The Hound Of Heaven

The Hound of Heaven Sermon Illustration

The poem “The Hound of Heaven” by Francis Thompson brilliantly portrays God in relentless pursuit of a human soul:

I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways
I hid from Him, and under running laughter.

The imagery is said to have inspired G. K. Chesterton and J. R. R. Tolkien, and it turns up even now in popular culture, as in a recent episode of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, when Colbert recited from it at length during an interview with Phoebe Waller-Bridge (season 5, episode 115, “Phoebe Waller- Bridge/Christine and the Queens/Steve Martin,” aired April 16, 2020, on CBS). A significantly less highbrow depiction of love’s relentless pursuit can be found in the classic children’s book The Runaway Bunny, in which the mother bunny pursues the baby bunny until finally the baby bunny must admit the truth. “‘Shucks,’ said the bunny, ‘I might as well just stay where I am and be your little bunny’” (Margaret Wise Brown, The Runaway Bunny [New York: HarperCollins, 2017], 44). Any such examples of a relentless and ultimately fruitless flight from God or God’s love can illustrate omnipresence.