Category Archives: Poetry

Zacchaeus Was a Tax Man | Hymn by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette | Twenty-fourth Sunday after Pentecost (Year C)

I found this great new text by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette at her website here.  It is sung to the tune of AURELIA (to which “The Church’s One Foundation” is often sung).  It is based off the gospel lectionary passage for this upcoming Sunday, November 3rd (24th Sunday after Pentecost – Year C).  Enjoy!

Zacchaeus was a tax man who one day climbed a tree,
For he was short in stature and said he could not see.
And yet he had a problem that mattered even more:
He didn’t see the suffering his greed had caused the poor.

O Lord, you saw Zacchaeus — so wealthy, yet alone.
You said, “Come down — and hurry! I’m coming to your home.”
For you broke bread with sinners and saw within each one
A person loved and treasured — God’s daughter or God’s son.

It wasn’t just the treetop that helped Zacchaeus see;
Your love and welcome showed him how different life could be.
He said that he’d start over and work to make things fair;
He’d speak the truth, bring justice, and find new ways to share.

O Christ, you bid us welcome and help us all to see!
May we respond by building a just society.
Then children won’t be hungry and all will share your bread.
Then those who now must struggle will live in joy instead.

For more great hymns by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette, check out her website here.

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Filed under Lectionary Texts, Liturgy, Music, Poetry, Scripture Reflections

“When Worry Breaks Our Troubled Hearts”

“When Worry Breaks Our Troubled Hearts”
by Stephen Fearing

1. When worry breaks our troubled hearts
and hands that tremble fill with fear,
Creator, come and fix in us
the faith that knows your grace is near.

2. When gone seem days that once were fair
and eyes that cry seek peace above,
Redeemer, come and free in us
the fullness of your steadfast love.

3. When dread, despair, and death oppress
and feet but stumble, trip, and fall,
Sustainer, come and seal our hearts
with courage, peace, and love for all.

4. “I will be who I’ll be,” says God
to us who serve the Three in One.
We strive together ’til the day
when God, at last, sees all things done.

LM (8.8.8.8.)
Suggested tunes: Prospect, Bourbon, Duke’s Street, Erhalt Uns Herr, and Hamburg.

With many thanks to Michael Morgan at Columbia Theological Seminary for his editorial and theological support!

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Filed under Music, Poetry

“Death Has Died, No Longer Holds Us”

Well, here it is: my first ever attempt at hymnody. The following text that I have composed is structured as 8.7.8.7. D. Suggested tunes are ABBOT’S LEIGH, BEECHER, HOLY MANNA, HYFRYDOL, HYMN TO JOY, and NETTLETON.

Death has died, no longer holds us;
God’s embrace and love endure.
Never ceasing, always blessing,
grace has found us, made us sure.
God the Alpha and Omega
gives us life anew each day.
Christ has died and Christ is Risen;
all our fears have passed away.

Text by Stephen Fearing.

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Filed under Easter, Liturgical Art, Liturgical Practices, Liturgy, Music, Poetry

Doubting Thomas | Nickel Creek | Second Sunday in Easter (Year C)

One of my favorite Nickel Creek Songs, “Doubting Thomas” is a great way to get the gears going for preparation for the Second Sunday in Lent (Year C). You can listen to the beautiful song here.

Doubting Thomas by Nickel Creek

What will be left when I’ve drawn my last breath
Besides the folks I’ve met and the folks who’ve known me
Will I discover a soul-saving love
Or just the dirt above and below me

I’m a doubting Thomas
I took a promise
But I do not feel safe
Oh me of little faith

Sometimes I pray for a slap in the face
Then I beg to be spared cause I’m a coward
If there’s a master of death
I bet he’s holding his breath
As I show the blind and tell the deaf about his power

I’m a doubting Thomas
I can’t keep my promises
Cause I don’t know what’s safe
Oh me of little faith

Can I be used to help others find truth
When I’m scared I’ll find proof that it’s a lie
Can I be led down a trail dropping bread crumbs
That prove I’m not ready to die

Please give me time to decipher the signs
Please forgive me for time that I’ve wasted

I’m a doubting Thomas
I’ll take your promise
Though I know nothin’s safe
Oh me of little faith

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Filed under Easter, Liturgical Practices, Music, Poetry

A Sabbath I’ve Never Known (and Always Missed)

A poetic reflection on short sabbath I took last week at a dear friend’s cabin in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Northwest, Georgia.

stubborn hill, spinning tires,
back it up, try it again.
Focus, Feel…forward!
Up it goes and forward I look…
and there it passes
by my right, unnoticed.

It will not scream out to me;
it will simply
wait
to be found

for waiting is its only
purpose,
its only calling.

At the top I weave and wind, whither and wane
as I shift and rev to return
to a lane that I once wandered far
and traveled upon alone
and with courage.

I celebrate my victory for the briefest of moments
and then remember
that I have yet to find that which begs to be found.

Rain gently drums on my windshield
and the wipers wake me from my thoughts.
I could call, I could ask, but, no,
this is the point, isn’t it?

I return and slowly slide down
that same stubborn hill.
the first time, I had no choice but to speed
for only momentum would do.
But this time
I creep, I crawl, my neck is free to turn
my wandering head back and forth.
My eyes squint and

there it is!

My heart leaps and I delicately turn into
a sanctuary that I have never known
and I have always
missed.

I welcome the rain for it reminds me that I am alone.
While others see it as dismal, distant, and dark,
I feel it, in this moment at least, as soothing,
as something that reminds me that things
are in need of being washed away.

I am
alone.
I am
welcome.
I am
known.

Here I was….here I am….here I will be.

I adjust to the quiet; it is, after all, alarmingly present.
It isn’t a simple thing
going from an everything that is nothing
to a nothing that is everything.

I walk around, it take it all it,
or perhaps it takes me all in…I’ll never quite understand.

The mist rolls over the mountains
and the chimes,
ever so gently,
respond to the wind’s subtle push.

You’re here, it’s time, let go, and listen
their song so simply suggests.
And I relent, and reluctantly retreat into nothingness
and there abide
for a while.

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Filed under Liturgical Practices, Poetry

At Golgotha | A Prayer for Good Friday

I found the following poem at http://www.bruceprewer.com/DocB/BGOODFRIDAY.htm.

AT GOLGOTHA

Today
I dared to step much closer
to the man on Skull Hill
than ever before.

I elbowed
past the curious crowd,
beyond the high priest’s mob,
and stood near Mary and John.

The soldiers
leered at me and one said:
“Take a good look mate,
it may be you tomorrow.”

Determined
I went and stood about five
paces from that central cross
and looked up.

Hideous scene;
smell of blood, sweat and urine.
I wanted to throw up;
the soldiers chuckled.

Then I braced myself
and took a long searching look
at the crucified son of Mary
in his agony.

O his eyes!
They turned this way and that
wildly searching for something
that never came.

An undertaker
once told me that employees
who take too much notice
don’t last long at the job.

Here things are different;
today I took a lot of notice
and saw the eyes of God
searching for God.

I’ll love him forever;
by the sheer grace of this Lord
who was forsaken that we
might never be so.
A Poem by B D Prewer 2002

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Filed under Good Friday, Holy Week, Lent, Liturgy, Poetry

The Gift | A Poem by John Stuart

John Stuart, who blogs here, shared this poem he wrote inspired by the gospel text for this week. Enjoy!

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Filed under Lent, Liturgy, Poetry