God the Sculptor of the Mountains

God the sculptor of the mountains,
God the miller of the sand,
God the jeweler of the heavens,
God the potter of the land:
You are womb of all creation,
we are formless; shape us now.

God the nuisance to the Pharaoh,
God the cleaver of the sea,
God the pillar in the darkness,
God the beacon of the free:
You are fount of all deliv’rance,
we are sightless; lead us now.

God the dresser of the vineyard,
God the planter of the wheat,
God the reaper of the harvest,
God the source of all we eat:
You are host at every table,
we are hungry; feed us now.

God the unexpected infant,
God the calm, determined youth,
God the table-turning prophet,
God the resurrected truth;
You are present every moment,
we are searching; meet us now
John Thornburg, 1993

Stanza one of this hymn describes the creation process of God as sculptor, miller, jeweler, and potter. In stanza two God becomes a nuisance, cleaver, pillar, and beacon, while in stanza three God is the provider of food and host “at every table.” In the last stanza the incarnation is described. How do these images and metaphors help you understand God? What other metaphors might you use to describe God?

The last two lines of each stanza are affirmations and also petitions: God is the creator and we need to be shaped; God is the deliverer and we need to be led; God is the provider and we need to be fed; and God is present and meets each of us now. Rephrase these lines into your own prayer, making your petitions specific for what is happening in your life now.

John Thornburg lives in Dallas, Texas and is an ordained clergy in the United Methodist Church. He has been appointed to work in the areas of music and mission. He has written many hymns and is a long time member of The Hymn Society.

Joyce D. Sohl, Laywoman-in-Residence


Joyce D. Sohl has been Laywoman-in-Residence since 2009 as a full-time volunteer. She retired as CEO of United Methodist Women in 2004. She is the author of 4 books, a teacher, retreat leader, writer and non-professional musician. Here at the Center her work is in the area of Spirituality & the Arts with such programs as Tuesdays in the Chapel, Vespers & All That Jazz, Poet’s Corner, quarterly retreats, and art exhibits.