Lyrics

The poetry on this page actually is designed to be sung. These are lyrics for modern, 21st-century church anthems. If you are a musician/composer and feel inspired to set these lyrics to music, please contact me at davebaldwin37@gmail.com, and we will talk about a collaboration.

Copyright © 2021 David D. Baldwin.

Isaiah’s Vision

Isaiah 6:1-13

Holy, holy, holy! The Lord of hosts
was seated high on a throne above the smoke.
My eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.
He set his eyes on me. And then he spoke:

Who shall I send? Who will go for me?
Here I am. Here I am, send me.

The Lord declared: The nation fell away.
The evil, godless people did not obey the Lord.
The people laden with sin had their day.
But now the nation is humbled by the sword.

Who shall I send? Who will go for me?
Here I am. Here I am, send me.

The Lord declared: This nation can’t be saved.
Because they stop their ears and shut their eyes,
the people are doomed to lose the life they craved.
From the smoking ruin, a nation of faith shall rise.

Who shall I send? Who will go for me?
Here I am. Here I am, send me.

Grace for All

Romans 10:8-13

The prophets Isaiah and Joel assure us
that the matter of Law and achievement is flawed.
Zeal for the Law of Moses won’t save us:
the word of faith is the way to God.
This is echoed by the Apostle Paul.
The end of the Law is grace for all.

Legalism is with us still. It is sad
to see justification as a joyless chore
for someone measuring good vs. bad,
wishing and hoping for a plus score.
Listen and learn from the Apostle Paul—
the end of the Law is grace for all.

Unrequited Love

Luke 13:31-35

I admired a worldly woman
with children in her loving care.
I made my plea for love;
rejection was swift and sure.

I wanted to gather her children
as a hen protects the brood,
desiring to set their path
for destiny great and good.

Her friends and close advisors
convinced her I was a fraud
because, they said, I flouted
the Law and disrespected God.

I offered a transformation,
but now it is time to leave.
Her house is left to her.
With a heavy heart I grieve.

However, I shall return
when people with one accord
declare, “Blessed is the one
who comes in the name of the Lord.”

The Voice of the Lord

Psalm 29

The voice of the Lord is upon the waters
and the waters tremble before the Lord.
The voice of the Lord shakes the cedars.
The Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon.

The Lord thunders and the wilderness quakes.
He lashes the harsh wilderness of Kadesh.
The mountains leap like wild oxen!
Lebanon skips like a youthful calf!

The Lord loosens fire and flood.
He sits enthroned as king for ever.
The voice of the Lord is a powerful voice
and we ascribe to Him the glory.

He is the Lord of earth and sky.
He gives his people the blessing of peace.
Glory be to God on high!
Glory be to the king of kings!

Rescue Me

Psalm 31:9-16

My times are in your hand, O Lord.
Whenever my actions come to naught
and I feel as useless as a broken pot,
you rescue me.

My times are in your hand, O Lord.
Whenever I sigh and waste in grief
and flutter to earth like a falling leaf,
you rescue me.

My times are in your hand, O Lord.
Make your face to shine upon me;
let your loving kindness flow free
to rescue me.

The Ballad of the Sheaf of Corn

1 Corinthians 15:19-26

Bombs were falling all around
in the darkest hour of the war.
Bombs were falling in London town;
death was in the air.

Within the city, there was a parish
where the people soldiered on.
The harvest festival was a time to cherish;
the work of the church goes on.

The church was decked with local fare
on a fateful Saturday morn.
The smells of autumn filled the air.
In the center—a sheaf of corn.

It wasn’t long after that
the Luftwaffe made a call.
The festive church was laid flat.
There was nothing left at all.

Rubble remained in the months ahead.
Winter turned to spring.
Green shoots rose from the dead
as summer was on the wing.

The people of the church could see in the growth
of the ruined sheaf of corn
a sign that life is stronger than death,
a sign of life reborn.

Elijah Blues

1 Kings 19:1-15

A mighty wind was blowing, but the Lord wasn’t there.
An earthquake shook the mountain, but the Lord wasn’t there.
I am zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts.

Fire followed the earthquake, but the Lord wasn’t there.
In the sound of utter silence, the Lord was there!
I alone am left; they seek my life.

The Lord is not the wind, the Lord is not the quake,
the Lord is not the fire. But listen to the quiet:
I AM WHO I AM, the God of hosts.

The Parable of the Rich Fool

Luke 12:13-21

He who dies with the most toys wins,
a rich man said.
Today he is dead.
What do you win when death begins?

When death steals you before the dawn,
what is the measure
of stored up treasure?
Who honors you when you are gone?

Defining Faith

Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16

The world we live in was once a lightless void.
Out of nothingness, the Lord created the world.

From things not visible, the Lord made the earth.
From a divine spark, the Lord gives us birth.

We live on the edge from dust to dust again,
yet by our faith, we understand there is a plan.

The patriarch Abraham of Ur was promised a place
where he and his seed could live at last in peace.

Obedient Abraham never doubted his descendants
would grow to be as many as the stars in the heavens.

He never touched the soil of the promised land.
He died in faith before enjoying his claim.

Hope is looking forward with wistful longing.
The outcome is unknown when fate comes calling.

Faith is looking forward with absolute surety.
Faith is a hope that has turned into a certainty.

Dialog Between Athlete and Coach

Hebrews 12:1-2

A duet: Athlete (alto or tenor) and Coach (bass)

I ran my best, but failed to place.
My legs were dead the entire race.

I don’t have wind. I don’t feel strong.
Tell me: What am I doing wrong?

Unless you change, you’ll never win.
You are running races with the weight of sin.

The weight of sin drags you down.
A change of heart wins the crown.

I like the pleasures that come from sin.
Unless you change, you’ll never win.

Defeat or victory is yours to choose.
The life you live is yours to lose.

(Speaking to the congregation in unison)

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

The Parable of the Lost Coin

Luke 15:1-10

Imagine a father whose child is lost
in a busy mall at Christmas time.
All is well when she is found.
You too would say, “Rejoice with me!”

Imagine a wife desperately searching
every room for a precious ring
until at last she holds it up.
You too would say, “Rejoice with me!”

Imagine lovers breaking up,
but won’t accept that love is lost.
How sweet it is to reunite!
You too would say, “Rejoice with me!”

Imagine God’s determined search
to find the lost and bring them home.
This is the parable of the lost coin.
You too would say, “Rejoice with me!”

The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector

Luke 18:9-14

I’m feeling special standing in the temple.
I’m such a sight to see!
I lift my words to you my Lord.
Behold: take a look at me!

Indeed, I have risen above the rest.
Lord, you know it’s true.
Unlike these fools, I mind your rules.
My bearing says, “Better than you.”

[Chorus]

Better than you,
better than you.
Lord knows
he is better than you.

Who needs to ask? I tithe and fast.
My piety’s beyond compare.
It makes me proud to show the crowd
how to strike a righteous air.

My public look is by the book.
My face is pale and wan
and I raise my hands at the proper times.
I show the people how it’s done.

[Chorus]

Better than you,
better than you.
Lord knows
he is better than you.

The temple is blessed to witness the best;
it’s all about the show.
I’ll close my hour on the temple floor
with this, a truly grateful prayer:

Thank you, Lord, that I am spared
from living a life of sin
like that tax collector over there
and all the others in this room.

[Chorus]

Better than you,
better than you.
Lord knows he is better than you.

Bond of Unity

Romans 15:4-13

The weak in faith and the strong in faith
and the honest skeptic are bound as one.

The Easter Christian and the everyday saint;
the Jew and Gentile; every man,

woman, and child without regard
for homeland, language, or color of skin:

many differences, but one in faith.
In loyalty and love, we are one.

There is one Christ for all peoples;
the bond of unity is loyalty to him.

Long Night’s Journey into Day

Isaiah 9:2-7

In former times, we toiled at night.
We toiled in shadows from black to gray.
But then, behold! The emerging light!
In our long night’s journey into day.

In our long night’s journey into day,
the light of the Lord is beaming bright.
We praise the Lord and dance for joy.
The Lord of Hosts relieves our plight.

All the boots of tramping warriors
and bloody garments torn asunder
are burning now in pungent fires.
We exult like a people dividing plunder.

A child is born; a son is given;
authority rests in Him today.
We thank the Lord for sins forgiven
and our long night’s journey into day.

Son of Man

John 1:1-18

The son of man comes to earth.
Like you and me, he draws a breath.
His life is much like ours: a birth,
a coming of age, and then a death.

The son of man is the suffering servant.
He shoulders sins for a world in pain.
It is his role to lift our burden.
He suffers, he dies, he comes again.

The son of man is the sovereign power
to come in glory on judgment day.
No one knows the date and hour
our floating world will pass away.

The son of man is all in one:
person, servant, magistrate.
The faithful are one with the son of man.
He governs all, both small and great.

Come Together

Jeremiah 31:7-14

Come together,
come together
people of faith
from all the farthest parts of earth.

Come together
you who suffer
and you who weep.
A hopeful future lies ahead.

Come together
you with child
and you in labor.
With consolations, I’ll lead you back.

Come together!
The young women
rejoice in the dance
and young men and old are merry.

The Lord who scattered
the remnant of Israel
is gathering us now
as a shepherd keeps an errant flock.

Come together!
Our old mourning
turns to joy.
The people of faith are one again!

A Father’s Love

Romans 4:1-5, 13-17

A father’s love does not depend
on good behavior by his child.
Bad behavior does not suspend
a father’s love for his child.

A father’s love is not transactional—
a running score of tit for tat.
A father’s love is not conditional—
give me this, I’ll give you that.

A father’s love is never earned
where deeds pile up like points in a game.
He won’t give up when love is spurned;
he patiently waits and won’t cast blame.

A father’s love is an act of grace
freely given, no strings attached.
The child is sheltered in the sure embrace
of the gracious gift of love unmatched.

Breaking Bigotry

John 4:5-42

He broke a rule by talking to a woman.
Women are not to be diminished!
With the woman at the well, he shows us how
to break the rules of gender bigotry.

He broke a rule by talking to a Samaritan.
The woman at the well was part Assyrian.
With the woman at the well, he shows us how
to break the rules of racial bigotry.

He broke a rule by promising a schismatic
Israelite the gift of living water.
With the woman at the well, he shows us how
to break the rules of religious bigotry.

Jesus broke all the rules
that soured his world—and ours today.
Breaking bigotry is job one;
Jesus shows us how it’s done.

What Does Jesus Say?

What does Jesus say about abortion?
The answer is nothing. Nothing at all.

What does Jesus say about The Gay?
The answer is nothing. Nothing at all.

We need to follow the Gospel core.
If Jesus is silent about your cause

and your cause consumes you night and day,
does that not give you pause?

Read the Gospels again. Then pray
for the answer: what does Jesus say?

God Knows the Heart

1 Samuel 16:1-13

We judge our fellow humans by what we see.
We cannot know for sure what’s in the heart.
God ignores what works for you and me.
God knows the honest truth in every heart.

All of Jesse’s sons were tall and strong.
On looks alone, they set themselves apart.
Samuel was sure that one would be the king,
but God discerned in each a wavering heart.

Samuel anointed Jesse’s youngest son.
For God, David was the future still untold.
David promised to always be at one
with God—and return all sinners to the fold.

Create in me a clean heart, O Lord,
and bring to me a new and willing spirit.
Restore to me the joy of your accord.
Sustain in me forever your Holy Spirit.

Thomas the Twin

John 20:19-31

Faith is trust in the things you cannot see.
Love is service to the least who are plain to see.

Faith without love is life without compassion.
Love without faith is life without a mission.

You honor the Lord by giving your best to others.
Do all you can to help your sisters and brothers.

Walk by confident faith, not by sight.
Trust the Lord to bring you into the light.

Faith and love inspire both head and heart.
This is how the saints are set apart.

Mettle

Acts 7:55-60

Our first martyr defied the Fates.
Stephen was not resigned and broken.
Stephen faced his trial unbroken.
He stood in the docket for the Christian faith.

Stephen Martyr showed his mettle.
He spoke with courage and affirmation
about his faith to a sour Sanhedrin.
His face looked like that of an angel.

Stephen showed us how to cope.
Even after two thousand years,
we look to him to guard our fears.
Stephen’s mettle gives us hope.

No matter how your life is designed,
mettle makes your own renown.
Mettle is how your worth is known
to the men and women you leave behind.

Wheel of Water

Genesis 1:1–2:4a

Grass emerges from the winter snow.
Blades lengthen. Flowers grow.
Trees in the wind sway and sough.
The summer of life is all we know!

Autumn breezes start to blow
and all of life begins to slow.
Brown turf is snuffed in snow.
Life and death come and go.

Clouds roll in over the plain.
The clouds release their drops of rain.
The drops are lost in the narrowing drain
to the sea. Only to rise again.

The wheel of water is an endless chain,
an infinite loop of wax and wane.
The land upholds this loss and gain.
Yet the land itself cannot sustain.

Dust is molded, dust restored.
Not even the land can say: Never.
But for children of light who love the Lord,
the love of the Lord lasts forever.

The Yoke

Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30

The yoke you wear is the load you bear.
Who will make the yoke you wear?

The yoke you wear is yours alone.
Will you design and build it on your own?

Will you fashion failure for your load?
Will fear burden you on the darkened road?

Will you shoulder anger on the morrow
or shoulder some remembered sorrow?

A worker in wood has a better way
to lighten your load in every way.

You can trust the carpenter’s son.
He knows why and how it’s done.

Jesus knows the grain of oak.
He will make you a gentle yoke.

His heart is humble—learn from him.
Take his yoke and walk with him.

The Parable of the Mustard Seed

Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52

The kingdom of God began
with a solitary man.

The solitary man
was a tiny seed of one.

Growth began the hour
Jesus revealed his power.

The kingdom of God grew
when Jesus added two.

The kingdom grew some more
when followers numbered four.

There were twelve until the day
a follower fell away.

A handful grew into thousands
and thousands into millions.

Nothing on this earth
is fully formed at birth.

From a tiny seed of one
a mighty tree was born.

We rose from the garden sod:
behold the kingdom of God.

Shalom

Psalm 85:8-13

The Lord restored the trickster Jacob
and the Israelites who bore his name
whenever they fell into trouble and woe
time and time again.

Whenever the people went astray,
wrath begot forgiveness.
How sweet it was to be restored,
receiving loving kindness!

Life is more than staying alive;
the wholeness of life is shalom.
Peace is more than the absence of war;
the presence of God is shalom.

Restore us now to full communion
and save our generation.
Show us now your steadfast love
and grant us your salvation.

The Parable of the Great Banquet

Matthew 22:1-14

The wedding feast was ready.
Musicians were tuning up.
The table was groaning with food
and wine filled the cups.

The king invited the best
of subjects, but all withdrew.
They turned him down because
they had better things to do.

One was busy with his oxen.
One was peddling his wares.
One was recently married.
They turned to their own affairs.

The king opened his doors
to all, both good and bad,
to the poor, the crippled, the blind,
and the lame—and they were glad!

They were glad to eat and drink.
As persons, they were the least,
but the king was glad his guests
were grateful to join his feast.

Christian, are you prepared
for the king’s banquet fare?
Prepare your heart for God
and open your heart to the poor.

The Parable of the Ten Bridesmaids

Matthew 15:1-13

You do not know the day and hour.
Behold! The bridegroom is coming now!
Here is the bridegroom! Come and meet him!
Are you ready for your moment?
Are you prepared?

The final exam comes tomorrow.
Too bad you didn’t crack a book
until this hour, the night before.
Are you ready for your moment?
Are you prepared?

You want to make the final roster.
While others worked to hone their skills,
you chose to hang with indolent friends.
Are you ready for your moment?
Are you prepared?

For years you skipped the extra study,
but now you find the perfect job,
the dream career you always wanted.
Are you ready for your moment?
Are you prepared?

Marriage and family sounds like fun.
Are you aware how much it takes
of true commitment to make it work?
Are you ready for your moment?
Are you prepared?

Will you make the most of the time you have?
Will you deliver when the pressure is on?
Does your character pass the test?
Are you ready for your moment?
Are you prepared?

A Tale that is Told

Psalm 90:1-12

The storyteller tells our years.
For each of us, the events are new.
The storyteller gives us tears
and laughter, and love false and true.

The days unfold from birth to death.
We cannot keep from growing old.
Our lives are over as in a breath.
Our journey ends as a tale that is told.

Evening, Midnight, Cockcrow, Dawn

Mark 13:24-37

Watchman, wake. Awake and rise!
You must be ready when the master comes.
Don’t let him catch you by surprise

in the evening,
at midnight,
at cockcrow
or at dawn.

Watchman: this charge is yours to keep.
The master comes in a sudden rush.
Don’t let him find you sound asleep

in the evening,
at midnight,
at cockcrow
or at dawn.

Watchman, wake. Open your eyes!
You cannot know the urgent hour,
the hour when the master of the house arrives

in the evening,
at midnight,
at cockcrow
or at dawn.

Doing the Work

Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11

God does see. God does care.
The needy, the weak, and the poor are blessed
when good people in power press
for equal justice in the public square.

God directs, but people do the work
by flagging injustice to make things right.
It’s up to the righteous to shine a light
on unjust suffering, then get to work.

God does not have the hands
to comfort and succor those in pain,
to lift the burden of the common man.
The just ruler provides the hands.

God does not have the feet
to walk about looking for evil.
Let compassion for the least of us prevail!
The benevolent ruler provides the feet.

In a nation under God, everyone
is joined. There are many beating hearts,
but one body with equal parts,
and the righteous ruler sets the tone.

The Critical Tell

1 John 3:16-24

Righteousness is neither vague nor undefined.
Conduct is the critical tell for humankind.

Love and boundless generosity support
the definition. Stinginess and hate thwart

a just life. Fine words
cannot salvage meanspirited works.

Every Christian learns to love.
Every Christian learns to give.

Every Christian knows the difference:
to love your neighbor is righteousness.

The Parable of the Growing Seed

Mark 4:26-34

The kingdom of God is like a seed
the farmer pushes into the soil.
Seed and soil produce themselves,
but growth quickens through the farmer’s toil.

After the planting, the farmer waits.
He sleeps and rises night and day.
The seed will grow; he knows not how.
He watches and waits for the wakening day.

First the stalk, and then the head,
and then the full grain at the top.
When the grain is full, the farmer goes
in with his sickle to harvest the crop.

Seed and soil produce themselves.
The patient farmer may water and weed
for myriad days without a sign.
It is just this way when you plant the Word.

Planting the Word is never enough.
You cannot plant and walk away.
While the Word and Faith produce themselves,
our work goes on to the wakening day.

Be patient, be strong: Do not lose heart.
Wait for the rains, early and late.
We are God’s servants, working together.
Let us rejoice on the harvest date.

The Ark of the Covenant

1 Kings 8:1, 6, 10-11, 22-30, 41-43

In the red morning on the umber sea,
none of the tall ships, wind or lee,
is lovelier than you, proud lady.
O, wandering bark, come home to me!

The storm is passed. Sailors rest.
The People are safe, no longer oppressed.
The Lord is calling: Be my guest.
You are the chosen. You are the blessed.

The throne of God is in this space.
The Holy of Holies is now in place.
From tent to temple, the race is over.
You are safe at last in Yahweh’s grace.

Inherit the Kingdom

James 2:1-17

Give food to the hungry and drink to the thirsty.
Clothe the naked. Welcome the stranger.
Heal the sick. Visit the prisoner.
Our selfless servants inherit the kingdom.

Care for the least in the human family.
When you help the least, you do it for Him.

Give from the heart when you help the least.
Do not expect a prize or praise.
Do it because you know it’s right.
Give of yourself to inherit the kingdom.

Care for the least in the human family.
When you help the least, you do it for Him.

When a person is naked or hungry or sick,
don’t say, “Be well,” and go your way.
What profit is faith without good works?
How good is your faith on the judgment day?

Care for the least in the human family.
When you help the least, you do it for Him.

He Called a Little Child

Mark 9:30-37

When little children play their games,
they mix the brown, the black, and the white.
Foreign accents and alien speech
are muted by squeals of pure delight.

The little children aren’t wise enough
to tell the girls apart from boys.
They greet their playmates with open hearts.
Without guile, they share their toys.

The little children do not compete.
In time, they’ll learn to lose and win.
Knowing nothing of money and fame,
they look to parents for everything.

As a little child depends on parents,
we must be humble and trust in God.
Who is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?
The very opposite of the way of the world!

Jesus called a little child.
He set the child among the crowd.
How can a person enter the kingdom?
You must unlearn the way of the proud.

Give up your claims to power and status.
Become a child once again.
Unless you change and be like children,
you cannot gain the kingdom of heaven.

The Ballad of Constituency Service

Mark 10:35-45

Joshua declared his run for office.
He hired James and John
to craft a compelling media message
and manage a clean campaign.

James and John planned their game
to star on Joshua’s team,
to get themselves rank and fame
by building Joshua’s dream.

On the day the boss won election,
the two hatched a scheme.
Now was the time to raise the option:
to manage the political team

and stand with him on his left and right.
Joshua had a hunch
they really wanted the media lights
and the three-martini lunch.

Joshua said: “I have plans for you.
I cannot grant your ask.
Instead,” he said, “I am giving you
the most important task.

Constituency service is the top of the list
of all Congressional affairs
and you are the best equipped to assist
those with urgent cares.”

James and John earned preferment—
they got what they deserved.
Redemption comes from being a servant
and not from being served.

The Grafting of a Nation

Ruth 1:1-18

When we graft the tissues of plants,
they continue to grow as one.
The lower part is the stock;
the upper part, the scion.

If the grower does it right,
the new improves the old.
The aging stock revives.
A spurt of life takes hold.

Strangers come to our shore.
They worry if they belong.
Our nation is grafting, too.
Are we doing it right or wrong?

Parents work to the bone
so their children are free from fears.
It’s always been this way—
for four hundred years.

When we graft the tissues of people,
they continue to grow as one.
It’s up to us to perfect
the grafting of stock and scion.

Don’t Worry About Tomorrow

Matthew 6:25-34

Look at the birds of the air
who neither sow nor reap
nor gather goods into barns.
Birds don’t worry at all.
The Lord provides their food.
Don’t worry about tomorrow.

Look at the lilies of the field
who neither toil nor spin.
They dress in costly attire
more elegant than that of a king.
The Lord provides their clothes.
Don’t worry about tomorrow.

Birds give glory in song;
flowers give glory in beauty;
If you will strive for righteousness
and give to God the glory,
the Lord will always provide.
Don’t worry about tomorrow.

Pilgrim

Come home, come home to the simple life:
love God with all your heart,
with all your soul and with all your strength.
This is the first and greatest rule.

Come home, come home to the holy life:
love your neighbor as yourself.
These two rules are all you need.
Everything else is explanation.

Come, pilgrim, come home to God.
Clear your mind of the cares of the world.
It does not matter how far you roam.
The road from home is the road to home.

Effort

Matthew 7:7-8

The first command and promise
is Ask and you will receive.
The second command and promise
is Seek and you will find.
The last command and promise
is Knock and the door will open.

If you make the effort to ask,
God will keep the promise.
If you make the effort to seek,
God will keep the promise.
If you make the effort to knock,
God will keep the promise.

His true and timeless words
from the Sermon on the Mount
are among the most inspired
that Jesus would ever say.
But in the hopeful promise
there lives a hard command.

Ask and you will receive.
Seek and you will find.
Knock and the door will open.
The promise is there for you.
But you must do the work
and follow God’s commands.

Abraham’s Bargain

Genesis 18:16-32

The Lord is angry. I ask the Lord,
“Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked?
If you are just, would that be fair?”

I stand before the Lord and ask,
“If fifty are righteous, will all be swept away?”
The Lord responds, “For the sake of fifty,
I’ll save them all.”

I am the master of the deal.
I got it down to fifty.
But then I wonder if we have that many.
I’ll bargain for a lower count.

I stand before the Lord and ask,
“If thirty are righteous, will all be swept away?”
The Lord responds, “For the sake of thirty,
I’ll save them all.”

I am the master of the deal.
I got it down to thirty.
But then I wonder if we have that many.
I’ll bargain for a lower count.

I stand before the Lord and ask,
“If ten are righteous, will all be swept away?”
The Lord responds, “For the sake of ten,
I’ll save them all.”

I am the master of the deal.
I got it down to ten.

(Slower)

Then the Lord went his way
and I returned to my place.

(Resume)

The Lord is angry. I ask the Lord,
“Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked?
If you are just, would that be fair?”

I am the master of the deal.
But I knew not the hearts of men.
Even ten was a count too high.
Ten souls were a count too high.

In the end, he saved the righteous.
The children of my children fan the earth
because he was just, he was fair.

(All face the congregation, raise your arms, smile and shout)

I am the master of the deal!

Peter’s Turning Point

Acts 10:1-35

Simon Peter learned a double truth:
that Christ fulfilled the purity laws for food;

What God creates, you must not call common—
what God has cleansed, you must not call unclean.

Peter learned that God does not proscribe.
God embraces every tongue and tribe.

Cornelius the gentile was Peter’s turning point.
For you: What will be your turning point?

What God creates, you must not call common—
what God has cleansed, you must not call unclean.

The Parable of the Talents

Matthew 25:14-30

The master demands a doubling,
light compounding light.

The master demands a doubling
of the talents we are given.
The first servant trades
his talents five for ten.

The master demands a doubling,
light compounding light.

The second servant knows
the master is wanting more
when he returns. He trades
his talents two for four.

The master demands a doubling,
light compounding light.

The master demands a doubling,
light compounding light.
For doing nothing,
the fearful servant reaps the night.

The master demands a doubling,
light compounding light.

For the master, it is troubling
when we choose a blinkered vision.
Let us work at doubling
the talents we are given!

The master demands a doubling,
light compounding light.

The Parable of the Two Debtors

Luke 7:36-50

Simon the Pharisee is a self-sufficient man.
He sees himself above the common crowd.

His bearing is proud in the sight of men and God.
Because he feels no need, he feels no love.

The woman of the city is deeply shamed
by her life of sin. She cannot stop her tears.

The woman of the city begs to be forgiven.
Because her need is great, her love is great.

Of the two, the one who loves the Lord the most
is the one for whom he cancels the greater debt.

Of the two, the one who loves the Lord the most
is the one for whom he cancels the greater debt.

Justice

Amos 1:1-2, 5:14-15, and 5:21-24

Listen, Israel! Listen, sons and daughters
of Joseph: Justice is not a distant dream.

Let justice roll down the mountain like mighty waters.
Let righteousness be an ever-flowing stream.

Water cleanses the face of the evil and the good;
let justice be like that for one and all.

Make the law the same for the evil and the good
without regard for station great or small.

Let justice roll down the mountain like mighty waters.
Let righteousness be an ever-flowing stream.

Celebrating Peace

1.

Today we gather in this faraway space
to celebrate what never took place.

Under this cloudless sky
the Unknown Soldier did not die.

No one was wounded on this spot.
Nary a soldier fired a shot.

No soldier sang a battle hymn
or killed or died or lost a limb.

On this our distant grassy field,
no corpse was lifted onto a shield.

The world at war is far away;
let peace begin with us today.

2.

Fog is rising from the thawing ground.
Birds are soaring without a sound.

Cedars shimmer in the morning breeze.
Snowy mountains back the trees.

For a world at war, where do we start?
Peace begins in the human heart.

By changing hearts one by one,
changed hearts lower the gun.

Today we promise to work for peace,
changing hearts in the name of peace.

The world at war is far away;
let peace begin with us today.

Open My Mind

Open my mind to the stranger who differs from me.
Empty my mind, O Lord, of ignorance and fear.
Allow me to live in a world where knowledge is free.
Give me a mind, O Lord, that is always clear.

Open my mind to the stranger of another race.
Let me see him as a friend and not the other.
Allow him to be the gracious guest in my space.
As host, I am pleased to do my best for a brother.

Empty my mind, O Lord, of conventional bias.
Open my mind to the norm of same-sex love.
Give me the courage to resist the spitefully pious.
Allow me to assert that love is simply love.

Open my mind to the stranger from a foreign land.
Let me share the warmth of our country’s sun.
If he wants to be my neighbor, I’ll lend a hand.
Our nation’s motto is “Out of many, one.”

Give me the strength, O Lord, not to wait
for a thousand tomorrows to live in brotherly love.
Empty my mind, O Lord, of the ruin of hate.
Open my mind, O Lord, to the rule of love.

Now

James 4:14

Life is like a mist.
It is here for a little while
and then it vanishes.

What is your life?
What is your brother’s life?

Have you sinned against your brother?
Tell your brother you are sorry
today.

Has your brother sinned against you?
Do your best to reconcile
today.

It is easy too easy to say, tomorrow.
When morning comes, we say again,
tomorrow.

The time will come when you and the sun
Will lay your heads beneath the rim
of the hills;

In the morning, only the sun will rise.
The time for brothers to heal the hurt
is now.

What is your life?
What is your brother’s life?

Life is like a mist.
It is here for a little while
and then it vanishes.

On the Liberty of Women

God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things
I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can,
and wisdom
to know the difference.

~ Reinhold Niebuhr ~

Who makes the rules for things we cannot change?
We’ll decide which rules to ignore or keep.

We won’t accept the things we cannot change.
It’s time to change the things we cannot accept.

God, grant to us the wisdom to know the course
you set for us—and not the course by others.

God, grant to us the courage to be the force
to overturn the rules prescribed by brothers.

We won’t accept the things we cannot change.
It’s time to change the things we can’t accept.

Do Unto Others

How should you and I behave?
What is good? What is true?
Do unto others as you would have
others do to you.

Going back four thousand years,
a sage proclaimed something new:
Do unto others as you would have
others do to you
.

For people of faith in every age,
believers hold a common truth:
do unto others as you would have
others do to you.

In every nation around the world,
the tolerant seek to make it so:
Do unto others as you would have
others do to you.

How should you and I behave?
What is good? What is true?
Do unto others as you would have
others do to you.

Breaking the Consecrated Bread

Holy Communion

The condor rises on wings of the present and past.
Warm thermals lift these wings of time.

One wing is all of us in this sacred place.
The other bears the souls of every age.

We fold the Common Era into a single day.
Time slows to a stop with the bread and cup.

And now we eat this bread and drink this cup.
Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.