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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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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Moses’ veil


Two treks up the high mountainside for God:
First climb with light pack, heart open to awe
The great man of God ached, yearned and saw God,
And watched God’s finger carve on stone the Law.

 
But the people, Ah! his people, they turned to gold,
Loving it, their greedy false self they fed:
when their prophet returned, he saw they had sold
their souls, and gold had mutely turned to lead.

 
Moses broke the stones, climbed the breathy track,
This time took care with God the work to share:
In anger and in love he wrote the second plaque,
And held God’s heart in God’s shekinah glare.

 
One thing of Moses’ veil is worth to know:
Light that comes from inside has the brightest glow.

 

– Exodus 34:1-35