Samhain Song

A Merry and Mystical Message for Halloween

Samhain is the old Gaelic festival that lies behind many of our modern Halloween customs. In this video, I talk a little about Samhain, and I share a new song about it.

Here’s the text of that song. (It’s actually from the last chapter of the fantasy romance I’m working on, The Pastor and the Priestess.)

Samhain Song

The anxious fear, the fevered dream,
The ghostly moan, the primal scream,
The cold that grips us in the night --
The dance around the fire’s light,
To banish fear from hill and dale.
   For love can see beyond the veil,
   And glimpse, behind the graven gloom,
   A hidden heat, a hopeful beat,
   The fertile darkness of the womb.

The foolish, haunted, hating heart,
That tries to tear the world apart,
And plans and plots to bitter ends --
The circled power of our friends,
That over evil will prevail.
   For love can see beyond the veil,
   And glimpse, behind the graven gloom,
   A hidden heat, a hopeful beat,
   The fertile darkness of the womb.

The doubt that steals away the will,
The gloomy fears that self-fulfill,
The wariness to take a chance --
The spirit pleading, Come and dance,
And never be afraid to fail.
   For love can see beyond the veil,
   And glimpse, behind the graven gloom,
   A hidden heat, a hopeful beat,
   The fertile darkness of the womb.

The memory of days gone by,
The falling tear, the heavy sigh,
The burden of the loss we bear --
The new adventure waiting there,
Where love-light leads us down the trail.
   For love can see beyond the veil,
   And glimpse, behind the graven gloom,
   A hidden heat, a hopeful beat,
   The fertile darkness of the womb!

Longing for the Deep Peace

A Merry Mystical Re-Run

This past month, my spiritual practice has been shot to hell.  Oh, I’ve prayed frequently—but briefly and distractedly.  Have you ever just sat in the presence of God, or just taken a walk in God’s company, and wholly escaped the passage of time?  Have you ever surfaced from deep reverie to notice—how odd!—that the sun has set, or the sun has risen?  I have, but not this month!

In fact, I’m embarrassed to confess that my life right now is just totally berserk with work.  I’m helping put on a play this month, as performer, accompanist, lighting and sound designer, you name it.  And I’m preparing to start a new job, and to move my extended family next month.  It seems to be one of those seasons when there just aren’t enough hours in every day.

Anyway, there certainly weren’t enough hours to squeeze out any new work for The Merry Mystic this week! Instead, I took some comfort today in listening to this old song of mine. This was The Merry Mystic in May of 2016. I hope you’ll find this re-run as comforting as I did.

May you be blessed today with deep peace: the deep peace of the running wave, the deep peace of the flowing air, the deep peace of the quiet earth, the deep peace of the shining stars—the deep peace of the Prince of Peace.

Midwives of Hope

A Hymn Celebrating Those who Help Hope into the World

In the legend of Moses’ birth (Exodus 1:15-2:10), there are two official midwives: Shiphrah and Puah. Then there are three other women who, in their different ways, also help bring hope into the world: Moses’ birth mother, his sister, and his adoptive mother. Here’s a new hymn celebrating their work, and the work of all midwives everywhere.

Sheet music for “Midwives of Hope” is in our Free Stuff area.

Come To Me

The Merry Mystic Celebrates the Sexy Ebullience of Creation

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!

My Store page tells you how to buy that album, if you’d like to hear more.

Often, Often, Often

The Merry Mystic on Surprise and Hospitality

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.

One Great Hour

A Merry and Mystical Jingle for the One Great Hour of Sharing

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.


I Remember

A Song of Lenten Remembrance from The Merry Mystic

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.