A Gift for Us

This is a Christmas communion hymn, titled “A Gift for Us.” I wrote the lyrics last year, and Cheryl Tarter has written some wonderful music for it. It debuts at tonight’s candlelight service at NorthHaven Church.

Into our darkness, there came a light,
As a babe was born on that holy night;
The angels sang and the shepherds prayed
When the Son of God in a manger lay.

As we eat this bread and drink this cup,
We remember that child, a gift for us.
As we eat this bread and drink this cup,
We remember that child, a gift for us.

The fullness of God in human form,
Was that night, in Bethlehem born;
Giving up his throne in heaven above,
To teach us to serve, to give, and to love.

As we eat this bread and drink this cup,
We remember Jesus, a gift for us.
As we eat this bread and drink this cup,
We remember Jesus, a gift for us.

He came to this world, in all its strife,
For our sins, to give his life;
Lifted up, with his arms held wide,
The Son of God was crucified.

As we eat this bread and drink this cup,
We remember our Lord, a gift for us.
As we eat this bread and drink this cup,
We remember our Lord, a gift for us.

Success

From a student essay this morning:

Somewhere in the semester I realized that everything we have gone over in class isn’t just bologna but is actually pretty applicable to life and how I can approach it.

That’s definitely a victory in freshman philosophy.

Finals Week

Time for the semi-annual benediction for finals week:

Dear students,

May God calm your anxieties,
refresh your minds,
and honor the faithfulness
you have shown this semester.

Remember that God has gifted you
more than you can imagine,
and you are capable of more
than you’ve ever dreamed.

May the great wisdom of the Father,
the incomparable love of the Son,
and the mighty power of the Spirit
be with you all this week.

Amen

Prayer for Pittsburgh

God of Grace, God of Mercy,

We pray today for the people
of the Tree of Life congregation
in Pittsburgh.

We pray for all those
who suffer from violence,
for those who grieve,
and for those who have died
because of a hatred that
has no point,
and makes no sense.

May they find comfort in
the knowledge of your love,
and healing in the support
of the community.

We ask forgiveness
for the ways in which
your word has been twisted
to support acts of evil.

Give us the courage
to challenge the evil rhetoric
that supports hatred and violence,
and to speak the truth boldly,
that your love, grace, and mercy
extend to all without limit.

May the love of your people do the same.

Amen

My Oklahoma Home

My latest song:

VERSE 1:

I-40 East, on a cloudy day,
Memphis up ahead, had to get away;
Had nothing in mind
Just looking for a place to roam.

Thought I could see, but I was dumb and blind;
Gave no thought to what I left behind,
The people that I love,
and my Oklahoma home.

CHORUS:

They say that heaven’s paved
With streets of gold,
There’s no more tears
Or so I’ve been told
No more pain,
And no one feels alone.

But by those streets
Where the children play,
I hope to find
just a little red clay
To remind me
Of my Oklahoma home.

Verse 2:

Mind starts to wander when you drive for miles,
You think about faces, remember the smiles,
And you realize you’re old,
But you’ve never ever really grown.

So you turn the car into the setting sun,
The journey goes on, but the running is done.
God help me back
To my Oklahoma home.

VERSE 3:

You can’t leave, even if you tried,
When you’ve got red dirt deep down inside,
No matter how much you wanted
To leave it alone.

When you’re running away to another town,
No road is straight, they all circle around,
Bringing you back
To your Oklahoma home.

BRIDGE:

Okemah up ahead, the tears are making me blind,
And I hear the voice of Woody deep inside my mind,

And It’s taken thirty years, but now I understand,
That these are my people, and this is my land,

And these Oklahoma hills will always be home.

Thurman on Christian Power

Too often the price exacted by society for security and respectability is that the Christian movement in its formal expression must be on the side of the strong against the weak. This is a matter of tremendous significance, for it reveals to what extent a religion that was born of a people acquainted with persecution and suffering has become the cornerstone of a civilization and of nations whose very position in modern life has too often been secured by a ruthless use of power applied to weak and defenseless peoples.

Howard Thurman, Jesus and the Disinherited, p.11.