What Voice?

As he was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers,
Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew,
casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen.
He said to them,
“Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
At once they left their nets and followed him.
He walked along from there and saw two other brothers,
James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John.
They were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets.
He called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father
and followed him.
He went around all of Galilee,
teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom,
and curing every disease and illness among the people.

Matthew 4:12-23
What voice could call them from the waves,
those eager fishermen,
but yours, O Christ, the voice that saves,
and make them cast again?
Not in the shallows of the sea
or in its stormy depth,
but in the crowded city streets
for souls that gasp for breath.

What words could call them from their lives,
the pattern of their days?
The living Word of God, the Christ:
For you they left their ways.
Not for a net of knotted rope
to trap their prey within,
but for your words of love and hope
they followed to the end.

What call could lure us after them,
with echoes ringing true?
O Savior, call us once again!
Draw us to folow you!
Not by the rule of iron rod
or by threat of hell,
but by the living love of God
draw us, Emmanuel!

Tissot, JamesThe calling of Peter and Andrew. – 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


We Plowed the Fields and Planted

“Who among you would say to your servant
who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field,
‘Come here immediately and take your place at table’?
Would he not rather say to him,
‘Prepare something for me to eat.
Put on your apron and wait on me while I eat and drink.
You may eat and drink when I am finished’?
Is he grateful to that servant because he did what was commanded?
So should it be with you.
When you have done all you have been commanded,
say, ‘We are unprofitable servants;
we have done what we were obliged to do.'”

Luke 17:5-10
We plowed the fields and planted;
we waited for the rains.
We did as you commanded—
O God, what have we gained

but dirt beneath our fingers
and sunburns on our backs,
an even fiercer hunger
for all the world yet lacks?

We worked on, even knowing
the harvest still could fail.
We labored through the growing—
O God, to what avail

but tenderness for seedlings,
and hope for future years,
and mercy in our weeding,
despite the weight of fears?

The seasons stretch out farther
than all our days gone past,
to threshing after harvest—
O God, when shall we rest

but when the bread is broken
and laid before the least?
God, help us in the working
and call us to the feast.
Brooklyn Museum – The Sower (Le semeur) – James Tissot – overall – Online Collection of Brooklyn Museum; Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 2006, 00.159.119_PS1.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10195964

You Send Lambs

Go on your way;

behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves.

Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals;

and greet no one along the way.

Into whatever house you enter, first say,

‘Peace to this household.’

If a peaceful person lives there,

your peace will rest on him;

but if not, it will return to you.

Luke 10:1-12, 17-20
You set us barefoot in the world
to walk along its dusty streets,
not hunters sent to slay the wolves,
but lambs sent out to bring them peace.

The sheep are safely in your fold,
but all the ark must yet be filled
so you send lambs and make them bold
to call the beasts of wood and field,

of mountain height and open air,
of darkness under stone and sea.
To all you say, The kingdom's here,
through lambs your word has taught to speak.

To shorn and unshorn all alike
give us the courage, then, to go
that clean and unclean fill the ark
and all the world your mercy know.

We must not go out clothed in gold
or carried high above the dust,
but as you came into the world:
You walked the road as one of us.

To all who walk the dusty earth
or crawl or fly or swim its miles,
O loving shepherd, send us forth,
each one your peaceful kingdom's child.
Icon of the Seventy Apostles By Ikonopisatelj – http://chattablogs.com/aionioszoe/archives/70Apostles.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3536332

Creator Spirit

When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled,

they were all in one place together.

And suddenly there came from the sky

a noise like a strong driving wind,

and it filled the entire house in which they were.

Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire,

which parted and came to rest on each one of them.

And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit

and began to speak in different tongues,

as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.

Acts 2:1-11
Creator Spirit, God's outrushing breath,
the mighty wind that stirs our little dust,
blow once again and lift us out of death.
Breathe in us still, the very air we trust.

In you we live; in you we move and are,
and yet you move in us: You fill our lungs.
You fire our minds.  You thunder in our hearts.
We breathe you out as music on our tongues.

You fill our bodies: Fill the one we make
as hands and feet of Christ sent to the field.
Come, blow in every breath his body takes.
Renew the whole, and let each part be healed.

O gift of God, come sanctify our gifts.
As we present them, may we be transformed.
Come make of us Christ's hands that upward lift;
we will become Christ's bread for all the world.  Amen.
Ingeborg Psalter 02f 1200 (cropped) Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=106666589

Staring At the Heavens

When they had gathered together they asked him,

“Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”

He answered them, “It is not for you to know the times or seasons

that the Father has established by his own authority.

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you,

and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem,

throughout Judea and Samaria,

and to the ends of the earth.”

When he had said this, as they were looking on,

he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight.

While they were looking intently at the sky as he was going,

suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them.

They said, “Men of Galilee,

why are you standing there looking at the sky?

This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven

will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven.”

Acts 1:1-11

To the tune AURELIA:

We're staring at the heavens
to see the Lord's return,
but to the earth we're given,
to serve as he has done:
Not with the wings of angels
or soul's unbodied flame,
but with th hands he made us
to labor in his name.

For Jesus came incarnate
from heaven to the earth:
like ours, his human body;
like ours, his helpless birth.
Though heaven witnessed to him,
his suffering and death,
it's here on earth we knew him
who gave us life and breath.

So let us not stand staring
and watching empty skies,
but let us go forth daring
to witness to the Christ:
our feet in faithful roving,
our hands in mercy's work,
our hearts and minds in loving
God's images on earth.
Ascension of Christ by Adriaen van Overbeke, c. 1510–1520 – https://www.christies.com/lotfinder/Lot/antwerp-school-circa-1510-1520-the-ascension-of-5790472-details.aspx, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=83155533

Peter II

You said that you would serve me,
the cleansing water poured
though I could not deserve it—
but wash me now, O Lord.

While you awaited Judas,
I laid me down and slept,
but I have heard the rooster,
and bitterly I wept.

For I have failed my tempting;
my own heart I denied,
and now my nets are empty,
though I have fished all night.

You call out from the shoreline
beyond the night of grief.
I plunge into the ocean
let it wash me clean.

You ask me if I love you;
you ask it yet again.
Three times your ask it of me,
as you foretold my sin.

And three times I have answered,
and will a thousand more
through all the years advancing:
You know I love you, Lord.
RaphaelChrist’s Charge to Peter, 1515. – Victoria and Albert Museum, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1718074

Peter I

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter,

“Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”

Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”

Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.”

He then said to Simon Peter a second time,

“Simon, son of John, do you love me?”

Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”

Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.”

Jesus said to him the third time,

“Simon, son of John, do you love me?”

Peter was distressed that Jesus had said to him a third time,

“Do you love me?” and he said to him,

“Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.”

Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.

Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger,

you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted;

but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands,

and someone else will dress you

and lead you where you do not want to go.”

He said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God.

And when he had said this, he said to him, “Follow me.”

John 21:15-19

To the tune NON DIGNUS:

O Lord, you know I love you,
though human hearts are frail.
You know how I turned from you,
when all my courage failed.

You now how I denied you;
you saw when I turned back,
but now I sit beside you—
and will you take me back?

Oh, how can you believe me?
What promise could I keep?
But somehow you receive me,
and tell me feed your sheep.

So I will be a shepherd
and all the world my field,
as I have been a fisher
for all the seas would yield.

Forever I shall follow
where you have gone before.
I am reborn from sorrow,
because you love me, Lord.
William de BrailesChrist Appears at Lake Tiberias, c. 1250. – Walters Art Museum: Home page  Info about artwork, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18850975

Christ Within the Temple

Largely drawn from today’s readings, which juxtapose Isaiah’s purification with the miraculous catch of fish:

Christ within the temple,
touch my halting tongue
with your burning ember:
Purify my song.
Send me then to sing it
where sad silence reigns,
your compassion bringing
while I sing your name.

Christ upon the waters,
bless my empty nets
for the work your Father
now before me sets.
When I go to cast them,
I may work all night;
you alone can fill them
with your mercy bright.

Christ before the table
where the sinners dine,
give the bread you're breaking
to a heart like mine.
With the strength you've given
in the living bread,
I will go to serve them,
all who must be fed.

Christ out in the desert,
from the crowd withdrawn,
let your silence bless me
when I seek my own.
May your spirit soothe me
when I take my rest,
heart and mind renewing
with your holy peace.
Painting by H. Picou, 1850s (first miracle) By Henri-Pierre Picou – http://www.culture.gouv.fr, Photographer: © Cécile Clos, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10743525

O Christ, You Send Your Servants Out

This would work for Ascension, or for the Gospel we had this Sunday for Trinity:

O Christ, you send your servants out
to baptize all the world,
to speak with holy grace and pow'r
the wonders they have heard.,
but send as well your mercy down
into my inner world
to speak into my pain and doubt
yourself, O living Word.

You send us as a living sign
of mercy and of love,
as branches spreading from the vine
they bear the ripeness of.
As in the wide world, so in mine,
O Lord, pour out your love
that I may see your face divine
and tell the world thereof.

You send your servants out to teach,
to turn the world to you
with works of wonder, pow'rs of speech,
and eyes for all that's true.
O Christ, into my heart your reach
to turn myself to you,
and at your feet I hear your preach
as you make me anew.
Drogo Sacramentary c. 850 By Unknown author – Sacramentaire de Drogon, Metz. BNF lat 9428 page 71v., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1985948