Walk With Me

You, who walked the city streets and highways,
you, whose feet were covered in their dust,
walk with me through all my twisted byways;
take with me the steps I know I must.

You had not the shelter of the foxes;
you had not the comfort of the nest:
Walk with me the roads that lead through darkness;
be for me my shelter and my rest.

Word of God, tat dwelt untouched above me,
Jesus, sinking in the mud of flesh,
walk with me and let me feel you love me.
Touch me still and fill my every breath.

You, who walked the valley of the shadow,
every step along the vale of tears,
walk with me and make this journey hallowed
through the darkened garden of my fears.

Son of God and image of the Father,
Christ Incarnate, wrapped in flesh and blood,
walk with me 'til I can walk no farther.
Bring me through your never-ending love.
By See individual images, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27127270

Turning Over

The centurion said in reply, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed.

Matthew 8:8
I am nothing made for greatness;
I will never be the first,
yet I cannot help but crave it
with a deep and piercing thirst.
Do you want this?  Can you save it?
Or is such a hunger cursed?

When you came to turn the tables,
when you upset all our scales
with your kingdom built of stables
and your throne of wood and nails,
did you come for the unable?
Did you save the heart that fails?

Show me, Lord, your turning over
where you treasure all that's least;
how you draw our dying closer,
bringing us to heaven's feast;
how you come to save the lowest
with a love that will not cease.

Teach me, then, to love my weakness
if it brings you to my side;
even so to love my seeking,
love the failures of my pride
if they draw me to your keeping,
loved as your unruly child.
Jesus and the centurion in Capernaum (Matthew 8:5), miniature, de:Codex Egberti, Trier, Stadtbibliothek, cod. 24, fol. 22r, detail Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10204508

Good Teacher

As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up,

knelt down before him, and asked him,

“Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

Jesus answered him, “Why do you call me good? 

No one is good but God alone.

You know the commandments: You shall not kill;

you shall not commit adultery;

you shall not steal;

you shall not bear false witness;

you shall not defraud;

honor your father and your mother.” 

He replied and said to him,

“Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth.”

Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him,

“You are lacking in one thing.

Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor

and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” 

At that statement his face fell,

and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

Mark 10:17-27
Good teacher, I have kept the law,
been faithful from my youth:
Shall I then enter heaven's doors
and dwell in endless truth?

Or is there something lacking yet,
some law left unfulfilled,
some measure that I have not met
in all that God has willed?

I honor all my kith and kin;
unstintingly I tithe,
but shall I ever enter in
and have eternal life?

I see no loathing in your eyes,
no judgment on your part—
No, but I feel the answ'ring fires
that kindle in my heart.

Have I been missing, all these years,
what God would have me do?
I met the standard of my fears,
but never yet met you.

Then call me on to something else—
my strength cannot avail—
and draw me closer to yourself,
though all my steps may fail.

And though I stumble on the way
as I had not before,
yet, Teacher, call me still, I pray
to seek you ever more.
If you want to be perfect (Christ and the rich young man). 2010. Canvas, oil. 85 x 120. By Andrey Mironov – Own work http://artmiro.ru/photo/religija_zhanrovaja_kartina/esli_khochesh_byt_sovershennym_kh_m_2010/4-0-728, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=33820221

Knocking

Jesus said to his disciples:

“Suppose one of you has a friend

to whom he goes at midnight and says,

‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread,

for a friend of mine has arrived at my house from a journey

and I have nothing to offer him,’

and he says in reply from within,

‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked

and my children and I are already in bed.

I cannot get up to give you anything.’

I tell you, if he does not get up to give him the loaves

because of their friendship,

he will get up to give him whatever he needs

because of his persistence.
“And I tell you, ask and you will receive;

seek and you will find;

knock and the door will be opened to you.

For everyone who asks, receives;

and the one who seeks, finds;

and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

What father  among you would hand his son a snake

when he asks for a fish?

Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg?

If you then, who are wicked,

know how to give good gifts to your children,

how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit

to those who ask him?”

Luke 11:5-13
When the knocking sounds at midnight,
and I hate to leave my bed,
may your mercy rouse me this night
when your hungry must be fed.

When I'm asked, let me be given;
when I'm sought, let me be found;
let me open high to heaven 
when the midnight knock shall sound.

For it's you who stand before me
at the doorway of my heart;
it's your voice I hear implore me,
calling me to rise and start.

And when I in turn come knocking
at the door before your throne,
Mercy, send your angels flocking
in the hands that hold me close.

Give me courage in my asking;
give me your own heart's desires,
strength for all with which you task me,
love for all from your heart's fires.

Send upon me, Lord, your Spirit;
fill my hearing and my sight.
When you call me, let me hear it
in the knocking in the night.
William Holman Hunt‘s The Importunate Neighbour (1895) depicts the beginning of the parable. – http://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/collection/pub/itemDetail?artworkID=32843, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10103482

Martha’s Bread

Jesus entered a village 

where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him.

She had a sister named Mary

who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak. 

Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said,

“Lord, do you not care

that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? 

Tell her to help me.” 

The Lord said to her in reply,

“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. 

There is need of only one thing. 

Mary has chosen the better part

and it will not be taken from her.”

Luke 10:38-42
No one complains when they're well fed,
or that the dishes wash themselves.
Though there may be a better part,
it is the stomach feeds the heart

and I feed stomachs: Come and stay
and dine before you take your way.
Though you may want me at your feet, 
do you want only words to eat?

I cannot turn mere stones to bread
or two loaves into thousands fed,
but I have hands to knead the dough
and feet to bring it ere you go.

And maybe, when the work is done,
then I can rest with you, for once.
But always, there is bread to knead
and always hungry mouths to feed.

But maybe, when the dough shall rise,
perhaps I could come to your side
and listen for a moment, Lord,
and feast myself upon upon your words.

You have your mission; I have mine
and shall, 'til all at last can dine.
I give you my bread; you give yours,
and somehow you will feed the world.
Original cover of The Joy of Cooking

As an Infant Cries For Comfort

And people were bringing children to him that he might touch them,

but the disciples rebuked them.

When Jesus saw this he became indignant and said to them,

“Let the children come to me;

do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to

such as these. 

Amen, I say to you,

whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child

will not enter it.”

Then he embraced them and blessed them,

placing his hands on them.

Matthew 10:13-16

To the tune BEACH SPRING:

As an infant cries for comfort,
trusting us for all it needs,
so we cry to you in mourning,
trusting in the God who sees.
We lift up our hands in worship, 
lift the voice in us that pleads:
Come, O Lord, and fill our spirits
with the love that holds and feeds.

As a child brings all its wanting,
fearing not to make demands,
so we bring you all our longing,
all we look for at your hands.
So we learn to call you “Father”
when you love to us descends;
we are all your sons and daughters,
and we all on you depend.

As your children, we are calling
for your mercy on us, Lord:
In our trying and our falling,
help us walk still heavenward.
Trusting all we are receiving,
for your gifts still fill the world,
may we all accept your kingdom
as your children, loving God.
Reproduction of a partially restored painting, possibly by Rembrandt, based on a biblical verse, Mark 10 13, “And they brought young children to him”. The painting was discovered by Jan Six. By Jan Six I – https://www.volkskrant.nl/cultuur-media/kunsthandelaar-jan-six-ontdekt-weer-een-nieuwe-rembrandt~b7ca0af1/#&gid=1&pid=1, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=72744225

He Will Come to You

Though all your walls have tumbled down,
and all your stones lie strewn,
yet peace can once again be found,
for he will come to you.

And though this night stretch on and on
like none you ever knew,
yet someday there will come a dawn,
for he will come to you.

Though you have fallen from the height
and broken lie, and bruised,
yet you will rise with morning's light,
for he will come to you.

And though you cannot see a way
that carves this desert through,
yet Christ will lead you into day,
for he will come to you.

Then empty streets will fill with joy,
your city built anew,
and you will lift again your voice,
for he will come to you.

And then shall earth and heaven sing—
oh, heart, you shall sing, too!—
to see the coming of the king,
for he shall come to you.
Nehemiah Views the Ruins of Jerusalem’s Walls, 1866. By Gustave Doré – Doré’s English Bible, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10717116

Cut

“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin,

it would be better for him if a great millstone

were put around his neck

and he were thrown into the sea.

If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off.

It is better for you to enter into life maimed

than with two hands to go into Gehenna,

into the unquenchable fire.

And if your foot causes you to sin, cut if off.

It is better for you to enter into life crippled

than with two feet to be thrown into Gehenna.

And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out.

Better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye

than with two eyes to be thrown into Gehenna,

where ‘their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.'”

Mark 9:38-48
I tried, I tried to cut if off,
the hand that leads to sin,
but I could not cut deep enough
that innocence to win.

I tried, O Lord, to pluck it out,
the eye that leads astray.
I tried, O Lord, but I could not
cut all my light away.

I held the knife and cut the skin
but could not strip it off—
then shall I not be welcomed in
the kingdom of your love?

Or will you take me with both hands,
imperfect as they are?
Is there a place within your lands
with mercy for my scars?

I tried to cut away the stone
that drags me to the sea,
but you must wield the knife alone
if you would rescue me—

or will the very stone cry out
the wonders you have done,
your healing of the hands I cut
within your kingdom come?
Millstone. Photo By fourthandfifteen – Millstone, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=40704169SONY DSC

Broken Bread

As Jesus passed by,

he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post.

He said to him, “Follow me.”

And he got up and followed him.

While he was at table in his house,

many tax collectors and sinners came

and sat with Jesus and his disciples.

The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples,

“Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

He heard this and said,

“Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.

Go and learn the meaning of the words,

    I desire mercy, not sacrifice.

I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”

Matthew 9:9-13
Christ, the broken bread of heaven,
dines with sinners at his side:
Flawed, impure of heart and leaven,
yet their hope is not denied.
From his table, none are driven;
in his mercy they abide.

Who are we that hear him calling?
Sinners, as the ones before.
Weak and helpless, barely crawling, 
still we see him at the door.
Reaching for him, we are falling:
He will raise us from the floor.

Not the strength of all the mighty,
not the whole world's gathered wealth,
naught restores the restores the souls we've blighted,
nurses wounded hearts to health,
'til he calls: We are invited
where the shepherd gives himself.

Not the sacrifices offered,
not the blood of countless sheep,
but the gift of Christ the shepherd
will our lives in mercy keep.
Underneath his cloak we're sheltered,
where we rest secure and sleep.

Can be sung to ST. THOMAS/TANTUM ERGO.

The Meal in the House of the Pharisee (Le repas chez le pharisien) By James Tissot – Online Collection of Brooklyn Museum; Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 2008, 00.159.120_PS2.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10195965

Journey

Jesus summoned the Twelve and gave them power and authority

over all demons and to cure diseases,

and he sent them to proclaim the Kingdom of God

and to heal the sick.

He said to them, “Take nothing for the journey,

neither walking stick, nor sack, nor food, nor money,

and let no one take a second tunic.

Luke 9:1-6
You set me on a journey,
but take all I'd prepared
and send me out with nothing
to go I-know-not-where.
Without my sure provisions
and all my careful plans,
I go about my mission
with only empty hands.

I meant to scale the mountains
but had no rod or staff,
to sail the ocean's fountains,
but had no mast or raft,
so when I fell, I shattered,
and when I sank, I drowned,
and all my dreams were scattered
as ashes on the ground.

What is it, then, you've asked me?
(No money in my sack.)
With what, then, have you tasked me?
(No tunic for my back.)
There's nothing I can give you,
no glories for your name.
I am not worthy of you:
This is my constant shame.

But still your journey beckons,
and, sandal-less, I go
with nothing I had reckoned,
by roads I do not know.
You do not ask for wonders,
but only that I walk.
Then barefoot, let me blunder
along the road you've marked.
The Calling of Matthew by Vittore Carpaccio, 1502 – Web Gallery of Art:   Image  Info about artwork, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9770918