‘Late, but not too late’ – Part three in Embodied Worship Project


Another day off and another new chapter in the Embodied Worship Project. You can read other posts about it here and here. It is my way of using music in worship to explore how we can enact the story of God in our world – rather than just talk about it, or even worse, just listen to someone else talk about it. In the posts linked about I have worked through the movements of ‘Call to worship’ and ‘Adoration’ – God’s invitation to us and our joy at having been found. Next comes ‘Confession’ and ‘Assurance of forgiveness’; when we realise everything is not right in our lives, and hold that before God, while he responds with forgiveness and transforming grace.
I recently read Augustine’s prayer,

Late have I loved you,
O Beauty ever ancient, ever new,
Too late have I come to love you!

I was struck by its simplicity and power. I was sure these were the words to build my next piece in this series around, the movement of Confession and Pardon. I took the words, and reshaped them to fit the context of our ‘homecoming’ theme:

Late have I loved youLong have I strayed from you
From wisdom and beauty
Too late have I come to you

That’s a pretty powerful confession. It’s also a good confession. Its not limited in scope to listing ‘the bad things I’ve done this week’ – but places our brokenness in our disconnection from God. Its a confession we could make even if we faithfully attended worship every week, and were obedient to God’s ways – but only because we were scared of making God angry. This confession places loving God as true faithfulness and obedience. It is not about tasks performed or failed, its about love received and given.

Of course, left on its own, this would leave us in hopelessness. So God’s answer comes in the second movement of the song:

Late, but not too late my child.

As you listen, imagine starting this song kneeling, perhaps even curled up, maybe with your head in your hands; woeful, repentant. Then as the music changes, you are lifted out of sorrow and into embrace. The God who calls us into the painful truth telling of confession will not leave us there, but overlays his truth on ours; yes, you are late, but not too late, my beloved.

Listen and enjoy. I’d love to know what you think of it.

Late, but not too late

  • Mary-Jane Konings

    Hauntingly beautiful. Thank you.

    May 3, 2013
    • Thanks MJ. It caught me by surprise, this one did. Felt like more of a delivery guy than a songwriter, which means I get to be arrested by it with everyone else!

      May 4, 2013
  • Bruce Hamill

    Very nice Malcolm! Just thinking… You now how popular Lazarus and Scars are. I think it has something to do with your gorgeous falsetto. Could you use it on this?

    May 9, 2013
    • I kinda do the falcetto thing in the outro, ‘Late but not too late my child’. but I take your point!

      May 9, 2013

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