Thursday, January 17, 2019

Hymn of the Week: Lord, Your Love

Here's my newest hymn: "Lord, Your Love," inspired by several verses from 1 John. It's written to a Double meter, and I've set it to the tune "St. George's Windsor," most commonly associated with the Thanksgiving hymn "Come, Ye Thankful People, Come." Below you'll find the text of the verses, sheet music, and a recorded demo of the hymn.

Lord, Your Love

This is how we know of love,
And the way its joys abound:
Jesus Christ was sent for us,
Reconciling us to God.

Lord, Your love fills up our lives!
We, with gladdened hearts, outpour
All our worship, and we cry:
"You are love, and we are Yours!" 

This is love, poured out for us:
Not that we, by works or will
Ever could inherit grace;
Simply that He loves us still!


Rest, my soul, beneath the thought:
Love has ransomed you away
From your failings and your sins
By His sacrificial grace!



Wednesday, January 16, 2019

The Evangeliad (8:18-26)

Section 8:18-26 (corresponding to Luke 6:13-16; Mark 3:13-18; Matt. 5:1-2)

Then Jesus went back up the rising slope
With his friends and companions, and there he chose
These twelve disciples to call as his own,
Apostles to whom he his glory would show:

Simon, called Cephas (or Peter in Greek),
And then James and then John, sons of Zebedee,
Philip, Nathaniel (Bartholomew called),
And Matthew from the publican's stall.

There was Andrew too, Simon Peter's brother,
Jude (called Thaddeus), and James (yes, another),
Thomas the twin and Simon the Zealot,
And the traitor himself, the Iscariot.

These twelve then stood at Jesus' side,
Appointed to serve, in love to preside
Over the work of the Kingdom of God:
To preach and to heal and to cast demons out.

And there on the mountain, in a flat place,
He stood with the multitude, then turned his face
Up to the heavens, preparing to speak;
And these were the words he started to teach:

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Photo of the Week

Ever lift Thy face upon me,
As I work and wait for Thee;
Resting 'neath Thy smile, Lord Jesus
Earth's dark shadows flee.
- from Jean S. Pigott's hymn "Jesus, I Am Resting, Resting"

Monday, January 14, 2019

Quote of the Week

"Do not merely speak with pleasure about the deeds of the [great heroes of the faith], but demand of yourself also the accomplishment of the same."

- Evagrius of Pontus, early church father

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Saturday Synaxis

Blessed Jesus, Lord of the harvest, send forth, we beseech thee, laborers into thy harvest, and by thy Holy Spirit, stir up the hearts of many, that they may be ready to spend and be spent in thy service, and if it please thee, so to lose their life in this world, that they may gather fruit unto life eternal; Lord Jesus, lover of souls. Amen.

- Robert Milman

Friday, January 11, 2019

The Quest for the King, Scene 23

The leaders of the loyalist army sat dejectedly around a fire the following morning, each one simply staring into the coals with hollow gazes. There was no danger anymore; the Steward’s army had withdrawn completely. But without the Prince, their whole purpose had been snatched away from them. Their grand revolution had failed, and failed miserably. Thanks for the Prince they were alive, but left bereft of hope.

“What now?” asked Kobi, lifting his eyes to look at a few of the others.

“We’ll take any who want to go with us back to the Great King’s land,” said the leader of the royal navy. “There’s nothing left here for us anymore.” 

Joe, Sim, and Lady were there too, sitting between Kobi and Mack. Joe looked around at the group and frowned. 

“No, that can’t be the end of this. I know the Prince is gone, but that doesn’t mean that the Steward should get to win.”

“Son, he’s already won,” said another leader. “It’s over. There’s no taking Arrens back from him now.” 

“But this is our home!” Joe insisted. “And he’s not the rightful ruler!” 

“Well, he may be now,” another said glumly. “It was a despicable coup, but he pulled it off.” 

“But we still have family in there!” Lady protested. “Uncle and Auntie!” 

“What, in the Steward’s ‘ghost house’? Little girl, they’re just as surely gone as the Prince himself. Best to make a new life of it now.” 

Lady’s eyes welled up. “But I don’t want a new life,” she said quietly. “I want the old one back.” 

The group descended into sad silence once again. 

Then Joe spoke up. “She’s right. We can’t just turn back now. At least I can’t. I’m going to sneak in the city through that hole in the brick Sir Kobi talked about, and I’m going to try to find my family, or at least a neighbor or two.” 

“Me too,” said Sim firmly. 

“And me,” added Lady. 

Kobi shook his head. “We’ve already lost too much. Don’t make us lose you, too.” 

“No, I’ve made up my mind,” said Joe, quickly wiping away a tear at the corner of his eye. “But if I were you, I’d be ready. Because even if I don’t find Uncle or Auntie alive in there, I’m going to do everything I can to throw those gates open and give you one last chance to bring down the Steward.” 

“Son, we’ve already lost that fight,” said one of the naval officers. 

But Sir Mack smiled. “Don’t bet against these three,” he said. “They are the Prince’s own squires, and they have already saved this endeavor more than once all on their own.”

The three children stood up and dusted off their clothes. Sir Mack rose in response. 

“I can’t speak for anyone else here, my friends. But for myself: I will be ready. If you throw open those gates, then Arrens will see the return of old Sir Mack for one last time.”

“And not alone,” said Kobi, standing, “for I’ll be there at your side.” 

Joe smiled at the two brave knights. Then, with a bow of his head, he turned and set off down the road to Arrens. 

Thursday, January 10, 2019

New Hymn: In the Light of Our Lord's Coming

(Scheduling note: This year I've given myself an "Isaac Watts Challenge," to write one new hymn per week. During the month of January, I'll be posting these in the Thursday slot on my blog rotation, in place of my Pilgrimage Memoir. The memoir will resume on Thursday, Feb. 7, at which time the Hymn of the Week will shift to the Friday slot vacated by the conclusion of my "Quest for the King" novel project.)

This hymn, written for Epiphany (but certainly also usable anytime in the Christmas season), takes the example of the Magi's humble obedience to the star's leading and applies it to God's call on our lives. It's written to the old tune "Tranquility" by James Mountain (most often associated with the hymn "Jesus, I Am Resting, Resting"), with the only alteration being that the refrain repeats the tune of the second half of the hymn. I've included the text below, then an image of the hymn set to musical notation, and finally a music file where you can hear me sing it. (See the bottom of the post for usage permissions.)

In the Light of Our Lord's Coming 

When our Lord was born of Mary
In a stable long ago,
God displayed it to the nations
With a bright star’s glow.
Like the Wise Men on their journey,
We behold the star of grace,
And it calls us out to follow
After all His ways.

In the light of our Lord’s coming
We will follow where He leads,
As with joy we seek the glory
Of the Prince of Peace.

Laying down our old ambitions,
We pursue the wondrous star
Of Your leading, for it calls us
Right to where You are.
Let us find You on our journey,
In the peace Your presence gives;
Then shall we in humble worship
Offer You our gifts.

In the light of our Lord’s coming
We will follow where He leads,
As with joy we seek the glory
Of the Prince of Peace.

Oh, dispel the fears we cling to
When You bid us venture forth;
Break our pride, that we may freely
March out with our Lord.
Call us out to every nation
With the Gospel of Your grace;
Lead us till the end, when we will
Crown You with our praise.

In the light of our Lord’s coming
We will follow where He leads,
As with joy we seek the glory
Of the Prince of Peace.

(Usage permissions: Any readers/users are permitted to use or perform this hymn for personal or church use, provided that (1) the hymn's authorship is cited; (2) the text is unaltered; and (3) it is not marketed for commercial purposes. To access the rough-draft sheet music, simply click on the image file to enlarge it, then right click and "Save As" to download a copy. Please contact Matthew Burden for any other uses.)