Pilgrim Pathways: Notes for a Diaspora People

Incarnational Discipleship

Hymn for Pentecost #2 “Send Down the Fire.”

Words and tune by Marty Haugen. Copyright 1989 by GLA Publications, Inc.

The refrain is to be sung before each verse and then once more in conclusion after all verses are completed.

Send Down the Fire

 Refrain:

Send down the fire of Your justice,

Send down the rainse of Your love,

Come, send down the Spirit,

Breathe life in your people, and

We shall be people of God.

1. Call us to be Your compassion,

Teach us the song of Your love;

Give us hearts that sing,

Give us deeds that ring,

Make us ring with

the song of Your love.

2. Call us to learn of Your mercy,

Teach us the way of Yourpeace;

Give us hearts that feel,

Give us hands that heal,

Make us walk in

the way of Your peace.

3. Call us to answer oppression,

Teach us the fire of Your trugh;

Give us righteous souls,

‘Til Your justice rolls,

Make us burn with

the fire of Your love.

4. Call us to witness Your Kingdom,

Give us the presence of Christ;

May Your holy light

Keep us shining bright,

Ever shine with

the presence of Christ.

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May 27, 2012 Posted by | blog series, Holy Spirit, hymns, liturgy, Pentecost, theology, worship | Leave a comment

Hymns for Pentecost #1 “Spirit Blowing Through Creation.”

Words and tune from Marty Haugen. Copyright 1987 by GLA Publications, Inc.

Spirit Blowing Through Creation

1. Spirit blowing through creation,

Spirit burning in the skies,

Let the hope of your salvation

fill our eyes;

God of splendor, God of glory,

You who light the stars above,

All the heavens tell the story

of Your love. (To verse 2)

2. As  You moved upon the waters,

As You ride upon the wind,

Move us all Your sons and daughters,

deep within;

As You shaped the hills and mountains,

Formed the land and filled the deep,

Let your hand renew and waken

all who sleep. (To refrain).

3. Love that sends the rivers dancing,

Love that waters all that lives,

Love that heals and holds and rouses

and forgives;

You are food for all Your creatures,

You are hunger in the soul,

In Your hand the brokenhearted

are made whole. (To verse 4).

4. All the creatures You have fashioned,

All that live and breathe in You,

Find their hope in Your compassion,

strong and true;

You, O Spirit of salvation,

You alone, beneath, above,

Come, renew Your whole creation

in Your love. (To refrain).

Refrain:

Spirit renewing the earth,

renewing the hearts of all people;

Burn in the weary souls,

blow through the silent lips,

come now awake us,

Spirit of God.

May 27, 2012 Posted by | blog series, Holy Spirit, hymns, liturgy, Pentecost, theology, worship | Leave a comment

Hymn: Cuando El Pobre ( “When the Poor Ones”)

My congregation sings hymns from all over the world.  One of our favorite is a Latin American hymn from 1971 (early Liberation Theology era, when most of Latin America was under rightwing dictatorships, many of them actively supported by the U.S. guns and money) written by A. Oliver and Miguel Manzano.  The English translation is by George Lockwood.  They hymn is a meditation on Matt. 25: 31-46.  I haven’t figured out how to print music on this blog, but this is sung in unison in 6/8 time.  The tune is challenging but the powerful words make it worthwhile. I will give both the Spanish and English of all 4 verses.  Enjoy.

Spanish original:

  1. Cuando el pobre nada tiene y aun reparte, cuando el hombre pasa sed y aguano da, cuando el débil a su hermano fortalece,  [Estribillo] va Dios mismo en nuestro mismo caminar, va Dios mismo en nuestro mismo caminar.
  2. Cuando sufre un hombre y logra su consuelo, cuando espera y no se cansa de esperar, cuando amamos, aunque el odio nos rodee, [Estribillo] va Dios mismo en nuestro mismo caminar, va Dios mismo en nuestro mismo caminar.
  3. Cuando crece la alegria y nos inunda, cuando dicen nuestros labios la verdad, cuando amamos el sentir de los sencillos, [Estribillo] va Dios mismo en nuestro mismo caminar, va Dios mismo en nuestro mismo caminar.
  4. Cuando abunda el bien y llena los hogares, cuando un hombre donde hay guerra pone paz, cuando “hermano” le llamamos al extraño, [Estribillo] va Dios mismo en nuestro mismo caminar, va Dios mismo en nuestro mismo caminar.

English translation:

  1. When the poor ones who have nothing share with strangers, when the thirsty water give unto us all, when the crippled in their weakness strengthen others, [Refrain] then we know that God still goes that road with us, then we know that God still goes that road with us.
  2. When at last all those who suffer find their comfort, when they hope though even hope seems hopelessness, when we love though hate at times seems all around us, [Refrain] then we know that God still goes that road with us, then we know that God still goes that road with us.
  3. When our joy fills up our cup to overflowing, when our lips can speak no words other than true, when we know that love for simple things is better, [Refrain] then we know that God still goes that road with us, then we know that God still goes that road with us.
  4. When our homes are filled with goodness in abundance, when we learn how to peace instead of war, when each stranger that we meet is called a neighbor, [Refrain] then we know that God still goes that road with us, then we know that God still goes that road with us.

August 14, 2011 Posted by | hymns, liturgy, worship | 4 Comments

Peace Sunday: 1,000 Candles, 1,000 Cranes

The following song by the folk group, Small Potatoes, was sung by my friends Donna and Dan Trabue at church today.  It says more than I can and it always makes me–the grandchild of a World War II veteran who fought in the Pacific and the friend of several Japanese Americans and Japanese nationals–cry my eyes out.

Rich Prezioso, ©1999 Tatertunes Music, BMI

My grandmother had three sons
She dreamed about her children’s children
Then came 1941
Only one son would see the war end

Joseph died marching in Bataan
Frank on the sands of Iwo Jima
The day the bomb destroyed Japan
She thanked God and Harry Truman

She blamed the “godless Japanese”
For having crushed her sweetest dreams
One thousand candles for my sons
Every day I will remember

In Illinois, far from her past
Miss Nakamura still remembers
She was six when she saw the flash
That turned the world to smoke and ashes

Mother taught her daughter well
Run from the fire to the river
There she found a living hell
But not a mother or a father

Though she survived with just a scrape
Her family vanished into space
One thousand suns, a thousand cranes
Everyday I will remember

My grandmother had three sons
She never dreamed she’d have a daughter
But at the age of eighty-one
She met a nurse named Nakamura

It was a question only meant
To make some talk and pass the hours
About a picture by the bed
A photograph of two young soldiers

Hatred and anger stored for years
Slowly melted into tears
One thousand candles, a thousand cranes
Everyday I will remember

I’ve a picture in my mind
Of two women slowly walking
August 6th, 1985
Walking to church to light a candle

And they once asked me to explain
Why grown men play such foolish games
One thousand candles, a thousand cranes
Everyday I will remember

August 7, 2011 Posted by | History, hymns, Just Peacemaking, liturgy, peace, worship | Leave a comment

O God of ALL the Nations

This is My Song— A hymn by Lloyd Stone

This is my song, O God of ALL the nations,

A song of peace for lands afar–and mine.

This is my home, the country where my heart is;

Here are my hopes, my dreams, my sacred shrine.

But other hearts in other lands are beating,

With hopes and dreams as true and high as mine.

 My country’s skies are bluer than the ocean,

And sunlight beams on cloverleaf and pine.

But other lands have sunlight too and clover,

And skies are everywhere as blue as mine.

O hear my song, O God of all the nations,

A song of peace for their land–and mine.

May truth and freedom come to every nation

May peace aboundwhere strife has raged so long;

That each may seek to love and build together,

A world united, righting every wrong.

A world united in its love for freedom,

Proclaiming peace together in one song.

July 3, 2011 Posted by | composers, hymns, justice, liturgy, worship | Leave a comment

Better Christmas Carols #2 “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” by Ken Sehested

As readers of this blog know, I already think that this traditional carol is one of the best Advent/Christmas carols around. The lyrics are already subversive of our rich, complacent, self-satisfied status quo. But when we sing the same lyrics year after year, we can cease to notice their power.  Rev. Ken Sehested, radical Baptist preacher, formerly the founding Executive Director of the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America, currently co-pastor of Circle of Mercy congregation in Asheville, NC has done us a great favor by writing new lyrics for this hymn that bring out anew its utter radicality.

O come, thou fount of Mercy, come

And light the path of journey home

From Pharaoh’s chains grant liberty

From Herod’s rage, confirm thy guarantee

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel

Shall come to thee, O Israel!

O come, thou Watchful Keeper, bestow

Glad heart, warm home to creatures below

Give cloud by day and fire by night

Guide feet in peace with heaven’s delight

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel

Shall come to thee, O Israel!

Secure the lamb, the wolf no longer preys

Secure the child, no fear displays

The vow of vengeance bound evermore

God’s holy mountain safe and adored

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel

Shall come to thee, O Israel!

Arise, you fear-confounded, attest

With Insurrection’s voice confess

Though death’s confine and terror’s darkest threat

Now govern earth’s refrain…and yet

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel

Shall come to thee, O Israel!

O spring, from Jesse’s root, the ransom flower

From Mary’s womb, annunciating power

Bend low you hills, arise you prostrate plain

All flesh shall see, all lips join in refrain:

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel

Shall come to thee, O Israel!

O come, announce the Blessed Manger’s reach

All Herod-hearted, murd’rous plans impeach

Abolish every proud and cruel throne

Fill hungry hearts, guide every exile home.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel

Shall come to thee, O Israel!

December 20, 2010 Posted by | Advent, composers, hymns, liturgy, worship | Leave a comment

Raise High the Cross of Jesus (based on Eph. 6:11-17).

Raise High the Cross of Jesus

Raise high the cross of Jesus for pow’rs and all to see.
The forces of grim darkness before its flashing flee.
Let presidents and princes attend his just decree
“Whatever you have done to these you’ve truly done to me.”

Put on the mighty armor of God whose cause is first
His justice and compassion for those who hunger, thirst,
And cry against oppression, “How long, O Lord, how long?”
Enlisted in his services, we are his army strong.

Put on the belt of truth now — its power will not cease —
The breastplate of his justice, the marching boots of peace,
The helmet of salvation, and “keep the faith” your shield,
And blazing sword of God’s own word, then none shall make us yield.

Christ leads us in the battle ‘gainst principalities
And pow’rs who care for nothing but profits, wealth and ease,
Who let his children languish in poverty and pain,
And ravish his creation for their monetary gain.

We march in Christ’s own army whose enemy is war.
No swords or guns or bombers are wielded by this corps.
Our arms are light. Our orders are “speak the truth to pow’r.”
We’ll see his peace and justice in his final vict’ry hour.

Raise high the cross of Jesus for pow’rs and all to see.
The forces of grim darkness before its flashing flee.
Let presidents and princes attend his just decree
“Whatever you have done for these you’ve truly done for me.”

All Rights Reserved 2005 John Schimminger
johnwschimminger@yahoo.com

July 4, 2010 Posted by | hymns, pacifism, peace, worship | Leave a comment

God of Grace & God of Glory

God of grace and God of glory
On Thy people pour Thy power
Crown Thine ancient church’s story
Bring her bud to glorious flower
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage
For the facing of this hour
For the facing of this hour

Lo! The hosts of evil ’round us
Scorn Thy Christ, assail His ways
From the fears that long have bound us
Free our hearts to faith and praise
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage
For the living of these days
For the living of these days

Cure Thy children’s warring madness
Bend our pride to Thy control
Shame our wanton selfish gladness
Rich in things and poor in soul
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage
Lest we miss Thy kingdom’s goal
Lest we miss Thy kingdom’s goal

Save us from weak resignation
To the evils we deplore
Let the gift of Thy salvation
Be our glory evermore
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage
Serving Thee Whom we adore
Serving Thee Whom we adore

Grant us wisdom, grant us courage
For the living of these days
For the living of these days

Words by Harry Emerson Fosdick
Music by John Hughes

July 4, 2010 Posted by | hymns, worship | 1 Comment

O God of All the Nations

In response to my last post, Paul F. rightly notes that few U.S.  Christians today have the virtues to display the kind of humble, critical patriotism that I believe is compatible with faithful Christian discipleship. Lacking such virtues, they all too easily fall into the jingoistic, militaristic nationalism, hubris, national chauvenism, and triumphalism that most U. S. Christians mean by “patriotism.” (It’s a warped form of patriotism, just as co-dependency is a warped form of romantic or familial love.) So, how do churches form members in the kind of virtues that can display humble, critical patriotism and resist jingoistic nationalist distortions?  It takes more than good sermons. I would suggest that one resource is good hymns.  That which we sing regularly is what we truly believe (which is why Charles Wesley, Fannie Crosby, and Isaac Watts may be the most influential theologians in the Anglo-American world–and why parents who worry about what music their children listen to and sing are not just old curmudgeons).  Today, tomorrow, and Monday, I shall print some hymns that I think are helpful in forming the kind of virtues that display the international concern and humble patriotism appropriate for citizens of the Rule of God.

Today’s is listed in different hymnals variously as “This is My Song, ” “O God of All the Nations, ” and “A Song of Peace,” all of which are appropriate titles.  The tune is the Finlandia hymn melody composed by Jean Sebelius.  The words of the first two verses were composed in 1934 by Lloyd Stone (1912-1993) and the 3rd verse was added by the great U.S. Methodist theologian Georgia Harkness (1891-1974).

This is my song, Oh God of all the nations,

A song of peace for lands afar and mine.

This is my home, the country where my heart is;

Here are my hopes, my dreams, my sacred shrine.

But other hearts in other lands are beating,

With hopes and dreams as true and high as mine.
My country’s skies are bluer than the ocean,

And sunlight beams on cloverleaf and pine.

But other lands have sunlight too and clover,

And skies are everywhere as blue as mine.

Oh hear my song, oh God of all the nations,

A song of peace for their land and for mine.
May truth and freedom come to every nation;

may peace abound where strife has raged so long;

that each may seek to love and build together,

a world united, righting every wrong;

a world united in its love for freedom,

proclaiming peace together in one song.

People who gather to sing like that on national holidays such as Independence Day will have a far different outlook from those who are moved by Lee Greenwood’s military recruiting tool, “God Bless the U.S.A.” or Toby Keith’s poisonously oblivious “American Soldier.”

July 3, 2010 Posted by | hymns, nationalism, peace, theology, worship | 2 Comments