Hymn for the Feast of the Stigmata


I wrote this hymn for the Stigmata (17 September) 10 years ago in 2007, and I offer it again as a resource for you.

When singing this hymn, it really suits the tune ‘Kremser’ best. If you use ‘The Ash Grove’ you need to align the number of lines of music with the number of lines of text – not difficult!

Here it is for your meditation:

When Francis our father received the stigmata,
he climbed up Averna and prayed from the heart.
With all his believing, he now is receiving
the marks on his body of being in Christ.

So first there is Moses, who on our God closes
by opening his life to the power of the law.
He follows obeying, and does what God’s saying:
the marks on his body of being in Christ.

And next there is Jesus who brightness releases.
On Carmel he’s climbing and shines in the light.
The truth that he’s revealing, with serving we’re sealing
the marks on our body of being in Christ.

So when our Saint Francis on Averna dances,
He turns to the Lord and is won by the Cross.
Obeying and seeing, and turning and freeing
the marks on his body of being in Christ.

Now we who are living find joy in thanksgiving.
We seek out a place to pause and to pray.
The love that we’re gaining is expressed with pain in
the marks on our body of being in Christ.

  • Ted Witham © 2007

***

This hymn was inspired by Moses’ experience of the glory of God when he climbed Mount Sinai. This is described in Exodus 24:12-18 set for the Old Testament reading for the Stigmata (in the Australian Third Order Manual).

 

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Now, And at the Hour of our Death


For the Feast of St Mary – at evening

(forthcoming in the Geelong Writers’ Azuria #7)

Now, and at the hour of our death // Maintenant, et à l’heure de notre mort.  

Mother Mary come to me
now, and when I die:
Mother Mary strum for me,
my death will make you cry.  

Mother Mary sing for me,
when I pass from here:
Mother Mary bring for me
new life heralded by ear.  

Mother Mary pray for me,
with loving susurrations,
Mother Mary stay with me
become God’s new creations.  

Marie Mère, approche-moi,
maintenant, en joie,
et aussi à ma dernière heure,
quand t’écoutant je meurs. 

Marie Mère chante pour moi,
en grattant doucement
les cordes d’une belle guitare
un cantique d’encouragement.  

Marie Mère c’est dur pour moi
de monter sur scène du départ :
j’ai peur de tromper la bonne voie :

de confondre l’absurdité, la Croix.  

 

The Annunciation as the Ordination of Mary

Beware the Megacorp


Behold the Megacorp! A person
without a beating heart.
He makes himself grow bigger
by ripping things apart.

He’s called a ‘legal person’,
unfettered growth his god.
He’s got the nerve to tell us
we’re the ones who’re odd!

He cuts down old-growth forests
and chips them to a pile.
He slices wood for buildings,
makes money all the while.

He cannot see the tree’s heart,
with beauty that entices.
All he sees is timber
return to him top prices.

He cannot see a mountain
is there to heal the soul:
He rips it down for profit
and yanks out all the coal.

He cannot see that hiking
down through mountain springs,
helps us thrive as humans
as we touch all living things.

He digs out all the umber dirt
to turn to brittle steel:
He points us to the deepest pit
and asks us how we feel!

He stops the earth from breathing.
He scorns if with joy we leap.
Yet his unrelenting pillage
is causing all to weep.

He says that I’m a socialist,
daft with dangerous features,
yet he’s the one destroying
our home and fellow-creatures.

So laugh with me at Megacorp:
with gold and growth he dances.
The only things that grow and grow
are called the worst of cancers.

  • Ted Witham 2017

1

Psalm 148 for Western Australia (revisited)


Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the sky!
Praise him in the heavens!
Praise him, all his angels!
Praise him, all his heavenly mob!
Praise him, O sun and moon!
Praise him, all you shiny stars!
Praise him, O Milky Way,
and you Southern Cross at the heart of the skies!
Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for he gave the command and they came into existence.
He established them so they would endure;
he issued a decree that will not be revoked.
Praise the Lord from the earth,
you orcas and all you great whales,
O fire and hail, snow and clouds,
O stormy wind that carries out his orders,
you Porongurups and all you Hamersleys,
you quandongs and all you karri trees,
10 you merinos and all you cattle,
you bungarras and you emus,
11 you elders of the Wardandi and all you Noongars,
you Aunties and all you Yamaji and desert folk,
you refugees and you fifth generation Australians,
12 you young men and young women,
you elderly, along with you children!
13 Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for his name alone is exalted;
his majesty extends over the earth and sky.
14 He has made his people victorious,
and given all his loyal followers reason to praise—
the West Australians, the people who are close to him.
Praise the Lord!

New English Translation (NET)

NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. http://netbible.com All rights reserved.

Orcas off Bremer Bay, W.A.
Orcas off Bremer Bay, W.A. Image by Dave and Fiona Harvey

Easter Night


I’m re-posting last week’s sonnet (from my site Sonnets for the Church’s Year) on the Emmaus event for this Sunday and its readings. 

***   ***   ***

There’s a special moment just before night
when grey turns brown, and ginger’s tinged red,
Forms appear like smoke against the twilight,
a side-on glimpse makes you turn your head.

In glory risen, Christ’s evanescing web,
Our sightings tangential, our love inept,
His presence felt at muted tides’ low ebb;
The Emmaus blessing gently breathed as stepped.

The bread is broken, space between fingers,
The almost presence vanishes to nil,
What cannot be. Possibility lingers…
The endless love of the universe to fill.

Light wrapped in fire and fire in rising light,
So delicately from the tomb alight.

Luke 24:13-35

andre_perreault-19
À la brunante (Twilight), André Perrault (Galerie Guylaine Fournier, Québec, Canada)

uke 24:13-35

Psalm 84 for Western Australia


How lovely is the place where you live,
O Lord who rules over all!
I desperately want to be
in the courts of the Lord’s temple.
My heart and my entire being shout for joy
to the living God.

Even the birds find a home there,
and the blue wren builds a nest,
where she can protect her young
near your altars, O Lord who rules over all,
my king and my God.
How blessed are those who live in your temple
and praise you continually!

How blessed are those who find their strength in you,
and long to travel the roads that lead to your temple!
As they pass through the Sandy Desert,
he provides a spring for them.
The rain even covers it with pools of water.
They are sustained as they travel along;
in their hearts is the highway to Zion.

O Lord, sovereign God,
hear my prayer!
Listen, O God of Jacob!
O God, take notice of our shield!
Show concern for your chosen king!

10 Certainly spending just one day in your temple courts is better
than spending a thousand elsewhere.
I would rather stand at the entrance to the temple of my God
than live in the houses of the wicked.

11 For the Lord God is our sovereign protector.
The Lord bestows favour and honor;
he withholds no good thing from those who have integrity.
12 O Lord who rules over all,
how blessed are those who trust in you!

New English Translation (NET)

NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. http://netbible.com All rights reserved.

gnamma-hole-mukinbudin
Gnamma hole, Mukinbudin, W.A. Courtesy Wheatbelttourism.com

Flowing from me – a song for Lent 3


When I leave behind the happiness I know,
called to travel tracks to only God knows where,
I feel the pain of friends and passions left behind,
and the tug of nostalgia is an ache and a snare.

Then he strikes the rock and the waters are flowing
from me, from me,
Then he strikes the rock and the waters are flowing
through me, through me.

When I walk along the desert’s rock path
called to empty my heart and travel so dry,
When the lack of consoling is a tense mystery;
for leaving the old world I want to know why.

Then he strikes the rock and the waters are flowing
from me, from me,
Then he strikes the rock and the waters are flowing
through me, through me.

When I climb the rocks, and scrabble up the scarps
and scratch my hands and tear away my skin,
I’m weak and cannot continue in the heights,
I’ve come to the end for the air is too thin.

Then he strikes the rock and the waters are flowing
from me, from me,
Then he strikes the rock and the waters are flowing
through me, through me.

When friends make me riled and stir me around,
when political gain is everyone’s aim,
I can’t comprehend how believers behave,
With no care or compassion, simply spread blame.

Then he strikes the rock and the waters are flowing
from me, from me,
Then he strikes the rock and the waters are flowing
through me, through me.

When the nights are long and the travel is hard
It seems my faith can be gone without trace
and no way forward in the dry can be found.
I’m rocked and surprised by God’s presence and grace.

Then he strikes the rock and the waters are flowing
from me, from me,
Then he strikes the rock and the waters are flowing
through me, through me.

  • Ted Witham 2017
  • Is there a song-writer who would like to collaborate with me by refining this text and setting it to music? Reply via Comments.

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