We are a body


 

The body of Christ is one of many metaphors used in the New Testament to describe the community of believers. Here is an all-age song I wrote in the mid-90’s incorporating some of these images.

Song


 

We are a body, we are a family,
we are the church of Jesus Christ.
We are a body, we are a family,
we are the church of Jesus Christ.
We are living stones,
we are a temple for God’s Spirit lives in us.
Hallelujah!  God has made us the church!
 


Call to worship: Here we are

inspired by 1 Samuel 3

God whispers to each of us:
you are my beloved,
created in love for love.
My spirit answers,
Here I am, Lord.
Speak to me anew.

God breathes on us the Holy Spirit,
knitting many members into one body,
the body of Christ.
Together we answer,
Here we are Lord.
Come, Holy Spirit.

God has yet more vision for the people.
Who will work for God to extend God’s kingdom
into our hurting world?
Here we are Lord.
Empower us for your work.

God calls the small, and helps them do great things.
God calls the weak, and reveals their hidden gifts.
God calls the rejected, and opens their eyes to their worth.
Here we are Lord, humble and waiting.

Then let us gather, old and young, small and great,
to dream God’s dreams,
receive God’s power,
and do God’s deeds.
Here we are Lord.
Shine the light of your love on us.
Kindle your Spirit within us.
Work your redeeming will in us,
that all the world may be one
through the power of your love. Amen.

 
by David Inglis
Posted on the Henrietta United Church of Christ website

Singing creation’s song


Spring in the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh  (Photo: Irene Bom)

 
I’m currently embarked on a 100-day project to declutter my house, every nook and cranny. In one of the boxes I found some lyrics by Cara Taylor, then aged 14 (now all grown up and a mother of two). Cara’s song is entitled, Creation’s song, and is loosely based on Genesis 1.

The chorus is particularly evocative, depicting God singing creation into being:

I am singing, singing creation’s song
Breathing life upon this new-born world,
I’m shaping flowers and trees,
making rivers and seas,
I’m singing creation’s song

 


 
To accompany Cara’s lyrics, here is a “Liturgy of Creation” that picks up on this theme, and expands it to include more of God’s creative expressions.

Liturgy of Creation

(based on Genesis 1)

In the beginning, all was darkness
and God said, “let there be light,
and because God had said it,
there was light.

In the beginning, all was silence
and God sang the song of creation,
and because God sang,
all the stars and spheres vibrated to the music of God.

In the beginning, all was still
and God laughed,
and because God laughed,
the waters took up the roar and the ripple of it;
and ebbed and flowed and seeped and swirled
and delighted in the ways of its being.

In the beginning, all was dull
and God painted,
and because God painted,
the sky became blue, and purple, and pink,
and rainbows hung there.
The grass became green
and flowers and butterflies danced in the drips
and settled like jewels on the earth.

In the beginning, all was unconscious
and God breathed,
and because God breathed,
men and women woke up from their sleeping,
they breathed of the very life of God
and stood in wonder before the work of God’s hands.
They beheld the glory of God in all that God had made
and they saw that it was very good.

 
posted on the Third Space website.
 


Nature tales

While visiting the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh in early spring, I had the privilege of having a robin perch on my knee.

I also spent a delightful few minutes watching a tiny bird with hardly any tail dart in and out of a tree with dangling fronds (a Betula Pendula ‘Tristis’), as it foraged, collecting titbits (animal? vegetable?), hopping, skipping, dangling and fluttering to keep its balance. Magnificent!
 

The whole bright world rejoices


Fellow festival-goers in lights, Edinburgh 2017  (Photo: Irene Bom)

 
After a series of solemn daily meditations for Holy Week, now for something bright and cheerful: a seventeenth century Easter carol, to channel our “laughing cheer” and “boundless joy”, for Jesus is risen! He is risen indeed!

Easter carol

The whole bright world rejoices now:
with laughing cheer! with boundless joy!
The birds do sing on every bough:
Alleluia!

Then shout beneath the racing skies:
with laughing cheer! with boundless joy!
To him who rose that we might rise:
Alleluia!

God, Father, Son and Holy Ghost:
with laughing cheer! with boundless joy!
Our God most high, our joy, our boast:
Alleluia!

 
from The Book of a Thousand Prayers by Angela Ashwin, #822
 


From the blog – also on an Easter theme
2017 windows on Holy Week #8
 

Wild hope #2


Shaped by the wind  (Photo: Irene Bom)

 
I wonder: What is the relationship between hope and waiting? Maybe Psalm 130 can give us some clues.

Psalm 130 features on a CD called Send us a Friend that I made with Friends and Neighbours in 2013. The song is called “My soul waits for the Lord”. It’s in English and in Dutch. I’ve included a link below.

Psalm 130

A song of ascents.

1  Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord;
2  Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive
to my cry for mercy.

3  If you, Lord, kept a record of sins,
Lord, who could stand?
4 But with you there is forgiveness,
so that we can, with reverence, serve you.

5  I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
and in his word I put my hope.
6  I wait for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than watchmen wait for the morning.

7  Israel, put your hope in the Lord,
for with the Lord is unfailing love
and with him is full redemption.
8  He himself will redeem Israel
from all their sins.


My soul waits for the Lord

My soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen for the morning
Watchmen for the morning
My soul waits for the Lord.
For with Him there is mercy.
Hope in Him.

Mijn ziel wacht op de Heer
meer dan wachters op de morgen
Wachters op de morgen
Mijn ziel wacht op de Heer
Want bij Hem is genade
Altijd weer.

 
Backstory

The Dutch verse came first. It was surprisingly easy to translate into English – all except for the last line, “Altijd weer”.

“Altijd weer” means “every time again – when and as you need God’s mercy”. There’s no 3-syllable way of saying that in English, so eventually I chose “Hope in Him.”


See also Wild hope #1

 

To keep our hearts in tune

Children learning about God's heart for the world
Children learning about God’s heart for the world (Photo: Irene Bom)
 
 
In October 2017 I visited the Scots Kirk in Lausanne, as part of a Local Church Review team.

At lunch one day I met Geraldine Ewen (82) who has been a part of the Lausanne congregation for 23 … 25 years. She told me about her links with the Salvation Army, through her grandparents. Still today Geraldine occasionally foregoes Sunday worship in her own church to attend the Salvation Army Sunday morning service with the band playing all the lovely hymn tunes.

Here is Geraldine singing one of the songs she learned as a child, and sharing how this and other songs from her childhood continue to do her heart good.

Transcript

Geraldine (singing):

Whisper a prayer in the morning
Whisper a prayer at noon
Whisper a prayer in the evening
to keep your heart in tune

Irene: Tell me the story of the song.

Geraldine: It was Salvation Army that we used to sing it. Yes. I don’t know if it was used by other churches.

Irene: You learned it from your grandparents or not?

Geraldine: Yes. Yes, and from Sunday School.

Irene: Right. Thank you.

Geraldine: But it’s something that has come, come with me all along. And when I go to Bible Study … we have Bible study in Le Mont. One of the girls here, she runs it in her home. And sometimes I just think of a chorus, a refrain, you know.

My grandfather, he used to sing, ‘He came right down to me … He came right down to me to condescend to be my friend. (in a whisper) He came right down to me.’ That’s another lovely one. ‘Condescended to come right down to me.’

Irene: What’s your name?

Geraldine: Geraldine.

Irene: Geraldine.

Geraldine: Geraldine Ewen from Lausanne, yes.


Verse 2 of “Whisper a prayer in the morning”:

Prayer changes things in the morning
Prayer changes things at noon
Prayer changes things in the evening
And keeps your heart in tune


See also: From generation to generation