Sunday, November 29, 2015

The Second Sunday of Advent (C), December 6, 2015 - Luke 3:1-6

All Flesh Shall See the Salvation of God

All flesh shall see the salvation of God,

And not just the rulers, the well off and proud,

Not just the ones who live in the right places,

Who get lots of press and are known by their faces,

Not just the people who rule in the tabloids,

Or out on the field, with their skill or their steroids,

But you! With your wrongs, and the things you've not righted,

Will think again, seeing that God is delighted

To break every barrier that keeps separated

The people for whom Love, these long years, has waited.

Scott L. Barton

In the fifteenth year of the reign of Emperor Tiberius, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was ruler of Galilee, and his brother Philip ruler of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias ruler of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. He went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah, “The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’”

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The First Sunday of Advent (C), November 29, 2015 - Luke 21:25-36

We Would Ever Be More Faithful
PICARDY                      French Carol

1. Let all mortal flesh keep silence,
As we grieve and mourn this day,
Gasping in the face of violence,
Lives and trust all torn away;
We would ever be more faithful,
Seeking peace from you, we pray.

2. Bombings that sow dread and terror,
Making tears for those who are lost,
Have the power to lead us to error,
Tolerance for others the cost;
We would ever be more faithful,
Never sunk, although we be tossed.

3. In the midst of fear and foreboding,
Christ, your way still lives herein,
Keep the love we've known from eroding,
Reign o'er us, and draw us in;
We would ever be more faithful,
Loving all, again, we begin.

Scott L. Barton

This hymn was written in the wake of recent bombings in Paris, Baghdad and Beirut and would be suitable for congregational singing on November 22 or 29, or at any other appropriate time. The motto of Paris, "Elle est agitée par les vagues, et ne sombre pas,” essentially means, “Tossed, but not sunk.” Permission given for congregational use. The author would appreciate knowing where it is used at SCOTT.L.BARTON@GMAIL.COM. Click on the image above for a bulletin-ready copy.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Bonus Poem: Delusions of Grandeur (Donald Trump, Starbucks and Merry Christmas)

(Note: for the lectionary poem for November 22, please page down to the next poem.)

"If I become President, we're all going to be saying 'Merry Christmas' again. That I can tell you. That I can tell you!"  -Donald Trump

Delusions of Grandeur

"The Donald" thinks that he could change
The greetings that we all exchange;
He thinks if he'd be President
That he could change the precedent
Back to the way it was before!
Delusions from this clown's lips pour;
Just like The Queen, with dread who said,
Those nightmare words, "Off with her head."

Scott L. Barton

Friday, November 13, 2015

Christ the King (B), November 22, 2015 - John 18:33-37

 Christ the King statue, Świebodzin, Poland
"Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”

I think it's funny that
it's not the other way around:
That all who listen to his voice
belong to truth, would sound
Religious! Yet, he still confounds
what we expect to hear;
The truth is that it's all a gift,
and everyone is dear;
Those living thus, will love as much -
he could not be more clear!

Still, list'ning to this king is
never easy - any year!

Scott L. Barton

Then Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?” Pilate replied, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.” Pilate asked him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”

Monday, November 9, 2015

Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (B), November 15, 2015 - 1 Samuel 1:4-20 and 1 Samuel 2:1-10

Marc Chagall: Hannah (c. 1956)
Hannah's Hymn

Tune: St. Catherine (Faith of Our Fathers; Jesus, Thy Boundless Love to Me)
[Note: The following could also be read as a poem without singing, in which case the refrain at the end of each stanza can be removed.]

Hannah could never know some day
Her prayer would be the model for
Another pray-er who magnified
The Lord, rejoicing in whom she bore.
Faith of our mothers, fathers, too,
Teach us God's love makes all things new.

But Hannah knew how Elkanah
Forsook her not, nor cast aside,
And as a spendthrift, even more,
On Hannah, lavished love with pride.
Faith of our mothers, fathers, too,
Teach us God's love makes all things new.

Letting loose doubt the Lord provides,
Pouring out faith set Hannah free,
By love and prayer her wish bore fruit,
And what she asked for, came to be.
Faith of our mothers, fathers, too,
Teach us God's love makes all things new.

"There is no Holy One like the LORD,"
Thus Hannah prayed, exulting that day;
Girding the feeble and thwarting the proud,
Love for the world will find a way!
Faith of our mothers, fathers, too,
Teach us God's love makes all things new.

Scott L. Barton

On the day when Elkanah sacrificed, he would give portions to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters; but to Hannah he gave a double portion, because he loved her, though the LORD had closed her womb. Her rival used to provoke her severely, to irritate her, because the LORD had closed her womb. So it went on year by year; as often as she went up to the house of the LORD, she used to provoke her. Therefore Hannah wept and would not eat. Her husband Elkanah said to her, “Hannah, why do you weep? Why do you not eat? Why is your heart sad? Am I not more to you than ten sons?”

After they had eaten and drunk at Shiloh, Hannah rose and presented herself before the LORD. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat beside the doorpost of the temple of the LORD. She was deeply distressed and prayed to the LORD, and wept bitterly. She made this vow: “O LORD of hosts, if only you will look on the misery of your servant, and remember me, and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a male child, then I will set him before you as a nazirite until the day of his death. He shall drink neither wine nor intoxicants, and no razor shall touch his head.”

As she continued praying before the LORD, Eli observed her mouth. Hannah was praying silently; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard; therefore Eli thought she was drunk. So Eli said to her, “How long will you make a drunken spectacle of yourself? Put away your wine.” But Hannah answered, “No, my lord, I am a woman deeply troubled; I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the LORD. Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation all this time.” Then Eli answered, “Go in peace; the God of Israel grant the petition you have made to him.” And she said, “Let your servant find favor in your sight.” Then the woman went to her quarters, ate and drank with her husband, and her countenance was sad no longer.

They rose early in the morning and worshiped before the LORD; then they went back to their house at Ramah. Elkanah knew his wife Hannah, and the LORD remembered her. In due time Hannah conceived and bore a son. She named him Samuel, for she said, “I have asked him of the LORD.”

Hannah prayed and said,
“My heart exults in the LORD;
my strength is exalted in my God.
My mouth derides my enemies,
because I rejoice in my victory.

“There is no Holy One like the LORD,
no one besides you;
there is no Rock like our God.
Talk no more so very proudly,
let not arrogance come from your mouth;
for the LORD is a God of knowledge,
and by him actions are weighed.
The bows of the mighty are broken,
but the feeble gird on strength.
Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread,
but those who were hungry are fat with spoil.
The barren has borne seven,
but she who has many children is forlorn.
The LORD kills and brings to life;
he brings down to Sheol and raises up.
The LORD makes poor and makes rich;
he brings low, he also exalts.
He raises up the poor from the dust;
he lifts the needy from the ash heap,
to make them sit with princes and inherit a seat of honor.
For the pillars of the earth are the LORD's,
and on them he has set the world.

“He will guard the feet of his faithful ones,
but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness;
for not by might does one prevail.
The LORD! His adversaries shall be shattered;
the Most High will thunder in heaven.
The LORD will judge the ends of the earth;
he will give strength to his king,
and exalt the power of his anointed.”