Great Hymns of the Faith: I Want To Walk as a Child of the Light
By John Michael Luther, Christian and composer
“I Want To Walk as a Child of the Light” was written by Kathleen Thomerson.
Thomerson spent portions of her childhood in Mississippi, California and Texas.
She attended the University of Texas and received a bachelor’s degree in music in 1956 and a master’s degree in 1958.
She also studied at Syracuse University, with Flor Peeters at the Royal Conservatoire of Antwerp, and with Jean Langlais in Paris.
She worked as the music director of University United Methodist Church in St. Louis and taught organ at the Saint Louis Conservatory and at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.
She also worked as organist and music director at Mt. Olive Lutheran Church in Austin, Texas. She is a Fellow of the American Guild of Organists.
This precious hymn was written in the summer of 1966, when Thomerson was visiting the Church of the Redeemer in Houston, Texas.
The elegant folk song melody conveys a text based on numerous scriptures:
- Isaiah 42:6c: “I have given you as a covenant to the people, a light to the nations.”
- Malachi 4:2: “But for you who revere my name the sun of righteousness shall rise, with healing in its wings.”
- Revelation 21:25: “And there will be no night there.”
- Revelation 22:5: “The need no light of lamp or sun.”
The refrain seems to incapsulate the message of light completely.
It reminds us of the great truth of Psalm 136:12: “Even the darkness is not dark to You, And the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You.”
The hymn conveys the walk, the journey of faith, and the deep conviction of a Christian.
The words of each stanza reflect the heart of a believer: “I want to follow Jesus,” “I want to look at Jesus,” “I want to be with Jesus.”
This marvelous hymn is so dear to me, and I could not help but worship in it today.
I remember singing in the choir at Holy Faith Episcopal Church in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on a Sunday morning as we sang this hymn.
The young girl in front of me spontaneously began to weep as the music touched her. It simply electrified the entire choir.
I want to walk as a child of the light
I want to follow Jesus
God sent the stars to give light to the world
The star of my life is Jesus
In Him there is no darkness at all
The night and the day are both alike
The Lamb is the light of the city of God
Shine in my heart, Lord Jesus
I want to see the brightness of God
I want to look at Jesus
Clear Sun of Righteousness, shine on my path
And show me the way to the Father
I’m looking for the coming of Christ
I want to be with Jesus
When we have run with patience the race
We shall know the joy of Jesus