1. Peace, peace, the morning dew;
Ev’ry day it falls anew:
Bending low the knee-high grass.
Soaking all who wander past.
Peace perfumes the earth with spring.
Oh, what simple joy it brings!
2. Peace, peace, the call we heed
Shared abundance over greed.
Peace the plenty ‘mid the dearth.
Peace the heav’n upon the earth.
Peace that’s shining like the sun.
Would that all could live as one.
3. Peace, peace, the fearful prayer.
Peace that throngs the public square.
Peace that dares to face the power.
Peace the wail when bullets show’r.
Peace the pain we all must bear.
Peace the load we all must share.
4. Peace, peace, the careful plan,
On that firm foundation, stands.
Peace the awkward compromise.
Peace with those whom we despise.
Peace beyond our pure intent.
Peace the goal to which we bend.
5. Peace, peace, the hand of Christ
Healing what the sword has sliced
Peace the hand upending greed
Peace the hand to all in need
Peace the hand with skills to mend.
Peace the hand that we extend.
6. Peace, peace, the trail that winds;
Each new age must seek and find.
Born upon a movement’s thrill:
Peace the arc still unfulfilled.
Peace unmet our legacy.
Peace reborn our journey be.
7. Peace, peace, the gard’ner’s toil.
Peace the building of the soil.
Peace the placing of each seed.
Peace the eye that knows the weed.
Peace the neighbors sharing tools.
Peace the greens we gather new.
8. Peace, peace the vigil song
By the fact’ries making bombs.
Peace the guts to vote “no more”
When the flags are fanning war.
Peace the arc from age to age,
Born on risks we take each day.
9. Peace, peace, the quiet gaze.
Peace the lazy summer days.
Peace the resting damselfly.
Peace the swift who owns the sky.
Peace the song the willow played.
Peace to watch the moment fade.
Words and music by Bret Hesla. Written on commission for Faith Mennonite Church on their 50th Anniversary. © 2011 Bret Hesla. All rights reserved. Use with permission, please. Licensed via OneLicense.net. Contact: Bret.email@example.com.
This 2011 hymn was part of a cycle I wrote on commission for Faith Mennonite Church of Minneapolis, titled River of Gladness. As a historic peace church, the congregation was wanting at least one song that could serve as both a Sunday hymn and also be sung out in the wider community. The song captures the many faces of peace, from nonviolence to courage to protest to justice to gentleness.
Don’t sing all nine verses; choose three or four that lift up themes that fit the moment. If you sing it several weeks in a row, you could swap in some new verses each time. The repetition will give folks a good chance to learn the song.
I’ve included a simple SATB, roughly attempted on the above demo, so you can hear that. Works well with a small choir, or a singing congregation of course.
There is also a really nice piano score with a vibrant hymn-like feel to it, by Tom Witt (Thanks Tom!).