You rise to walk among us, God,
not as an angel,
unsoiled and untouchable,
but as a gardener,
hands in the soil,
feet on the ground —
and we are amazed to find you
so down to earth.
Help us to bloom.
For we know what we are,
but what we shall be
is yet to appear.
Prune us where we need pruning,
so that we may bear sweeter fruit.
We pray today for those among us
who have lost all hope of spring –
we who have stopped believing
that the drought will end,
or the war will end,
or the pain will end,
or the injustice will end,
or the fever will break,
or the depression will lift,
or the demons will let us go,
or the stone will ever roll away.
Prove us wrong again,
as you did on Easter morning.
we are the flowers of your heart;
shine on us,
that we your people
may at last become
The man stood on the mountainside
and turned to face the crowd.
Son of Man —
Child of Earth —
speak to us of God.
Whom shall God bless with warmth and sun?
On whom shall sweet rain fall?
On every one, both good and bad,
for God so loves us all.
Whom shall God curse with plague and storm,
with fire, and with flood?
I came to save, the stranger said —
It’s you that call for blood.
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in the banquet hall and night club.
Praise God for his mighty acts;
praise him according to his virtuoso sets.
Praise God with the sound of the trumpet;
praise him with the clarinet and sax.
Praise God with the hokey pokey and fox trot;
praise him with the bass and baby grand.
Praise God upon the loud cymbals;
praise him with the high hat and snare drum.
Let everything with a beat,
praise the Lord.
(in memory of Raymond “Dutch” Wolff, 1925-2016)
(‘Saxophone’, Image by schuetz-mediendesign, Public Domain via Pixabay)
The water is wide, I can’t cross over,
Nor have I wings, that I could fly.
Give me a boat that can carry two
And both will row, my Love and I.
Though seas be deep, and waters rough,
Though stormy wind and tempest wail,
We will cast off for the farther shore
And let God’s Spirit swell the sail.
I cannot see the other side;
What lies ahead is mystery.
By grace alone shall my wand’ring soul
Come safe to land across the sea.
(Painting by Peggy Anderson)
(1st verse traditional, 2nd and 3rd by Liza Knapp).
I am no healer.
God is the healer.
God sometimes heals
while I am standing by, but I
do not effect the cure.
I never know which ones
will find relief.
happens in my hands
God knows why
perhaps it is that I
am not afraid to touch
(Liza B. Knapp, 11.8.08)
(photo by Liza B. Knapp, all rights reserved)
I wrote this hymn for Cathedral in the Night, an ecumenical, outdoor ministry in Northampton, MA, where I served as seminary intern from 2011 to 2012. Each Sunday evening, Cathedral’s mixed congregation of housed and homeless people gathers together on a downtown street corner for worship, communion, and a free common meal. At Cathedral, I gained a new awareness of the presence of Christ at the Table. For we are the body of Christ, broken and divided from one another, made whole when we break bread together.
(Tune: Be Thou my Vision)
Come to the table and break bread with me;
Drink of one cup, and one body we’ll be.
Hungry for justice or hungry for bread,
Come to the table where the hungry are fed.
Come to the table, from near and afar;
No need to fear, you may come as you are.
Broken in body or broken in soul,
Come to the table and be part of the Whole.
Come to the table, let grace now be shared;
O taste and see what our host has prepared!
Empty of pocket or empty within,
Come to the table: let the banquet begin.
(Photo: Liza B. Knapp, all rights reserved)