove, providing energy and movement to the song.
 
On one hand, a slower tempo commends the song as an Advent prayer for illumination. The congregation sings “Shine in my heart, Lord Jesus.” Additionally, the second stanza conveys a longing to see Jesus and to be led through Christ to the presence of the Father.
 
On the other hand, a quicker tempo captures the spirit of dedication in the season of Epiphany. The worshiper commits to live in the light of Christ, singing, “I want to walk… I want to see… I’m looking for…” And in hope and anticipation, the worshiper concludes in stanza 3, “When we have run with patience the race, we shall know the joy of Jesus.” 
(from Reformed Worship, Issue 89)
— Paul Ryan

Some songs, though new to you, may seem familiar. This hymn by Kathleen Thomerson is that kind of song—immediately accessible, yet with depth of meaning and expression that will not quickly wear thin. It serves equally well as a carol sung by a choir in a Service of Lessons and Carols, for example, or as a congregational hymn. It also works well for many different occasions—for Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, or as a general hymn of commitment; for healing services, commissioning services, or even weddings and funerals.
 
One reason the hymn might sound familiar is the way the text and tune fit so beautifully together. Not many text writers are equally gifted as composers. In fact, Thomerson's educational background is more musical than literary. The strength and beauty of her text are rooted in the strength and beauty of the Scriptures she chose. The text is not rhymed, but in this text, rhyme doesn't matter. The many scriptural images centering on light hold the text together.
(from Reformed Worship, Issue 45)
— Emily Brink

Repeated melodic figures and a lack of dotted rhythms contribute to an easy, gentle, almost childlike atmosphere. Congregations should be encouraged to sing in harmony. Consider repeating the refrain once more at the end, a cappella. Capture the longing of the text with the tempo you choose – andantino, but without frivolity. Feel only one beat per measure. 
730

I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light

Hymn Story/Background

In meditating one day on biblical texts that speak of light, Kathleen Thomerson gathered many passages that began to move into melodic shape that eventually became this song. Virtually every phrase is based on scripture. She wrote the first stanza and melody in St. Louis and completed it in Houston, where she and her husband and two-year old son went to visit her mother and also friends at the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer, where the song was first sung.
 
That inner-city church was influential on her and others who formed The Community of Celebration there, a religious order in the Episcopal Church now based in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, with members from many places, also in England. This song was first published in Songs for Celebration (1980). 
— Emily Brink

Author and Composer Information

Kathleen Thomerson (b. 1934) studied organ and music at the Universities of Colorado and Texas, earning a BM and MM in organ performance at the University of Texas in Austin. She also studied organ with Flor Peeters at the Flemish Royal Conservatory in Antwerp, and with Jean Langlais in Paris; she also wrote a biography of Langlais. She taught at several institutions, including Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville where her husband James E. Thomerson also taught as a professor of biology. She also served as a church musician at a variety of churches over the years and is currently Organist and Music Director at Mt. Olive Lutheran Church in Austin, Texas. 
— Emily Brink

Song Notes

Kathleen Thomerson wrote this song as a testimony arising out of the regular practice of scripture meditation and prayer. Its strength and beauty are rooted in the strength and beauty of the Scriptures she chose; her knowledge of scripture and love for Christ come through with gentle and strong conviction. The text is not rhymed, but in this text, rhyme doesn't matter. The many scriptural images centering on light hold the text together.
 
The song is also a testimony to the importance of having a community of faith that both receives and encourages the gifts of song writing. One never knows how the Holy Spirit will prompt our heart with a scripture verse we have internalized or with a tune that will bring to mind just what we need to hear, if only we are alert to that prompting. New songs grow in the rich soil of scripture that is planted deep in our hearts; in poetic and musical skills that have been nurtured over time; and in communities of faith that welcome fresh expressions of worship in song. God not only loves to hear his people sing, but even leads and guides us though those very songs—both in communal worship as well as in personal meditation and prayer. 
— Emily Brink
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