Upon Your Rock

Based on Psalm 61, though I actually used this translation (Psalm 61 is on page 102):

Lord, set me high upon the rock,
too high for me to reach,
where overhead the vultures flock,
and jackals underneath.
Yet in the shadows here I rest;
dust devils touch me not.
An infant at a mother's breast
am I upon your rock.

I called you, and you heard my cry,
when I was lost in fear.
You came to me in dead of night
and quickly drew me near
that I might rest beside my God
and hide beneath your wings.
Now I will stay upon your rock,
your name forever sing.

Then let fear come upon me now;
let enemies draw night:
I still will pay my every vow
to you, who hears my cry.
Let death itself creep underneath
the shadow of your wing,
it will but join me here in peace
and with my spirit sing.
Two jackals standing near their lair outside a village. Coloured etching. Iconographic Collections By https://wellcomeimages.org/indexplus/obf_images/a1/0e/f2ca4a8edc8cbf210b39f4aa2080.jpgGallery: https://wellcomeimages.org/indexplus/image/V0022887.htmlWellcome Collection gallery (2018-04-06): https://wellcomecollection.org/works/w4eshqbt CC-BY-4.0, CC BY 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=36556782

The Spirit of the Lord Has Come

He came to Nazareth, where he had grown up,

and went according to his custom 

into the synagogue on the sabbath day.

He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah.

He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written:

            The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,

                        because he has anointed me 

                        to bring glad tidings to the poor.

            He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives

                        and recovery of sight to the blind,

                        to let the oppressed go free,

                        and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.

Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down,

and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him.

He said to them,

“Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”

Luke 4:14-21
The Spirit of the Lord has come
and filled the weary heart.
It whispers of what God has done,
and what has yet to start:
of captives given sweet release
and good news for the poor,
the bowed of all their burdens freed,
kingdom's open door.

The Spirit of the Lord has come,
the ancient hopes fulfilled,
to free the songs that fear struck dumb
and racing heartbeats stilled,
to take the blindfold from our eyes,
the fingers from our ears,
that we may see the morning rise,
the kingdom drawing near.

The Spirit of the Lord has come,
anointing those who hear,
who see the wonders God has done,
proclaiming God's own year.
Then let us rise up to proclaim 
and rise to meet the task
of healing in the Savior's name:
The kingdom comes at last!
Scroll By Linusorrgren – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=25875449

Recue Me

Based on Psalm 56:

Have pity on me, O my God;
have pity, God, I pray,
for evils trample on my heart
and fill my mind each day.

Relentlessly they press me, Lord,
and put my hopes to rout,
that at their feet now I have poured
more tears than I can count.

Yet though my tears are numberless,
you count them as the stars
and gather them into the flask
where you keep all our scars.

My days and nights are filled with fear:
Fill them still more with trust,
and if I cannot feel you near,
yet meet me in the dust.

Oh, come, take hold of both my hands
and fill them with your strength,
so I may fight—or merely stand—
beneath the blows that rain.

But one by one shall they turn back:
They see you here and flee,
and when you come to fill my lack,
what can they do to me?

So you will rescue me from death
and stand with me in strife.
You fill my body with your breath
here in the land of life.
David Composing the Psalms, Paris Psalter, 10th century[83] By anonymous – Paris psalter (BnF MS Grec 139), folio 1v, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=807679

No More Wine

There was a wedding at Cana in Galilee,

and the mother of Jesus was there.

Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding.

When the wine ran short,

the mother of Jesus said to him,

“They have no wine.”

And Jesus said to her,

“Woman, how does your concern affect me?

My hour has not yet come.”

His mother said to the servers,

“Do whatever he tells you.”

Now there were six stone water jars there for Jewish ceremonial washings,

each holding twenty to thirty gallons.

Jesus told them,

“Fill the jars with water.”

So they filled them to the brim.

Then he told them,

“Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter.”

So they took it. 

And when the headwaiter tasted the water that had become wine,

without knowing where it came from

— although the servers who had drawn the water knew —,

the headwaiter called the bridegroom and said to him,

“Everyone serves good wine first,

and then when people have drunk freely, an inferior one;

but you have kept the good wine until now.”

Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs at Cana in Galilee

and so revealed his glory,

and his disciples began to believe in him.

John 2:1-11
My feasting has gone sour,
for there is no more wine,
and though I know 'tis not your hour,
O Jesus, it is mine.

My jars have all run dry:
There's nothing left for you,
but if you tell me, I will try
what you would have me do.

The water of my well—
Can you accept it, Lord?
For this is all I have to fill
the jars that must be poured.

So then I bring to you
what cannot be enough:
Can even mercy now make do
with what I have, for love?

From water into wine
the distance is so great
unless it travels through the vine—
then take it, Christ, I pray!

And make what I have, yours.
(Your hands first held it fast.)
Make wine where only water pours
and bring the best out last.
Marriage at Cana by Giotto di Bondone, 14th century – Unknown source, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=94621

Silence the Demons

In their synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit;

he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth?

Have you come to destroy us?

I know who you are–the Holy One of God!” 

Jesus rebuked him and said, “Quiet!  Come out of him!”

The unclean spirit convulsed him and with a loud cry came out of him.

Mark 1:21-28
When I stand here, among the good and righteous,
and harbor things that I refuse to see,
come shine your light into my willful blindness,
and silence all the demons within me.

When I would use your name to take advantage
and praise your power for my vanity,
rebuke me, Lord, to turn my heart from danger,
and silence all the demons within me.

When I despise your image in another
and make an idol of yourself in me,
reveal the glory of our loving Father,
and silence all the demons within me.

And when I know myself the worst of sinners,
so shackled that I cannot be set free,
drive out what I cannot—O Lord, come quickly!
And silence all the demons within me.
Eleventh century fresco of the Exorcism at the Synagogue in Capernaum. By Unknown author – Scan aus: Rudolf Lehr –- Landes-Chronik Oberösterreich, Wien: Verlag Christian Brandstätter 2004 S. 79 ISBN 3-85498-331-X, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6633986

Follow Him

As he passed by the Sea of Galilee,

he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea;

they were fishermen.

Jesus said to them,

“Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

Then they left their nets and followed him.

He walked along a little farther

and saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John.

They too were in a boat mending their nets.

Then he called them.

So they left their father Zebedee in the boat

along with the hired men and followed him.

Mark 1:14-20
Come after me, now calls the Christ—
for this is he who walks our shores—
and you will seek a different prize
than any you have sought before.

The conquest of the sea in storm,
the freedom of the waves and wind,
the nets that fill 'til they are torn:
Leave these behind and follow him.

Go after him, and leave your nets;
leave all you've known upon the shore
and follow now through life and death:
He charts for you a brand-new course.

The jostle of the marketplace,
the hustle after every whim,
the vying for a name and place:
Leave these behind and follow him.

And after all is said and done,
he meets you on another shore:
You land beneath a rising sun
with nets that filled and never tore.

The sorrows of a broken world,
the wounds from every sharp-edged sin,
the hunger for a heart made pure:
Through all of these you followed him.

Now see! The nets you left behind
are filled beyond the hoping for.
And all you loved, you yet shall find
in Christ's own feast on heaven's shore.
The calling of Peter and Andrew. By James Tissot – Online Collection of Brooklyn Museum; Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 2007, 00.159.56_PS1.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10195832

Here Is the Servant of the Lord

Thus says the LORD:

Here is my servant whom I uphold,

     my chosen one with whom I am pleased,

upon whom I have put my spirit;

     he shall bring forth justice to the nations,

not crying out, not shouting,

     not making his voice heard in the street.

a bruised reed he shall not break,

     and a smoldering wick he shall not quench,

until he establishes justice on the earth;

     the coastlands will wait for his teaching.
I, the LORD, have called you for the victory of justice,

     I have grasped you by the hand;

I formed you, and set you

     as a covenant of the people,

     a light for the nations,

to open the eyes of the blind,

     to bring out prisoners from confinement,

     and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness.

Isaiah 42:1-4, 6-7
Here is the servant of the Lord,
God's chosen one who comes as king.
In victory he lifts no sword,
but everlasting peace he brings.

Instead of spears, he bears bruised reeds
and smold'ring wicks instead of flame.
Behold the army that he leads:
a vanguard of the blind and lame!

No weapon for his empty hands,
he leads the ones of little worth,
but nothing hinders their advance
until his justice fills the earth.

And as they go, they open doors:
Our dungeons empty in their wake,
and good news reaches all the poor,
as mercy's light upon them breaks.

This is the Lord's anointed one,
and shall we, too, lay down our arms
to follow God's beloved Son
into the kingdom that has come?

The covenant of God and world,
he calls us with a quiet voice
to leave our darkness and come forth
into a light where all rejoice.
By Arent de Gelder, c.1710 – http://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6893009

In This is Love

Beloved, let us love one another,

    because love is of God;

    everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God.

Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.

In this way the love of God was revealed to us:

God sent his only-begotten Son into the world

    so that we might have life through him.

In this is love:

    not that we have loved God, but that he loved us

    and sent his Son as expiation for our sins.

1 John 4:7-10
In this is love: Oh, not that I have loved,
but love itself sent love itself for me.
A jailer followed everywhere I roved,
and when I let him bind me, I was free.

In this is love: That in a wounded world
a healer came to bleed where I was cut.
Both his and mine is now my every hurt,
and mine his healing flowing in my blood.

In this is love: That what I cannot see
arrays itself in everything I can,
and when this fails at captivating me,
strips off its plumes and comes as but a man.

In this is love: That I can strike his face
and pluck his beard and trample on his name
and turn again in that same second's space,
and find that yet in love I do remain.

For this is love: This all-encompassing,
where any love I have is love for him.
Though I am bound forever in this ring,
'tis as beloved in her lover's arms.
First Epistle By Presbyter John, a monk – Codex Harleianus_5537 (minuscule 104 in the numbering Gregory-Aland), Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7984526

He Shall Be Peace

Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem!  Your light has come,

the glory of the Lord shines upon you.

See, darkness covers the earth,

and thick clouds cover the peoples;

but upon you the LORD shines,

and over you appears his glory.

Nations shall walk by your light,

and kings by your shining radiance.

Raise your eyes and look about;

they all gather and come to you:

your sons come from afar,

and your daughters in the arms of their nurses.
Then you shall be radiant at what you see,

your heart shall throb and overflow,

for the riches of the sea shall be emptied out before you,

the wealth of nations shall be brought to you.

Caravans of camels shall fill you,

dromedaries from Midian and Ephah;

all from Sheba shall come

bearing gold and frankincense,

and proclaiming the praises of the LORD.

Isaiah 60:1-6

For Epiphany:

So long the clouds have covered us;
so long they hid the light,
but dawn is breaking over us.
Come, revel in the sight!

And see: The children lost to us
have set out on the way,
the sons and daughters taken once, 
returning with the day.

The deaf'ning thunder of our wars,
our sorrow's blinding tears:
They vanish when the rising morn
has touched our eyes and ears.

And all the riches of the earth
that glitter in the dawn
cannot outshine him at his birth:
The Sun of Justice comes!

Both king and shepherd, see him rise:
All nations now behold—
oh, brighter than the morning skies!—
the comfort long foretold.

Lift up your eyes, Jerusalem,
and shine at what you see:
A shepherd comes from Bethlehem,
and, oh! He shall be peace!
Adoration of the Magi by El Greco, 1568, Museo SoumayaMexico City – Museo Soumaya Plaza Carso, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=35846297

The World We Know Is Changing

When Jesus heard that John had been arrested,

he withdrew to Galilee. 

He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum by the sea,

in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali,

that what had been said through Isaiah the prophet 

might be fulfilled:
Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali,

the way to the sea, beyond the Jordan,

Galilee of the Gentiles,

the people who sit in darkness

have seen a great light,

on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death

light has arisen.
From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say,

“Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Matthew 4:12-17
The world we know is changing;
compassion's long defeat
is shifting, rearranging
the ground beneath our feet.

Now every step's a crossroads,
and endlessly we choose
to set aside our crossloads
or bear them through the gloom.

The sky is growing dimmer,
and hope slips fast away,
but there is yet a glimmer,
a light that shows the way.

This is the night we walk in
by faith, if not by sight,
and we are made the beacons
who never can be bright.

O Christ, the sun of justice,
come strengthen our poor eyes
to see you in each other
and see your morning rise.

Come, Son of God, renewing
the ground beneath our feet.
Help us each step we're choosing
that peace and justice meet.
The Light of the World – 1853-54 By William Holman Hunt – Web Gallery of Art:   Image  Info about artwork, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6452048