For the Time Being

For several years now, I have had the following as the signature of my personal email:

“To do what is difficult all one’s days as if it were easy, that is faith.”

It is a line from W.H. Auden’s long form poem “For the Time Being: A Christmas Oratorio,” specifically from the monologue of the character of Joseph. It has become something of a personal motto, for it reminds a person like me that my natural tendency to turn and run for comfort is not usually what God intendeds.

From what I understand (and the subtitle supports this), Auden intended for this work to be read aloud sometime after Christmas. For a few years, I read a portion as the sermon on the Sunday after Christmas. It was a favorite worship idea of mine.

The video linked below is 87 minutes long, but I can guarantee you they will be some of the best 87 minutes you’ll spend today.


W.H. Auden’s “For the Time Being” – A concernt performance from A New Theatre of Sound