Mississippi Delta Christmas

December 25, 2015

Luke 2:13-14 (NIV)

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.

MISSISSIPPI DELTA CHRISTMAS
By Jill Woodliff

‘Emmanuel’ the organ pipes blare.
‘God is love’ is in the air.
The lakes resound God’s good news
As words of praise fill the pews.
Swamps and rivers clap their hand,
In homage to God o’ our land.
Sycamores raise high their arms
As songs of joy fill the farms.
Pine needles join in the dance
As angels ‘cross their boughs do prance.

Glory to God in underground cisterns,
Glory to God in rows and furrows,
Glory to God in cumulus and cirrus,
Glory to God in tractors and harrows,
Glory to God, O Delta land.

Time, and times, and half a time
Gloria Deus rightly chime,
Glory today, Glory tomorrow,
Glory, O ancient days of sorrow,
Christ has come to save!


At Chimham’s Inn in Bethlehem

December 24, 2015

Genesis 8:1
But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded.

Darkness reigned in Palestine.
Souls were wild and fearful.
Herod ruled in Palestine
(Terrorized and tearful).

Caesar ordered through the land
Registration for each man.
David’s lineage to uphold,
Joseph walked toward the untold.

Displaced, weary, tremulous,
Mary carried Jesus mild,
In her womb an unborn child–
Holiness and tenderness.

Rachel’s tomb brought mem’ries fresh
Of Mary’s womb of fragile flesh.
Joseph sought a refuge stay
Like David asked of Barzillai.

As Noah’s ark upon the flood,
The stable rose above the press.
The animals beheld a birth
And Hope was placed in courteous creche.

Multitudes of heavenly hosts,
To David’s son, the newborn king,
“Glory to God Most High!
Peace, good will towards men!” did sing.

Star and rainbow, cov’nants new,
Heavenly portents, angels too,
Give honor, glory, blessing true,
To Him to whom all praise is due.

By Jill Woodliff

Note on the title:  In 2 Samuel 19, King David wants to reward Barzillai the Gileadite for providing the king with food while he was in exile during Absalom’s revolt. David offers to include Barzillai in his court in Jerusalem. Barzillai declines because of his great age, but sends Chimham in his stead.

On his deathbed, David instructs Solomon to show kindness to the sons of Barzillai (1 Kings 2:7).  Four centuries later, reference is made to Chimham’s lodging place in Bethlehem (Jeremiah 41:17).  It has been supposed that, considering the stationary character of Eastern institutions, it was in the stable of this inn that Jesus was born.


God’s throne

August 9, 2015

Revelation 4 (NIV)

After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and ruby. A rainbow that shone like an emerald encircled the throne. Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads. From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. In front of the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God. Also in front of the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal.

In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under its wings. Day and night they never stop saying:

“‘Holy, holy, holy
is the Lord God Almighty,’
who was, and is, and is to come.”

Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say:

“You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they were created
and have their being.”

Rainbow colors glittering,
Awe-filled elders seated ’round.
Lightning splits the atmosphere;
Rushing air completes the sound.

And the sea lies undisturbed.

Seeing creatures magnify—
Three-fold Holy! round the throne.
Overcome by glory’s weight,
Elders sing their praises prone.

Glory, honor, power, and worth
Is Yours, Creator, God of might.
By Your will we have our life.
By your word, we have this sight.


Links for Holy Saturday

April 4, 2015

Holy_Saturday

We’ve not traditionally blogged much on Holy Saturday, but here are some links to past entries and some good sites for those looking for prayers, music and devotionals.

All our Holy Saturday entries

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Resources & Compilations

Poems for Holy Saturday

NEW: Holy Saturday around the Blogosphere 2015

Holy Saturday around the blogosphere (2014)

Kendall Harmon’s wealth of Holy Saturday entries

Holy Week: Index of Holy Week devotionals, prayers, quotes and resources here at Lent & Beyond

A collection of fantastic Holy Week Devotions from the Pontifications blog from 2004

More Pontifications Lent, Holy Week & Easter Devotionals (from 2005)

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Quotes & Devotionals

NEW: Henri Nouwen on Holy Saturday “The Day of God’s Solitude”

NEW: “Life lock’d in death, heav’n in a shell!” – Henry Vaughan

Holy Saturday: Death has seized our Lord Jesus Christ; but shall not keep its hold on Life

WA Criswell: He is dead… He is dead… He is dead. Then, then then…

Lent Quotes: St. Cyril of Jerusalem – He vouchsafed salvation

Three Spiritual Classics for Holy Saturday (from the Pontifications blog archives)

A Homily from Saint Ephrem of Syria

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Music & Poems

Poems for Holy Saturday

Palestrina: Lamentations for Holy Saturday, performed by the Tallis Scholars

Classic CCM for Holy Saturday into Easter: Christian Stephens’ The Descent, and Arise

A Classic CCM Song for Holy Saturday – He Holds the Keys (Steve Green)


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