Editor's note: Is this publication late, or just a reminder? If you're like me, there's often some worship filing on your desk on Monday and Tuesday. If you're really like me, you may just now be getting around to filing Easter materials. And, thus, it is the perfect time to publish these lovely hymn texts by Rebecca Littlejohn, one for Easter and another based on the Acts 10 lectionary reading for the past Sunday. So get out some file folders and mark them up for Easter B and Easter 6B, file your materials, and add these hymn ideas. You'll thank yourself when 2012 rolls around!
In the last month or so, I have written two hymns for the tune
"Austrian Hymn". It's a lovely tune, but the words of "Glorious Things
of Thee Are Spoken" just never manage to have anything to do with the
themes of our worship services. I have not used the Easter hymn text,
but this week I just couldn't find anything I liked to go with the
story of Peter and Cornelius from Acts 10, so I made my own.
God had heard his faithful prayer.
“Send for Peter, at the seaside;
Though he now is unaware,
He will bring you words of wonder,
comfort, welcome and release.”
Doors are opening to the stranger;
Can God’s children live in peace?
Peter praying on the rooftop,
challenged by the Lord’s command,
first protested his own righteousness,
then saw Love in this demand.
All are welcomed; enter freely.
God’s own house is your domain!
What our God has named as holy,
we must never call profane.
As the words of Life were spoken,
friends and servants gathered round,
Gentiles each and every one of them;
by our barriers, all are bound.
Then God’s Spirit came upon them,
baptizing with Christ’s own power!
Visions of a common family
even now begin to flower.
crucified upon a cross.
Such a scandal, such a mystery,
God has suffered deepest loss.
When our hearts ache, souls are weary,
who the path of sorrow trod.
When the women came to grieve him,
lo, the stone was rolled away.
Tomb was empty, linens folded;
T'was the dawn of Easter Day.
In their hearts a transformation:
grief was slowly turned to joy.
Resurrection love has triumphed;
death's dread powers have been destroyed.
Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior,
present in the breaking bread,
to a world in need of servants,
sends us out and goes ahead.
"Do not fear, for I am with you,"
is the promise evermore.
"You will see me when you offer
care to strangers and feed the poor."
Rev. Rebecca Littlejohn is pastor of First Christian Church (Disciples
of Christ) in Anniston, Alabama. In her almost eight years there, she
has had the opportunity to create and lead many creative worship
services and thus gives thanks for her open-minded and flexible