Longing for relationship – a hymn for the pandemic period

I have led music at Mass for more than five decades. One favourite is “Come Back to Me” (also called “Hosea”), written in the early 1970s by Gregory Norbet OSM.* The prophetic book of Hosea is about God’s yearning for his wayward people Israel to become faithful to him once again. Norbet’s lyrics spiritually explore human longing. 

I  find the imagery of the hymn inspiring and consoling for the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, and for the return afterwards to relationship—and maybe a newer, better relationship—for which we should strive. Here are some thoughts keyed to the three verses and then the refrain (“Long have I waited..”).

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