Thursday, August 23, 2007

Joyful, Joyful We Adore You

Joyful, joyful, we adore You, God of glory, Lord of love;
Make us bloom like flow'rs before You, Opening to our Sun* above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness; Drive despair and gloom away;
Giver of immortal gladness, Fill us with the light of day!

All Your works with joy surround Your, Earth and heaven reflect Your rays,
Stars and angels sing around You, Center of unbroken praise.
Field and forest, vale and mountain, Flow'ring meadow, cooling dew,
Singing bird and flowing fountain Call us to rejoice in You.

You are giving and forgiving, Ever blessing, ever blessed,
Wellspring of the joy of living, Ocean depth of happy rest!
God our Father, Christ our Brother, With the Holy Spirit One;
Teach us how to love each other, Selflessly as You have done.

Mortals, join the happy chorus, Which the morning stars began;
Father love is reigning o’er us, Christian love binds man to man.
Ever singing, march we onward, Victors in the midst of strife,
Joyful music leads us onward In the triumph song of life.
---Henry van Dyke, 1907, 1911; adapted cmb 1990, 2007

*Often a metaphor for Jesus "the 'Sun' of Righteousness; the 'Son' of God (Malachi)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Secrets

The skies can't keep their secret!
They tell it to the hills---
The hills just tell the orchards---
And they the daffodils!

A bird, by chance, that goes that way
Soft overheard the whole.
If I should bribe the little bird,
Who knows but she would tell?

I think I won't, however,
It's finer not to know;
If summer were an axiom*,
What sorcery had snow?**

So keep your secret, Father!
I would not, if I could,
Know what the sapphire fellows do,
In Your new-fashioned world!***
---Emily Dickinson

*Axiom--a generally accepted truth, a universal wisdom
**If summer seems like a spiritual teacher & I think I learn all from it, what power does winter have to show me anything?
***I'd rather be surprised by what purpose everything will have in heaven than to try and understand all that now in this life

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God's Grandeur

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod (1)?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod(2).

And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs--
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent (3)
World broods (4) with warm breast
                 and with ah! bright wings (5).

---Gerard Manley Hopkins, , 1877
(1) Psalm 2:9. Jesus wields a rod to smash prideful kings.
(2) Shod feet. The loss of pristine innocence, the need to be clothed after sin entered the world.(3) Bent world. (a) tired (b) bent but not broken; crooked, inperfect (c) curved, as an egg over which the Spirit broods
(4) Brooding of the Holy Spirit---see Genesis 1.
(5) As one turns from the dark west horizon (earth's tiredness, coming as a result of man's sin) back to the eastern horizon, where the sun is rising, he sees the promise of a new day under the Spirit's care. This borrows from the Bible's Dove symbolism (breast and wings), which are bright and colorful as the beautiful sunrise.

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Ode to Joy

"The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, meekness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control." Galatians 5:22-23.
Hi! I am JOY/ A fruit of the Spirit;
I come to all Christians/But am often neglected.
I show up in small ways:/In a child's toothless grin,
In helping an old lady,/In a baby's slobbered chin.
I'm always near/Just take time to look---
I inhabit a rainbow/And an uplifting book.
I grace all your learning/When you "see the light."
I'm there when you make peace/And cool down a fight.
I'm among friends/Who love to go fishing,
Just drinking a beer/And talking and wishing. . .
I brightened your folks/Before you were born,
Now I tag-along with YOU/As you weather life's storms.
I give true delight/In Christian commitment;
I pervade your soul/When you learn contentment.
I dance through creation/ And make the stars twinkle
And fill the dry ground/ When rain starts to sprinkle.
I'm there in all seasons/ I love them ALL best.
After a day of hard work/ Together we rest.
I'm the lush grass/ That tickles your comfortable bare feet.
I enhance the mem'ries/ When old buddies meet.
Sitting in church/ I keep you awake
No matter how long/ The service may take.
I'm there in fond mem'ries/ You dwell on from home;
I hid in that pun/ That caused you to groan.
I delight in your discovery/ Of just Whose you are;
When you LIKE who He made you/ Indeed we've come far!
I haunted the Maker/ Before He made time;
When all was pronounced good/ The pleasure was mine.
I bestowed warmth upon earth/ At Easter's SON-rise;
I'll escort you to heaven/ When someday YOU rise!
I'm happy we've met, /I'll be a good friend;
I'll always be with you/ My gifts NEVER end!"
A cheerful heart is good medicine,/ But a broken spirit dries up the bones." Proverbs 17:22
---C. Marie Byars, 1984

Just for Fun

BANE & WOE

Naughty, naughty, Poison Ivy:
Touch my skin and make me hive-y.
Blotchy skin and splotchy face:
Itchy, itchy every place!
Should have looked a little closer,
Maybe purchased from a grocer;
Should have brought a field guide:
Now I've got that stuff inside!
Thought I knew the out-of-doors---
Wandered over hills and moors---
Now I think I'll stay at home:
'Til tomorrow---then I'll roam.
---C. Marie Byars, 1986

You Have Searched Me

(Psalm 139:1-10; 14. An original translation.)

Yahweh, You searched me;
Thus You know me.
My sitting down and my rising up You know.
My disposition You discern from a distance.
My path and lying down you sort out,
And my entire way You make useful.
A word is not yet formed on my tongue,
And, yet You, O Yahweh, already know it.
Behind me and in front of me You close me in,
And upon me have You placed the palm of Your Hand.
Too wonderful for me is this Knowledge!
She is high: I cannot reach her!
Where could I go from Your Spirit?
And where might I flee from Your Face?
Were I to ascend to the skies,
You would be there.
And were I to make my bed in the depths of the earth,
Indeed, You would be there.
Were I to rise on the wings of the dawn
And were I to dwell at the edge of the sea,
Even there your Hand would hold and guide me,
And your strength would sustain me. . .
I praise You,
For I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Your works are wonderful,
How rightly I realize this!