Tag Archives: heaven

Zion, at thy shining gates

Zion, at thy shining gates
Lo, the King of Glory waits,
Haste thy monarch’s pomp to greet,
Strew thy palms before his feet.

Christ, for thee their triple light,
Faith and hope and love unite;
This the beacon we display
To proclaim thine advent day.

Come and give us peace within,
Loose us from the bands of sin,
Take away the galling weight
Laid on us by Satan’s hate.

Give us grace thy yoke to wear,
Give us strength thy cross to bear,
Make us thine in deed and work,
Thine in heart and life, O Lord.

So, when thou shalt come again,
Judge of angels and of men.
We with all thy saints shall sing
Alleluias to our King!

–Words: B. H. Kennedy
–Music: 16th-century folk melody, arr. George Guest (1924-2001)

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Light’s abode, celestial Salem

Lights’ abode, celestial Salem,
vision whence true peace doth spring,
brighter than the heart can fancy,
mansion of the highest King;
O how glorious are the praises
which of thee the prophets sing!

There for ever and for ever
alleluia is outpoured;
for unending, for unbroken
is the feast-day of the Lord;
all is pure and all is holy
that within thy walls is stored.

There no cloud nor passing vapor
dims the brightness of the air;
endless noonday, glorious noonday,
from the Sun of suns is there;
there no night brings rest from labor,
for unknown are toil and care.

O how glorious and resplendent,
fragile body, shalt thou be,
when endued with heavenly beauty,
full of health, and strong, and free,
full of vigor, full of pleasure
that shall last eternally!

Now with gladness, now with courage,
bear the burden on thee laid,
that hereafter these thy labors
may with endless gifts be paid,
and in everlasting glory
thou with brightness be arrayed.

–Words: Thomas à Kempis, fifteenth century; trans. John Mason Neale, 1854
–Tune: RHUDDLAN (Welsh traditional tune)

**Recording from Trinity Episcopal Church, Seattle, Washington, on June 14, 2015


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Deck thyself, my soul, with gladness

Deck thyself, my soul, with gladness,
leave the gloomy haunts of sadness,
come into the daylight’s splendor,
there with joy thy praises render
unto him whose grace unbounded
hath this wondrous banquet founded;
high o’er all the heavens he reigneth,
yet to dwell with thee he deigneth.

Sun, who all my life dost brighten;
Light, who dost my soul enlighten;
Joy, the sweetest any knoweth;
Fount, whence all my being floweth:
at thy feet I cry, my Maker,
let me be a fit partaker
of this blessed food from heaven,
for our good, thy glory, given.

Jesus, Bread of life, I pray thee,
let me gladly here obey thee;
never to my hurt invited,
be thy love with love requited;
from this banquet let me measure,
Lord, how vast and deep its treasure;
through the gifts thou here dost give me,
as thy guest in heaven receive me.

From the German:

Schmücke dich, o liebe Seele,
Laß die dunkle Sündenhöhle,
Komm ans helle Licht gegangen,
Fange herrlich an zu prangen!
Denn der Herr, voll Heil und Gnaden,
Will dich jetzt zu Gaste laden;
Der den Himmel kann verwalten,
Will jetzt Herberg’ in dir halten.

Jesu, meines Lebens Sonne,
Jesu, mein Freud’ und Wonne,
Jesu, du mein ganz Beginnen,
Lebensquell und Licht der Sinnen,
Hier fall’ ich zu deinen Füßen;
Laß mich würdiglich genießen
Dieser deiner Himmelsspeise
Mir zum Heil und dir zum Preise!

Jesu, wahres Brot des Lebens,
Hilf, daß ich doch nicht vergebens
Oder mir vielleicht zum Schaden
Sei zu deinem Tisch geladen!
Laß mich durch dies Seelenessen
Deine Liebe recht ermessen,
Daß ich auch, wie jetzt auf Erden,
Mög’ dein Gast im Himmel werden!

Words: Johann Franck, 1645; trans. Catherine Winkworth, 1863
Tune: Schmücke dich

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Lenten Reflection – Day 31

The Gospel story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead (John 11:1-45) is a strange one, for many reasons. What I find most strange, but also most interesting, is that Jesus is told that “the one whom you love is ill.” Upon hearing this, Jesus doesn’t immediately go to Bethany to see his friend…he stays two days longer with his disciples. Upon his arrival in Bethany, he consoles his friends Martha and Mary. He goes to the tomb of Lazarus with Mary and Martha, and he, too, begins to weep. Several times, the Gospel says “he was greatly disturbed.”

This Gospel reading gives us a rare glimpse of Jesus…a one in which we see Jesus’s humanity expressed in several ways: his love for his friend, his being “greatly disturbed”, and in his consoling of his friends, showing compassion for his friends grief.

I think in this story, we are shown that it is OK to mourn the loss of friends and family whom we have lost in death. But, we are also called to hope and joy for the day when we will be reunited with them in eternal life. We are called with Jesus to mourn when we lose a loved one to death, but also we are called with Jesus to be joyful in anticipation of the day when we will all be raised from the grave, like Lazarus, and reunited with our loved ones for eternity.

Thanks be to God!


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Lenten Reflection – Day 16

Talking about the afterlife is not something people often like to do. There are no scientifically proven certainties…there is only the witness of the prophets and of the Gospels that give us a glimpse into what the afterlife might be like. This is not a topic I often think about…I try and spend more of my prayer and reflection in thinking about this life and how I might more fully engage God and the world for the better and glory of God’s sacred creation. However, in my Lenten Reflection series this year, I’ve posted a few things that ponder the afterlife (including yesterday’s post). I wanted to share this thought-provoking image I came across on Facebook the other week…this is another beautiful way of imagining what heaven might be like.


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From “God Makes the Rivers to Flow”

Just as a mother with her own life
Protects her child, her only child, from harm,
So within yourself let grow
A boundless love for all creatures.

Let your love flow outward through the universe,
To its height, its depth, its broad extent,
A limitless love, without hatred or enmity.

Then as you stand or walk,
Sit or lie down,
As long as you are awake,
Strive for this with a one-pointed mind;
Your life will bring heaven to earth.

–from God Makes the Rivers to Flow: Passages for Meditation, selected by Eknath Easwaran.

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Filed under My Favorites, Prayers from Taizé