It has been my privilege over recent days to have prepared the liturgies for the various worship services held this week at Whitley College’s School of Ministry. I included two songs from Kim Fabricius’s collection of hymns published in Paddling by the Shore. People seemed to really appreciate these songs, a testimony I am pleased to hear. My own enthusiasm for Kim’s book is noted on its back cover:
The songs gathered here stink. They stink of theology cultivated by the best of the Catholic tradition and sensitive to the hazards of congregational worship. They stink of the holy wit of an indecorous soul set loose. And, most wonderfully, they stink of divinity unashamedly immersed in the blunt realities of being human in the world and delighting in life familiar with, but unconstrained by, death. They also should be sung, loudly and lots.
A number of folk asked me for a copy of the words for the two songs we sang from this collection. So, for them and for any others that may be interested, here they are:
‘Out of nothing God created’. Tune: Blaenwern – 87 87
Out of nothing God created
all the somethings that exist;
from a Bang the world inflated,
light-years later earth he kissed.
Starting with the smallest microbe,
moving from the sea to land,
life evolved around the new globe,
gently pushed by God’s good hand.
‘Go!’ said God, and animated,
species spread by law and chance;
Spirit fashioned and related
each to all in sacred dance.
All that breathes is love’s location,
not just humans in their pride;
by selection and mutation,
ask the beasts how God can guide.
Now creation groans and shudders,
plundered, poisoned, colonized
by a beastly little brother,
self-styled as the one who’s wise.
Will the sparrows finally perish,
though God clothes them and protects?
Time is short, so let us cherish
all that God will resurrect.
‘Migrant Jesus, at the border’. Words modified. Tune: Servant Song/Brother Sister Let Me Serve You.
Migrant Jesus, at the border,
refugee of fear and hate,
you’re a threat to law and order,
nightmare of the nation-state.
Child of Israel, fleeing soldiers,
from the Jordan to the Nile,
were your parents passport-holders,
were you welcomed with a smile?
Home from Egypt, Spirit-breathing,
in the towns of Galilee,
how you had the people seething
when you preached the Jubilee.
At the margins, far from center,
where you met the ostracized,
even friends weren’t keen to enter
conversations that you prized.
Ease our fears, forgive our hatred
of the other and the odd;
help us see the single-sacred:
face of stranger – face of God.
Migrant Jesus, at the border –
Manus Island or Nauru –
Greetings, sister! Welcome, brother!
Make this place your promised land.