Monday, September 30, 2019

Quote of the Week

"All of your own free will,
All uncompelled,
Be just--
And you will never want for joy."

- Aeschylus, ancient Greek playwright

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Saturday Synaxis

O God, from whom to be turned is to fall,
To whom to be turned is to rise,
And in whom to stand is to abide forever:
Grant us in all our duties your help,
In all our perplexities your guidance,
In all our dangers your protection,
And in all our sorrows your peace,
Through Jesus Christ our Lord.

- Augustine

Friday, September 27, 2019

Hymn of the Week: Walk with Me

One of the traditional biblical genres of praise is the "song of ascents" (Psalms 120-134): that is, a walking-song, or, more precisely, a pilgrimage-song, which worshipers would sing as they made the journey up to Jerusalem to visit the Temple of God. The hymn below is my own attempt at a pilgrimage-song, set to a tune that fits a cheery walking gait: the charming (but rather too repetitive in its original lyrics) "Cleansing Wave" of Phoebe Palmer.

Walk with Me

I walk this day in pilgrimage
Within the Father's grace:
A journey from these vales of sin
To wonder and to praise.

     Lord, take my hand and walk with me,
     My Guide and fellow Trav'ler be;
     Oh, let Your mighty mercy lead,
     And on this journey, walk with me.

My faithful Shepherd watches me
Upon life's winding trail;
His rod and staff, they comfort me;
His love shall never fail!


As Christ and his disciples walked
The roads of Galilee,
May I too listen and be taught
As Christ walks forth with me.


Amid the triumph of my King
I follow where He goes;
Yes, further up and further in,
To new creation's hope!


One day in glory I will see
The Lord who walks with me,
And we'll forever journey forth
Beside the crystal sea!


Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Photo of the Week

Lord, when our offerings we present before Thy gracious throne,
We but return what Thou hast lent, and give Thee of Thine own.
The earth with all its wealth is Thine, the heavens with all their host;
Why should we then in want repine, or in abundance boast?

- from #208 of the Augustine Hymn Book, 19th century

Monday, September 23, 2019

Quote of the Week

"None can love freedom heartily but good men: the rest love not freedom, but license." 

- John Milton

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Saturday Synaxis

Come to our poor nature's night, with Thy blessed inward light,
Holy Ghost the Infinite, Comforter Divine.
We are sinful; cleanse us, Lord: sick and faint; Thy strength afford:
Lost, until by Thee restored, Comforter Divine.

- from #498 of the Augustine Hymn Book, 19th century

Friday, September 20, 2019

Hymn of the Week: To All Things There's a Season

This new hymn is based loosely on several passages in the book of Ecclesiastes, which our church's prayer-meeting group just completed a long study in. I've set it to the traditional Celtic tune "Wild Mountain Thyme," with an extra bridge-chorus that is my own addition.

To All Things There's a Season

To all things there's a season,
Times for laughter and for tears,
Times for living and for dying,
'Mid the ever-circling years;
     Allelu, praise Him, Allelu. 

     Praise the Lord in your sorrows;
     Praise the Lord in times of joy;
     Ever let your heart sing to Him:
     Allelu, praise Him, Allelu.

In all life's changing seasons,
Times of war and times of peace,
There never is a season
When the praise of God will cease;
     Allelu, praise Him, Allelu.


     Hallelujah, praise the Lord!
     Hallelujah, praise the Lord!
     Hallelujah, praise the Lord!
     Allelu, praise Him, allelu.

So serve the Lord with gladness,
Through all the years He gives you;
When in hardship or in plenty,
Let His praises rise within you.
     Allelu, praise Him, Allelu.



Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Photo of the Week

I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God;
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation 
And arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness.

- Isaiah 61:10

Monday, September 16, 2019

Quote of the Week

"Nothing, to my way of thinking, is a better proof of a well-ordered mind than a man's ability to just stop where he is and pass some time in his own company."

- Seneca, 1st-century Roman philosopher, offering timelessly flattering encouragement to introverts everywhere

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Saturday Synaxis

O Lord, you know me.
You know when I sit and when I stand.
You have me always present in your mind.
For this, Lord, I thank you.
You know the path for my life
And what is best for me.
Lord, reveal to me the path I am to walk.
Bless me and guide me and be Lord to me,
So that whichever road I take,
I may do all for your glory.
In Jesus' name,

- "Vocation Prayer," Beech Grove Benedictine Community

Friday, September 13, 2019

Hymn of the Week: Lift Up Your Hearts!

My new hymn this week is based on the New Testament theology of the Reign of God (often translated in the Gospels as "the Kingdom of God"). The verses provide an overview of biblical teachings on God's reign in us, God's reign through us, and then the final consummation of his reign in the future. The chorus is based on some of the triumphal angelic songs of the book of Revelation. I've set it to a tune inspired by Henry Work's old patriotic "Song of a Thousand Years," but with significant modifications. As you'll hear in my recording below (and please take my apologies for my shortcomings), it rather resembles a series of trumpet flourishes, and thus it may serve better as a performance piece than a congregational hymn.

Lift Up Your Hearts!

Lift up your hearts, O saints of God!
The King's own Spirit dwells in you:
He reigns in you, enthroned in your hearts;
The Kingdom of God is within you!

     All praise, all honor, and all glory
     Be to our God forevermore,
     For He has made this world's dominions
     The Kingdom of our risen Lord!

Lift up your hearts, O saints of God!
You're called to be His kings and priests;
You sit with Christ enthroned in heaven;
His reign flows through your prayers and deeds!


Lift up your hearts, O saints of God!
That which begins shall be in full:
The Lord who reigns within and through you,
One day He shall be Lord of all!


Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Photo of the Week

Listen to me, my faithful children, 
And blossom like a flower growing by a stream of water.
Send out fragrance like incense,
And put forth blossoms like a lily.
Scatter the fragrance, and sing a hymn of praise;
Bless the Lord for all His works.

- Sirach 39:13-14 (OT Apocrypha)

Monday, September 09, 2019

Quote of the Week

"Have courage for the great sorrows of life, and patience for the small ones. And when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace. God is awake."

- Victor Hugo, 19th-century French novelist

Saturday, September 07, 2019

Saturday Synaxis

Father of mercies, send Thy grace
All-powerful from above,
To form in our obedient souls
The image of Thy love.

- from #18 in the Augustine Hymn Book, 19th century

Friday, September 06, 2019

Hymn of the Week: When in All of My Temptations

My goal this week was to write a hymn in which the chorus could be used in the old tradition of an "arrow prayer." Among the early Desert Fathers, one of their common practices when beset by tempting thoughts was to pray simple, rapid-fire prayers for deliverance. The most popular one was from the first line of Psalm 70: "Make haste, O God, to save me; be swift, O Lord, to help me." I've incorporated that verse, along with the broader tradition of Kyrie Eleison prayers ("Lord, have mercy") into this hymn's chorus. The tune I use here is a modification of the music for Elwood Stokes' old hymn "Fill Me Now" (the timing is altered in the verses and final chorus line, while the initial chorus line has been rewritten altogether). 

When in All of My Temptations (Lord, Have Mercy)

When in all of my temptations,
I don't know where I should go;
When I cannot stand in my strength,
I turn unto you, O Lord.

     Lord, have mercy! Lord, have mercy!
     Lord have mercy on me!
     Lord, make haste to help and save me;
     Lord, pour mercy out on me!

When my heart is weighed with sorrow;
When my eyes are dim with grief--
I look to my Rock, my Refuge;
In my Savior there is peace.


When the darts of Satan strike me,
Sin surrounds me like a sea,
Then I run for my salvation
To the Lamb of Calvary.


Tuesday, September 03, 2019

Photo of the Week

Come away to the skies:
My beloved, arise!--
And God's rapturous praises repeat:
To the Lamb that was slain,
Hallelujah again!--
Sing, all heaven, and fall at His feet!

- Adapted from vv. 1 & 5 of Charles Wesley's hymn "Come Away to the Skies"

Monday, September 02, 2019

Quote of the Week

"As God is love and joy and peace and kindness and goodness, so too the new man may become by grace."

- Macarius the Great, a desert father of the early church, from his Fifty Spiritual Homilies