How precious is God's gift of speech,
enriched by time and place;
a thousand tongues that we may each
rehearse and share what life will teach
in syllables of grace,
in syllables of grace.
So infants lisp and poets mold
their ancient mother tongue.
In it a people's dreams are clothed,
the exploits of their past retold,
their joys and sorrows sung,
their joys and sorrows sung.
Yet all these bridges to your grace
are barriers, Lord, to me.
If unknown words allow no space
to look beyond my neighbor's face,
a stranger's all I see,
a stranger's all I see.
Estranged, our world with fear is rife;
its wars will never cease
until we learn the words of life,
with all our dialects of strife
translated into peace,
translated into peace.
Earth's thousand tongues, Lord, are your gift
to bind, not keep apart,
and so you came to heal the rift
and taught us all, a world adrift,
one language of the heart,
one language of the heart.
Help us to practice daily, Lord,
till, fluent in love's ways,
our hearts interpret every word,
and all our thousand tongues accord
in grateful hymns of praise,
in grateful hymns of praise.