Man on Fire by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
which cuts the roots
of arrogant power:
voices of promise
in the dry lands of our desire,
children of faith
from the stones of the earth;
make us ready to receive
the Spirit and the fire of love,
wild and fierce and free;
Refusing to Baptize a Son
by Rodney Jones
Twilight came and my mother-in-law
Insisting again it would mean nothing,
The ceremony and the holy water,
And happiness of friends and family,
Which was everything to an old woman.
High tide at el estero, the Pacific roared
As beer turned to wine and wine to bourbon.
Midnight, fireworks, Feliz Año Nuevo,
And us, deep in our cups, and drinking on:
Me with my immutable gringo silence,
And her parrying, “What if he should die?”
And “You don’t understand. You’re not Roman.”
What’s changed now that she’s buried?
Not nature, not my no, as dumb as yes,
Not the luck of the Spanish armada,
Or high muck I dreamed of defending:
Post-ethnic, post-religious, eclectic –
It’s like her heaven. It doesn’t exist.
Her spirit does. Stubborn. Procrustean. Loving
The palm tree’s lovely freedom from knowledge.
May my son remember his grandmother
Alive in the tropics, standing for him,
Even in these words, even if they are
The superstitions of an agnostic.
by Kirby Knowlton
In those days John the Baptist appeared in the desert of Judea announcing,“Change your hearts and lives! Here comes the reign of heaven!” He was the one of whom Isaiah the prophet spoke when he said:
The voice of one shouting in the wilderness,
“Prepare the way for the Lord;
make his paths straight.”
John wore clothes made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. He ate locusts and wild honey.
People from Jerusalem, throughout Judea, and all around the Jordan River came to him. As they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River. Many Pharisees and Sadducees came to be baptized by John. He said to them, “You pack of snakes! Who warned you to escape from the angry judgment that is coming soon? Produce fruit that shows you have changed your hearts and lives. And don’t even think about saying to yourselves, Sarah and Abraham are our parents. I tell you that God is able to raise up Sarah and Abraham’s children from these stones. The axe is already at the root of the trees. Therefore, every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be chopped down and tossed into the fire. I baptize with water those of you who have changed your hearts and lives. The One who is coming after me is stronger than I am. I’m not worthy to carry the sandals of the Coming One! That One will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire, whose winnowing-fan will clear the threshing floor. The grain will be gathered into the barn, but the chaff will be burned in unquenchable fire.”
Take me to the Water by Nina Simone
from the Melanesian Mission, adapted
Be the canoe that holds us up in the sea of life;
Be the rudder that keeps us in the unswerving road;
Be the outrigger that supports us in times of temptation.
Let your Spirit be our sail that carries us through each day.
Keep our bodies strong, so we can paddle steadfastly in the voyage of life. Amen.
The Lord’s Prayer
Most compassionate Life-giver,
may we honour and praise you:
may we work with you to establish
your new order of justice, peace and love.
Give us what we need for growth,
and help us, through forgiving others,
to accept forgiveness.
Strengthen us in the time of testing,
that we may resist all evil.
For all the tenderness,
strength and love are yours,
now and forever. Amen.
Grapevine Fires by Death Cab for Cutie
Bless to us, O Lord,
the earth beneath our feet;
bless to us, O Lord,
the path we tread:
our walk this day with the Creator,
our walk this day with the Redeemer,
our walk this day with the Spirit.
May the blessing of God – the Existing, the Living, and the Speaking,
be with us and remain with us always. Amen.