Love Supreme

O Love Supreme,
our foundation and our irritation,
our comfort and our chastisement:

The earth quakes with the marching of racism
(in every generation, new boots carry the same hatred)
but we who know Love Supreme will not be shaken.

The air blisters and scorches with words of hatred
(old words, dusty words, dead words to spark torches)
but we who know Love Supreme will not give up life’s zeal.

The demons burn with the consuming madness of fear
(delusions of supremacy, rationalized and normalized)
but we who know Love Supreme will not be afraid.

The waters rage and teem with threats of war
(vanity & selfishness multiplied by megaphone & weaponry)
but we who know Love Supreme will not surrender peace.

O Love Supreme,
our strength and our humility,
our direction and our deliverance:

Let the peace of your lips
be the confession of our hearts
and the fierce joy of our lives so that no one
is threatened or isolated by the accomplices of evil.

Let the glory of your name
be the rebuke of every prejudice
and the mercy of every hand so that no one
is degraded or violated by the mechanisms of sin.

Let the promise of your word
be the measure of your faithfulness
and the tattletale against death so that no one
suffers in this world without your attention and relief.

O Love Supreme,
our defiance and our determination,
our broken and tortured and resurrected one:

We seek your healing love for Charlottesville.
We seek your unfailing love for those afflicted by bigotry.
We seek your abiding love for the mourning.
We seek your convicting love for the rich and powerful.
We seek your redeeming love for the Church.
We seek your impatient love for white folks.
We seek your supreme love and your transformative presence
always always always.

O Love Supreme,
our hope and our dance,
our sass and our satisfaction. Amen.

“Love Supreme” as an honorific for God
is borrowed 
directly from John Coltrane’s
album A Love Supreme, which I commend
for your spirit’s comfort & groundedness.

Cross-posted at RevGalBlogPals

Summer Music: Soulrocker

MFS.Soulrocker.R04.submittedThe album of my summer is most definitely SOULROCKER, the new release from Michael Franti & Spearhead, the globally-conscious, awareness-provoking, justice-crying, love-believing artist & band that have been the creative soundtrack of the Gospel for me since I was first introduced to their music during seminary.

“Soulrocker,” as the album jacket defines it, is “one who lives from the heart, with compassion for all, and possesses a tenacious enthusiasm for music, live and the planet.” The album has all of the great Franti/Spearhead hallmarks of “soulrocker” spirit: a woke examination of injustice in its many forms & places, a determined love for all life & creation, a knack for singing right to the heart of things, and an infectious spirit that cannot be kept from dancing.

Longtime fans of Michael Franti will find delightful hints of previous albums and tracks hidden throughout SOULROCKER: references to rude boys, a new take on “I Got Love For Ya” (All Rebel Rockers 2008), and — at least to my ear — echoes from the rhythmic track of “I Wish That I Could Be You” (Love Kamikaze 2005) undergirding “Do You Feel The Way That I Do?”

SOULROCKER is a pick-me-up album:

“Shine your light until the break of dawn,
and shine your light if you’re all alone.”

It’s a fall-in-love album:

“There’s not a worry in the world
when I’m rollin’ with you girl.”

It’s a standing-in-the-need-of-prayer album:

“There’s a part of me that always
needs to pray; there’s a part of me
that wants to run away.”

It’s a lament-the-world album:

“I’m hearing all the time about another Brother
leaving life far before his time.”

It’s a change-the-world album:

“Could you ever give more today?
Or could you give a little
to help love find a way?”

It’s also, with the surprising but artfully-infused addition of techno, a dance album, quite likely to inspire hip-swaying and hand-raising whether in the kitchen or the car or the club.

From start to finish, SOULROCKER is an album that grounds and uplifts my spirit as Franti is always able to do, for which I’m especially grateful this summer. I commend it highly for your summer too — or winter or spring, or vacation or workday. Check it out!

Lent 12

If I am but a drop of water cascading from a mountain and reflecting the rainbow of your beauty, I am delighted and deeply satisfied.

Photo by r.g.h.

Photo by r.g.h.

If I am but a leaf that has served its time and has nothing left to do but drift & fall on the gentleness of your winds, I am glad and grateful.

Photo by F.J.

Photo by F.J.

If I am but one step along the journey, unable to see beginning or end but only to greet travelers for this one moment, I am humbled and joyful.

Photo by R.G.H.

Photo by r.g.h.

If I am but one note in your eternal song, O God, singing my slip of a grace note while celestial bodies trumpet their chorus, I am thrilled and at peace.

Photo by F.J.

on Psalm 95:1

Coventry

Lully, lullay, thou little tiny child
bye bye we say this day.
Lully, lullay, thou little tiny child
bye bye along your way.

O brothers, all, see how death falls;
let anger be displayed,
and to this child wrapped in a shawl
sing you lully lullay.

Dear sisters, too, might we undo
the violence and dismay
for peace and love to yet break through?
Bye bye lully lullay.

Herod in rage across the age
steals life as though from prey;
his love of pow’r becomes a plague
and God he thus betrays.

Woe to the child and woe to we;
raise our lament today.
May Christ preserve our spirits free,
bye bye lully lullay.

Based on the Coventry Carol and Matthew 2:16. The Coventry Carol came from a series of medieval plays that brought bible stories to life — in this case, the story of the Slaughter of the Innocents. In the play, mothers of the children murdered at Herod’s command sang a last lullaby to their children.

Day Song

The sun rises as the day’s ostinato.

The juncos interject
their staccato.

The clouds soar in descant,
whistling from the west.

The fox barks out a tempo,
the squirrel chatters out of time.

Melting snow pings out its melody
along the roof and down the rainspout.

A few lingering dry leaves rustle their counterpoint.

The Christmas rose lifts its face
to greet the strain.

And the river
murmurs.

Each day the song
is the same. Each day
the song is brand new forever.

Glory be to God.

on Psalm 96:1