Tag Archives: protection

By mighty powers carefully protected

In memory of my dear friend, Maria Friederika Dunnagan (1921-2014).

By mighty powers carefully protected
we calmly wait and trust: let come what may.
God is with us, to him we are connected
mornings and nights and surely each new day.

The past still comes to torture our poor heart
the weight of evil days will not depart.
O Lord, please show our frightened souls the place
where we may learn of your redeeming grace.

By friendly powers silently surrounded
consoled and cared for in a wondrous way.
So will I live with you, when days are counted
into a New Year walk with you, I pray.

When now deep silence comes and does surround us
so let us hear the concert clear and strong.
From your great world, unseen, yet still around us
with all your children praising you in song.

–Words: translated by Maria Friederika Dunnagan, after Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945)
–Music: INTERCESSOR (by Charles Hubert Hastings Parry, 1848-1918)


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Lord, thou hast searched me

Lord, thou hast searched me and dost know
where’er I rest, where’er I go;
thou knowest all that I have planned,
and all my ways are in thy hand.

My words from thee I cannot hide;
I feel thy power on every side;
oh, wondrous knowledge, awful might,
unfathomed depth, unmeasured height!

Where can I go apart from thee,
or whither from thy presence flee?
In heaven? It is thy dwelling fair;
in death’s abode? Lo, thou art there.

If I the wings of morning take,
and far away my dwelling make,
the hand that leadeth me is thine,
and my support thy power divine.

If deepest darkness cover me,
the darkness hideth not from thee;
to thee both night and day are bright,
the darkness shineth as the light.

–Words: The Psalter Hymnal, 1927; paraphrase of Psalm 139:1-12
–Music: TENDER THOUGHT, from Kentucky Harmony, 1816

From the album Appalachian Sketches:

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Lenten Reflection – Day 33

Over the last few days, I have been attending an Episcopal conference called “Reclaiming the Gospel of Peace” in Oklahoma City. To get to Oklahoma City, we drove from Kentucky through Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, and into Oklahoma. The drive was mostly beautiful. However, upon entering Kansas, we began to see signs for zones that had been burned…though not sure why. I believe it is called “range burning.” This was heavily prevalent in an area called Flint Hills. We drove through miles and miles here and there of grassland that had been burned. This continued through most of Kansas south of Wichita on I-35. And then, upon entering Oklahoma, we began to see lots of drilling machines…I’m assuming drilling for oil? I started to think about the fracking that I have heard has been going on in this region, and about the rise in earthquakes that have been attributed to this fact.

And I couldn’t help but think about the words of Isaiah:

The earth dries up and withers,
   the world languishes and withers;
   the heavens languish together with the earth.
The earth lies polluted
   under its inhabitants;
for they have transgressed laws,
   violated the statutes,
   broken the everlasting covenant.
Therefore a curse devours the earth,
   and its inhabitants suffer for their guilt;
therefore the inhabitants of the earth dwindled,
   and few people are left.
The wine dries up,
   the vine languishes,
   all the merry-hearted sigh.
The mirth of the timbrels is stilled,
   the noise of the jubilant has ceased,
   the mirth of the lyre is stilled.
No longer do they drink wine with singing;
   strong drink is bitter to those who drink it.
The city of chaos is broken down,
   every house is shut up so that no one can enter.
There is an outcry in the streets for lack of wine;
   all joy has reached its eventide;
   the gladness of the earth is banished.
Desolation is left in the city,
   the gates are battered into ruins.
For thus it shall be on the earth
   and among the nations,
as when an olive tree is beaten,
   as at the gleaning when the grape harvest is ended.

  –Isaiah 24:4-13

It is my prayer that in following Christ our eyes our opened to the damage we inflict on our land. As I have spent these last few days visiting these regions once inhabited by throngs of Native Americans, whose culture embraced the protection and stewardship of the land, I can’t help but wonder how our current society might learn to do the same. How can we learn to be faithful stewards of God’s sacred creation? How can we make our world a more beautiful place for our children? May God be with us as we encounter more numerous challenges that result from our abuse of this wondrous planet.

Burnt grasslands in Kansas.

Burnt grasslands in Kansas.

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Lenten Reflection – Day 27

In the last few weeks, there have been news stories about churches who are trying to lure people into their fold by offering guns to those who attend retreats or worship services. When I first heard of this, I was shocked. It is utterly shocking at how blatantly against the example of Jesus such a gesture is. Jesus embodied non-violence. Jesus embodied turning the other cheek…it got him killed. Jesus embodied peace. The fact that a church would turn the goal of increasing membership, or in their eyes “winning souls for Christ,” no doubt, turns the message of Christ upside down and spits in the face of the example of Christ’s life.

I am a Christian who believes that a life of humility, service, and sacrifice is what God calls us to in Jesus Christ. Not a life of superiority, aggression, and paranoia. That is what these churches are perpetuating…a life of “shut your mouth and defend yourself” instead of a life of “turn the other cheek, listen, and speak.”

May the God of love in Jesus Christ with the Holy Spirit guide us into all truth. Lord, have mercy!

Here is one such article about this on Sojourners.net.

“The Deserter” by Boardman Robinson (1916)

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For the safety of children…

Be vigilant witnesses and make sure that we are not going to stop until….the Consumer Product Safety Commission can regulate guns. It is the only unregulated consumer product, and it kills 30,000 people a year. We regulate toy guns and teddy bears, and we don’t regulate guns that kill thousands each year.

The above is an excerpt from a moving sermon given at Washington National Cathedral by Marian Wright Edelman, president and founder of the Children’s Defense Fund. She reflects on the words of Jesus in Luke 18, and imagines a nation where we care more about the safety and future of our children than our own obsession with guns and violence.

Click here to watch the sermon.

Click here to watch the entire service.

Marian concludes her sermon with this prayer:

O God, help us to prevent and transform our nation where small children suffer from hunger, quite legally. O God, forgive and help us transform our rich and powerful nation, where toddlers and school children die from guns sold quite legally, and often illegally. O God, forgive us, and help us transform our rich and powerful nation that lets children be the poorest group of citizens quite legally. O God, forgive and help us transform our rich nation, that lets the rich continue to get more at the expense of the poor, quite legally. O God, forgive and help us transform our rich and powerful nation, which thinks security rests in and missiles and bombs rather than in mothers and in babies. O God, forgive and help us transform our rich nation for not giving you sufficient thanks by giving to others their daily bread. O God, help us never to confuse what is quite legal with what is just and right in your sight.

Marian Wright Edelman

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How firm a foundation

How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
is laid for your faith in his excellent word!
What more can he say than to you he hath said,
to you that for refuge to Jesus have fled?

“Fear not, I am with thee; O be not dismayed!
For I am thy God, and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.

“When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
the rivers of woe shall not thee overflow;
for I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
and sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

“When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
my grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply;
the flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.

“The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose,
I will not, I will not desert to its foes;
that soul, though all hell shall endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no, never, no, never forsake.”

Words: Selection of Hymns from the Best Authors, 1787, by John Rippon
Tune: Foundation

–From the album How Firm a Foundation by Steve & Danny Thompson.

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Eternal Father, strong to save

Eternal Father, strong to save,
whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
who bidd’st the mighty ocean deep
its own appointed limits keep:
O hear us when we cry to thee
for those in peril on the sea.

O Christ, whose voice the waters heard
and hushed their raging at thy word,
who walkedst on the foaming deep,
and calm amid the storm didst sleep;
O hear us when we cry to thee
for those in peril on the sea.

Most Holy Spirit, who didst brood
upon the chaos dark and rude,
and bid its angry tumult cease,
and give, for wild confusion, peace:
O hear us when we cry to thee
for those in peril on the sea.

O Trinity of love and power,
our brethren shield in danger’s hour;
from rock and tempest, fire and foe,
protect them wheresoe’er they go;
thus evermore shall rise to thee
glad hymns of praise from land and sea.

Words: William Whiting, 1860; as revised in Hymns Ancient and Modern, 1861;
Tune: Melita

From the album Favourite Hymns from Westminster Abbey, sung by the Westminster Abbey Choir.

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