Art, Poetry, Music, and Nature for the New Year
Sunday, January 31 2021

The Reverend Dr. Katie Snipes Lancaster

Word
Love is not rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing but rejoices in the truth. 1 Corinthians 13:5–6

Music

Here I am Lord, by Dan Schutte

Here I am Lord is sung at times of commitment—confirmation, commissioning, ordination, special blessings. It recalls the biblical story of Samuel, who, after going to bed, hears his name called. He thinks it is Elijah in the room down the hall and goes to check. Nope it wasn’t him. Back in bed he hears his name called again. Really? Was Elijah playing a trick on him? Nope it still wasn’t him. Wisely Elijah wonders if God is calling to Samuel. He has Samuel go back to bed, and this time, respond as if to God. Sure enough when he hears his name called a third time, Samuel responds “Speak for your servant is listening.” This “calling in the night” is another example of the ways God slips into our lives in the dusk and darkness, calling us to live more fully into who we are to be.

I love how at the beginning of this story about Samuel, the narrator says, “In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions” as if to remind us, “It’s okay if God doesn’t show up to you in this kind of over-the-top, remarkable way. God’s presence comes in gentle, quiet ways as well as middle-of-the-night shouts and murmurs.”

This virtual choir by the Chang and Alcantara families was such a gift to us in April 2020 when uncertainty and the intensity of troubled times came rushing in. As composer Daniel Schutte says, “Some people find that music helps them to pray. You might use a piece of music to help quiet your soul and focus your mind and heart.” I hope this hymn is balm and beauty for you now, as well.

Blessing
May we sing songs O God, that voice our praise, and nourish us for the journey. Amen.

April 19 Here I Am Lord … Dan Schutte (Virtual Choir w/ Chang and Alcantara Families)

I, the Lord of sea and sky
I have heard my people cry
All who dwell in dark and sin
My hand will save
I who made the stars of night
I will make their darkness bright
Who will bear my light to them?
Whom shall I send?
Here I am, Lord
Is it I, Lord?
I have heard You calling in the night
I will go, Lord
If You lead me
I will hold Your people in my heart
I, the Lord of wind and flame
I will tend the poor and lame
I will set a feast for them
My hand will save
Finest bread I will provide
‘Til their hearts be satisfied
I will give my life to them
Whom shall I send?
Here I am, Lord
Is it I, Lord?
I have heard You calling in the night
I will go, Lord
If You lead me
I will hold Your people in my heart
I will hold Your people in my heart