Have you ever wondered why people go into ministry? I have a theory about that … and I’ve set it to music, of course.
Spring is on my mind and in my heart this week. Trees are leafing out overnight, and foals and fawns are frolicking in the meadows. The sexy ebullience of creation is made manifest. It’s like a recapitulation of the seven-day creation story from Genesis. I picture God as calling all living things, both into existence and toward God’s self simultaneously. This call is a deep enchantment, a longing that is part of our incarnational being, a magnetism that draws us Godward.
That’s the idea of “Come To Me,” a song from my 2012 album As a Deer Longs. Without a band and a DJ, I can’t do this one live, so here it is as an MP3.
In case the lyric went by too fast, here it is in full:
Come To Me I am ready now. I have trained myself for this. I summon you: Come to me! Bird of the air, I summon thee: Flap your wings and come to me! Beast of the earth, I summon thee: Stomp your feet and come to me! Fish of the sea, I summon thee: Shake your fins and come to me! I shine my light and draw you like a moth to a flame, I sing the song and send the sound of saying your name. I pull you to the edge and then I pull a little more, I light the fuse and spread the news and open up your hidden door. Now come to me! I open up a path that you won’t find on the map, I light the dark and make a spark that bridges your gap. I dance before the altar and you feel the earth shake, I touch you and your sun comes up and tells you that you’re wide awake. Now come to me! Fly me, whale me, stork me, quail me, hare me, snail me, come to me! Bear me, bee me, mare me, flea me, manatee me, come to me! Louse me, mouse me, goat me, stoat me, tick me, chick me, come to me! Bat me, gnat me, frog me, rat me, dog me, cat me, come to me! Come to me! Come!
My Store page tells you how to buy that album, if you’d like to hear more.
The Gospel of John is the gospel of mixed metaphors. Here’s a little song to help you enjoy them…
I wrote a prayer for the healing of a sick girl. It goes to a well-known Welsh folk melody: Ar Hyd y Nos (All Through the Night). With a little adjustment, it can also be a prayer for a sick world.
You can find the words for both versions in our Free Stuff area.
In this edition of The Merry Mystic, I sing a song about two things God really seems to love: surprise and hospitality. And, hey, it turns out that they’re not unrelated. You can’t really welcome strangers without being open to learning something surprising from them.
Next Sunday, my church will receive a special offering we call the One Great Hour of Sharing. My denomination, the United Church of Christ, participates with seven other denominations in this ecumenical relief effort that helps with water projects, food, disaster relief, and building healthy communities in a hundred different countries around the world. It’s a nice way for a little church like mine to do some good in a bigger way. We get to feel like we’re part of a worldwide movement, coming together to work together to heal the world in the name of Jesus.
Last week I wrote this little song, to help teach my congregation about the One Great Hour of Sharing.
You can find sheet music for “One Great Hour” in our Free Stuff area.
This week, I’m sharing a new song for Lent. It’s a remembrance of Jesus.
You can find sheet music for “I Remember” in our Free Stuff area.
I hope you enjoyed the song. Now, read on if you’re interested in why I wrote it.
I wrote this song to use in church last week, because I just couldn’t find a Lenten hymn that spoke to me. And the reason I couldn’t find one is because so many of the Lenten hymns in my hymnal include little bits of atonement theory that I’m just not in the mood for.
There’s “Down at the Cross” —
Down at the cross where my Savior died Down where for cleansing from sin I cried There to my heart was the blood applied...
And there’s “Beneath the Cross of Jesus” —
Content to let the world go by, to know no gain or loss My sinful self my only shame, my glory all the cross.
And there’s “The Old Rugged Cross” —
For upon that old cross Jesus suffered and died To pardon and sanctify me.
And there’s “Lift High the Cross” —
O Christ, once lifted on the glorious tree Your death has brought us life eternally.
And there’s “Alas! and Did My Savior Bleed” —
Was it for crimes that I have done, Christ groaned upon the tree? Amazing pity! Grace unknown! and love beyond degree!
And there’s “God Loved the World” —
And justified by Jesus' blood Your baptism grants the highest good.
And there’s “O Love, How Vast, How Flowing Free” —
For us was beaten, whipped, and tried, And taken to be crucified, So Love all this for us endured, And dying, life for us procured.
Anybody sensing a pattern here?
Deep in our Christian heritage, going back at least to the Apostle Paul and to the author of the letter to the Hebrews, is this understanding of how Jesus made a difference: that his death accomplished our atonement, somehow paying the price for our sins. I’ve never been a fan of that theory, and last week, I was in no mood to give it yet another airing in church.
Jesus makes a difference for me by his life, by his teaching, by his example, by his continuing presence, and, yes, by his death — by the example of his non-violent acceptance of an unjust and painful death.
And that’s what I tried to put into my song.
I wrote a song this week, a song inspired by a passage from the first chapter of the Gospel of John. Can anything good come out of Nazareth? Come and see …
Happy New Year, Merry Mystics!
Here’s a little Christmas card from me and my wife and daughter to you.
Don’t worry. I’m sure I’ll be back to my usual cynical self next week!
This is a not-quite-secular carol for Advent—a song about the fun of getting ready for Christmas. It’s meant to be sung with plenty of frosting on top.
The sheet music for “We Prepare” is available in our Free Stuff area, in three different forms: one with full piano accompaniment, one with the vocal part only, and one with the vocal refrain only. (That last is how I used it in my church: with me singing the verses and the congregation singing the refrain.)