A beautiful poem about the meaningfulness of work undertaken for God: Eventide by John McCrae

This beautiful poem will well repay the moments you spend meditating on it. It shows how as Christians we can “see through” our work to the horizon of God’s rest to which it points, and how this, in Geroge Herbert’s words, makes drudgery divine.
Eventide
The day is past and the toilers cease;
The land grows dim ‘mid the shadows grey,
And hearts are glad, for the dark brings peace
At the close of day.

Each weary toiler, with lingering pace,
As he homeward turns, with the long day done,
Looks out to the west, with the light on his face
Of the setting sun.

Yet some see not (with their sin-dimmed eyes)
The promise of rest in the fading light;
But the clouds loom dark in the angry skies
At the fall of night.

And some see only a golden sky
Where the elms their welcoming arms stretch wide
To the calling rooks, as they homeward fly
At the eventide.

It speaks of peace that comes after strife,
Of the rest He sends to the hearts He tried,
Of the calm that follows the stormiest life —
God’s eventide.

John McCrae
sunset
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3 thoughts on “A beautiful poem about the meaningfulness of work undertaken for God: Eventide by John McCrae

  1. I agree, it’s a beautiful piece. I’d love to be able to write like that.
    One of my favorite lines: “Of the rest He sends to the hearts He tried”.

    Coincidentally, I’m reading this at eventide. 😉 Shalom! Beth

    Like

    • Thanks for the comment Beth. You’re right: the symmetry in that line lends it a lilting restfulness: the crown after the cross. I’m reading through Pascal at the moment and it strikes me that he uses rhythm similarly. Take the pensée “The eternal silence of the infinite spaces frightens me”. “The eternal silence of the infinite spaces” skips along rythmically, but “frightens me” sits awkwardly on the end, almost tottering on the brink of the abyss!

      Like

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