Sunday, August 03, 2008

Our Weekend in Oberlin

Here are the lyrics to the song we sang on Sunday in Peace Community Church in Oberlin. David and I bussed to town for our first two sessions of premarital counseling with Steve and Mary. I did two solos in church today: I sang about the day when peace will come, and I sang "Give Me Jesus." Lately my mourning for the brokenness of the world has been so close to the surface that a song like the one below just undoes me; I long so painfully for "slaves set free and children fed". I've noticed that my yearning for justice, my mourning of the suffering in the world, requires a balance of personal devotion to a Jesus-person who specifically loves me and cares for my wholeness. As in, Jesus washed the disciples' feet before he defied the Empire. One day I was doing music with Tom and we were singing about laying down our weapons and being faithful and serving the world, and then we sang "Give Me Jesus", and I could put everything aside and just be broken and simple and needing just love. After working for a better world, we just need some arms to rest in. So the song "Give me Jesus" in church today was a good balance to the one below. David spoke about Ezekiel, and the dry bones of despair and death and violence and poverty in our world. He spoke about bones coming together when healing happens, when unlikely folks learn to love one another, when we find those who will walk with us. He talked about running from the tomb when the stone has been rolled back, because we can't bear the thought of resurrection; and he ended by saying that Jesus pursues us and we cannot outrun him. He sat down and the congregation shared communion. Then we sang:

When all is ended, time and troubles past, shall all be mended, sin and death outcast? In hope we sing, and hope to sing at last: Alleluia! Alleluia!

As in the night, when lightning flickers free, and gives a glimpse of distant hill and tree, each flash of good discloses what will be: Alleluia! Alleluia!

Against all hope, our weary times have known wars ended, peace declared, compassion shown, great days of freedom, tyrants overthrown: Alleluia! Alleluia!

Then do not cheat the poor, who long for bread, with dreamworlds in the sky or in the head, but sing of slaves set free, and children fed: Alleluia! Alleluia!

With earthy faith we sing a song of heaven: all life fulfilled, all loved, all wrong forgiven. Christ is our sign of hope, for Christ is risen: Alleluia! Alleluia!

With all creation, pain and anger past, evil exhausted, love supreme at last, alive in God, we'll sing an unsurpassed Alleluia! Alleluia!

Words: Brian Wren (Rachael's favorite hymnologist!!!), 1998
Music: Ralph Vaughan Williams, 1906

copyright 1989 Hope Publishing Co.

I think it is a good time for me to be getting married; it gives me a deep celebration in a world full of reasons to despair.

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