As I continue through stacks of papers in my files and keepsake boxes, occasionally I happen upon a hidden–or, as in this case, forgotten, gem.
In 2002, while I was serving as a minister-in-residence at Central Christian Church in Lexington, KY, the music director, Michael Rintamaa, approached me with a project: writing some new, advent-appropriate lyrics for beloved Christmas hymns. It was a fun challenge, and I enjoyed being able to connect my love of writing to my love of music to my fascination with the way that liturgy tells the story of how the early church read the Hebrew Scriptures.
Two of the songs for which I wrote lyrics were performed in worship that year. Michael burned a copy for me of one of the songs, “Our Prophets Tell.” I uploaded it to YouTube. I’m sure there are a couple of places where the phrasing is a bit stilted, but this was a really important step in my continued development of my theological vision and poetic voice. It’s also important to note that no writer works in a vacuum–we all stand on the folks who were our influences and our advocates, so I’m grateful that Michael gave me this opportunity and that the whole congregation was open to singing it, at least once.
Feel free to click on the embedded video above to give it a listen. Of course, my church nerd friends who strictly adhere to the liturgical calendar are probably appalled to see this posted in late August….so they can wait a few months to listen.
The lyrics are below:
Our prophets tell of mercy deep:
that love might walk among us;
from desert air to towns laid bare
they speak of God’s great promise
Peace, peace shall fill the earth
Our prophets sing a new reign’s birth.
Wake, wake and join the song
that meets the new dawn’s breaking
A way made straight where we might tread
Cold tears turned into laughter;
that words of grace might soon replace
harsh words of war and disaster
A branch that blooms to fill the world
with love and peace and justice;
A prophet’s song for which we long–
God’s love soon walks among us!
If by chance, you’d like to perform this hymn, please do ask my permission, give me credit when you do so, and let me know how it is received!