Listening to Lent — Lead On

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Lead, kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom,
Lead thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home,–
Lead thou me on!
Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene,–one step enough for me.

O lux aeterna, lead thou me on
O lux beata, lead, kindly light, lead me on
So long thy power has blest me, sure it still
Will lead me on

I was not ever thus, nor prayed that thou
Shouldst lead me on:
I loved to choose and see my path, but now
Lead thou me on!
I loved the garish days, and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will: remember not past years.

So long thy power hath blessed me, sure it still
Will lead me on;
O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent, till
The night is gone;
And with the morn those angel faces smile
Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile.
~John Henry Newman

Lead, kindly light, amidst the grey and gloom
The night is long and I am far from home
Here in the dark, I do not ask to see
The path ahead–one step enough for me
Lead on, lead on, kindly light.

I was not ever willing to be led
I could have stayed, but I ran instead
In spite of fear, I followed my pride
My eyes could see, but my heart was blind
Lead on, lead on, kindly light.

And in the night, when I was afraid
Your feet beside my own on the way
Each stumbling step where other men have trod
shortens the road leading home to my God
Lead on, lead on,
my God, my God,
lead on, lead on, kindly light.
~Audrey Assad
inspired by Ven. John Henry Cardinal Newman’s poem of the same name

 

Waking up in a storm-tossed night,
in pitch blackness, realizing the power has gone out,
and the bedside flashlight is not where it should be~

the familiar path to bathroom and kitchen
becomes obstacle course,
full of places to trip
and stub toes
and bump heads.

Illumination for only the next step
is all I need.
A small circle of light that shows
where to safely put my foot.

You, Lord, step alongside me
You, Lord, make the dark less fearsome
You, Lord, are that safe and kindly light
that never goes out.

 

 

Listening to Lent — If You Tarry

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Come, ye sinners, poor and needy,
Weak and wounded, sick and sore;
Jesus ready stands to save you,
Full of pity, love and power.

Refrain

I will arise and go to Jesus,
He will embrace me in His arms;
In the arms of my dear Savior,
O there are ten thousand charms.

Come, ye thirsty, come, and welcome,
God’s free bounty glorify;
True belief and true repentance,
Every grace that brings you nigh.

Come, ye weary, heavy laden,
Lost and ruined by the fall;
If you tarry till you’re better,
You will never come at all.

View Him prostrate in the garden;
On the ground your Maker lies.
On the bloody tree behold Him;
Sinner, will this not suffice?

Lo! th’incarnate God ascended,
Pleads the merit of His blood:
Venture on Him, venture wholly,
Let no other trust intrude.

Let not conscience make you linger,
Not of fitness fondly dream;
All the fitness He requireth
Is to feel your need of Him.
~Joseph Hart

When we are comfortable,
well fed,
not in longing~
we are slow to respond to the call,
tending to tarry in satiety.

It is in our times of need
and soreness
and worry
that we reach out, frightened,
to find it is then
we are the most fit to be received
into His arms.

 

Listening to Lent — By and By

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Some bright morning when this life is o’er
I’ll fly away
To that home on God’s celestial shore
I’ll fly away.

Chorus:
I’ll fly away, oh Glory
I’ll fly away in the morning
When I die Hallelujah, by and by
I’ll fly away.

When the shadows of this life have gone
I’ll fly away
Like a bird from these prison walls I’ll fly
I’ll fly away.

Oh, how glad and happy when we meet
I’ll fly away
No more cold iron shackles on my feet
I’ll fly away.

Just a few more weary days and then
I’ll fly away
To a land where joys will never end
I’ll fly away.

When I die Hallelujah, by and by
I’ll fly away…
~Albert Brumley

Most of us don’t want to let go
of this familiar soil,
rocky and muddy as it is.
By and by may seem too far
but it could be today.

As I’ve watched folks die,
it is not so much flying away
but letting go of here
to be led there to that new home,
picked up and carried
to a Hallelujah by and by.

 

Listening to Lent — Church With Broken Wings

 

askriggchurch

Men of faith rise up and sing
Of the great and glorious King
You are strong when you feel weak
In your brokenness complete

Shout to the north and the south
Sing to the east and the west
Jesus is Savior to all
He’s Lord of heaven and earth

Rise up women of the truth
Stand and sing to broken hearts
Who can know the healing power
Of our awesome King of love

And shout to the north and the south
Sing to the east and the west
Jesus is Savior to all
He’s Lord of heaven and earth

And we will shout to the north and the south
Sing to the east and the west
Jesus is Savior to all
He’s Lord of heaven and earth

We’ve been through fire, we’ve been through pain
We’ve been refined by the power of Your name
We’ve fallen deeper in love with You
You’ve burned the truth on our lips

Shout to the north and the south
Sing to the east and the west
Jesus is Savior to all
He’s Lord of heaven and earth

And we will shout to the north and the south
Sing to the east and the west
Jesus is Savior to all
Yes, He’s Lord of heaven and earth

Rise up church with broken wings
Fill this place with songs again
Of our God who reigns on high
By his grace again we’ll fly

Shout to the north and the south
Sing to the east and the west
Jesus is Savior to all
He’s Lord of heaven and earth

Yeah, we will shout to the north and the south
Sing to the east and the west
Jesus is Savior to all
He’s Lord of heaven and earth

Yeah, we will shout to the north and the south
Sing to the east and the west
Jesus is Savior to all
He’s Lord of heaven and earth

Yes, He’s Lord of heaven and earth
Yes, He’s Lord of heaven and earth
Yes, He’s Lord of heaven and earth
~Robin Mark

There is much wrong with the church overall,
comprised as it is
with fallen people
with broken wings
determined to find flaws in each other
in doctrine, tradition, beliefs.

What is right with the church,
is who we sing to,why we sing,
whose body we are part of
despite our thoroughly motley messiness:
Our Lord of Heaven and Earth.

Listening to Lent — Don’t You Hear?

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Calvary, Calvary,
Calvary, Calvary,
Calvary, Calvary,
surely he died on Calvary.

Every time I think about Jesus,
every time I think about Jesus,
every time I think about Jesus,
surely he died on Calvary.

Don’t you hear the hammering?
Don’t you hear the hammering?
Don’t you hear the hammering?
Surely he died on Calvary.

Don’t you hear him calling Father?
Don’t you hear him calling Father?
Don’t you hear him calling Father?
Surely he died on Calvary.

Don’t you hear him say “It is finished?”
Don’t you hear him say “It is finished?”
Don’t you hear him say “It is finished?”
Surely he died on Calvary.

Make me trouble thinking ’bout dying,
make me trouble thinking ’bout dying,
make me trouble thinking ’bout dying,
surely he died on Calvary.

Jesus furnished my salvation.
Jesus furnished my salvation.
Jesus furnished my salvation.
Surely he died on Calvary.

Sinner, do you love my Jesus?
Sinner, do you love my Jesus?
Sinner, do you love my Jesus?
Surely he died on Calvary.

African-American Spiritual

 

“It is possible and imperative that we learn
A brave and startling truth
And when we come to it
To the day of peacemaking
When we release our fingers
From fists of hostility
And allow the pure air to cool our palms…”
~Maya Angelou

 

Christ released us
to unclench our fingers,
stop making fists,
to trust His way of making peace
through sacrifice.

Don’t I hear? Will I listen?

Listening to Lent — Love to the Loveless

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My song is love unknown, my Savior’s love to me
Love to the loveless shown, that they might lovely be
Oh, who am I that for my sake,
Oh, who am I that for my sake,
My Lord should take frail flesh and die?

He came from heaven’s throne salvation to bestow
But they refused and none the longed-for Christ would know
This is my friend, my friend indeed,
This is my friend, my friend indeed,
Who at my need, His life did spend.

Sometimes they crowd His way and His sweet praises sing
Resounding all the day, hosannas to their King
Then, “Crucify!” is all their breath,
Then, “Crucify!” is all their breath,
And for His death they thirst and cry.

Why, what has my Lord done to cause this rage and spite
He made the lame to run, and gave the blind their sight
What injuries, yet these are why,
What injuries, yet these are why,
The Lord Most High so cruelly dies.

With angry shouts they have my dear Lord done away
A murderer they save, the Prince of Life they slay
Yet willingly, He bears the shame,
Yet willingly, He bears the shame,
That through His name all might be free.

Here might I stay and sing of Him my soul adores
Never was love, dear King, never was grief like Yours
This is my friend in whose sweet praise,
This is my friend in whose sweet praise,
I, all my days would gladly spend.
~Samuel Crossman

To render the loveless lovely~
after all we have thought and said
and done and not done,
still, even so, despite all,
we are clothed anew,
our shame removed
by blood like ours
but yet not ours.

 

Listening to Lent — My Soul Revived

rosebushmarch2I heard the voice of Jesus say,

“Come unto Me and rest;

Lay down, thou weary one, lay down

Thy head upon My breast.”

I came to Jesus as I was,

Weary and worn and sad;

I found in Him a resting place,

And He has made me glad.

  1. I heard the voice of Jesus say,
    “Behold, I freely give
    The living water; thirsty one,
    Stoop down, and drink, and live.”
    I came to Jesus, and I drank
    Of that life-giving stream;
    My thirst was quenched, my soul revived,
    And now I live in Him.
  2. I heard the voice of Jesus say,
    “I am this dark world’s Light;
    Look unto Me, thy morn shall rise,
    And all thy day be bright.”
    I looked to Jesus, and I found
    In Him my Star, my Sun;
    And in that light of life I’ll walk,
    Till trav’ling days are done.
  3. I heard the voice of Jesus say,
    “My Father’s house above
    Has many mansions; I’ve a place
    Prepared for you in love.”
    I trust in Jesus—in that house,
    According to His word,
    Redeemed by grace, my soul shall live
    Forever with the Lord.
    ~Horatius Bonar

It only takes willingness to listen to hear His voice.  To be still and open and ready.

Listening to Lent — Searching Restlessly

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O Beauty ancient, O Beauty so new
Late have I loved Thee and feebly yet do.
Though you were with me, I was not with You.
Then You shone Your face and I was blind no more

Chorus:
My heart searches restlessly and finds no rest ‘till it rests in Thee.
O Seeker You sought for me, Your love has found me;
I am taken by thee.

I sought this world and chased its finer things,
Yet were these not in You, they would not have been.
My ceaseless longing hid the deeper truth,
In all my desirings, I was desiring You.

Lord, in my deafness You cried out to me.
I drew my breath and now Your fragrance I breathe
O Fount of Life, You are forever the same;
O Fire of Love, come set me aflame.
~Daniel Purkapile, “Prayer of St. Augustine”

To see when blind
to hear when deaf
to breathe when dying
to love and be loved when undeserving~

it is all possible,
it is all present,
it is ever constant,
always in Him.

 

Listening to Lent — The Great Unchangeable

rainyquince

Before the throne of God above
I have a strong and perfect plea:
A great High Priest, whose name is Love,
Who ever lives and pleads for me.

My name is graven on His hands,
My name is written on His heart;
I know that while in heaven He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart
No tongue can bid me thence depart.

When Satan tempts me to despair,
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look, and see Him there
Who made an end to all my sin.

Because the sinless Savior died,
My sinful soul is counted free;
For God the just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me
To look on Him and pardon me

Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Praise the One,
Risen Son of God!

Behold Him there, the Risen Lamb
My perfect, spotless righteousness,
The great unchangeable I am,
The King of glory and of grace!

One with Himself I cannot die
My soul is purchased by His blood
My life is hid with Christ on high,
With Christ, my Savior and my God
With Christ, my Savior and my God
~Charitie Bancroft

To know I am written there
on His hands,
His heart,
purchased,
pardoned,
understood–
He changes not
as He changes me.

Listening to Lent – Through the Gloom

sunset32314Death shall not destroy my comfort,
Christ shall guide me thro’ the gloom;
Down he’ll send some heav’nly convoy,
To escort my spirit home.

(Refrain):
Oh, hallelujah! How I Love my Savior,
Oh, hallelujah! That I Do.
Oh, Hallelujah! How I love my Savior!
Mourners, you may love him too.

Jordan’s stream shall not o’erflow me,
While my Savior’s by my side;
Canaan, Canaan lies before me!
Soon I’ll cross the swelling tide.
(Refrain)

See the happy spirits waiting,
On the banks beyond the stream!
Sweet responses still repeating,
“Jesus! Jesus!” is their theme.
(Refrain)
~American Folk Hymn

There are families in despair
just down the road apiece from us:
the uncertain earth gave way and slid far,
overcoming houses and the people within.
The missing outnumber the known dead.
The searchers struggle on quicksand;
The mourners drown
in enveloping inevitability.
There is no where to turn,
no comfort to find
but that we belong,
body and soul,
to our Savior
who came to fetch us
from the muddy flow of our lives.