Tuesday, May 31, 2016

"Blessed quietness, holy quietness, bless'd assurance in my soul. On the stormy sea, He speaks peace to me, and the billows cease to roll."

Hymn: “Blessed Quietness” – Manie Payne Ferguson (1850-1932)

Irish-born Manie Payne Ferguson worked most of her life in missions up and down the California coast, ministering to the down and out. Though she wrote several books and song-texts, this is one which still appears occasionally in print.

I have used the refrain as the hymnline – mostly because it’s the part of the hymn I remember from my growing-up years. I came to love this hymn after it appeared in a Centurymen recording as arranged by the late Burl Red.

Most of us yearn for things to quieten down around us. We seek out times of solace away from the maddening crowd. Even Christ himself set us that example, separating himself from those who would take all his attention and time… realizing that in his humanity, he needed to be alone now and then to recharge mentally, spiritually, physically.

Most of us have blessed LITTLE quietness, but when we DO, we consider it holy. In those hallowed times, I am reminded of the blessed assurance that Jesus is mine, enjoying the foretaste of glory divine.

Our greatest need for this alone time with God seems to come when we are in the midst of stormy, rocky days – those unsettled, unsettling stretches. We often find that just a little talk with Jesus one-on-one makes things right… and the insurmountable seems achievable.

We can rarely deal with important decision-making in the midst of all the noise… the rush of everyday schedules. Strangely, sometimes we have to pull away from the busy-ness of our church-life to find our more important Christ-life.

From THE MESSAGE, hear these words from Jesus: “Here's what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won't be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.” (Matthew 6:6)

Friday, May 27, 2016

"To ev'ry captive soul a full deliverance brings, and through the vacant cells the song of triumph rings: the Comforter has come!"

Hymn: “The Comforter Has Come” – Frank Bottome (1823-1894)

Right in the middle of this Pentecostal hymn, we find a great statement about deliverance from the prison of sin: when deliverance happens, there’s an empty cell that’s left behind. I had never thought of that before. And according to this text, there’s a song that rings out in triumph, declaring to all who pass by the vacant space that the once-bound resident has been released by an intervention of the Comforter… the Holy Spirit him/herself.

In east Tennessee we would say that “them’s shoutin’ words!”

This simple hymnline creates a mental picture of what full release means. I suppose I would have drawn a picture of a quiet, abandoned jail cell – no longer occupied by an inmate. However, Frank Bottome saw it differently… and probably more appropriately. It’s sort of like Jesus’ statement that the very rocks would cry out to praise him; in this case, the very prison walls sing!

I love the image. I’m going to try to keep it in mind not only when I celebrate the release of some life-long reprobate, but when I reflect on my own release(s) from the bondage of sin.

Lillie Knauls sings this hymn

Thursday, May 26, 2016

"Of your time and talents give him, they are gifts from God above, to be used by Christians freely to proclaim his wondrous love."

Hymn: “Come, All Christians, Be Committed” – Eva B. Lloyd (1912-2006)

As the choir processed at First Baptist Church of Waxahachie, Texas a few Sundays ago, my tired ears were greeted by Myla McClinton’s playing of an arrangement of this hymn – and the final eight measures were close to “tutti,” my personal favorite organ dymnamic! So it just seems like a good time to reflect on this hymn by an English teacher from Maryville, Missouri.

The entire hymn is worthy of our study, pulling hymnline after hymnline… giving careful attention to its well-crafted text.

This particular hymnline speaks brilliantly for itself; there is little I can add to expound upon its message. The fact that both time and talent (ability) are gifts from God is something we somewhat-gifted people too often overlook. However, the strike-me-down word in this hymnline is “freely.”

I am one of those people who is good at a lot of things, but great at very few. I shaped my life that way almost intentionally it seems. My early years of majoring in visual art seem almost wasted because I rarely pick up a pen-and-ink to draw. I’ve been just involved in enough drama (writing, directing and participating) over the years to know blessed little about either one. I’ve written a few songs, done some arranging.  I've written a few hymn texts and anthem texts… and so the list goes on.

In my semi-retirement, I’m teaching about all these things at the college level, but I am doing none of them consistently. I have made a personal (now public, I guess) commitment to do more of all of them, hoping that one will re-surface as a talent to occupy my time – and that whichever that turns out to be, I want to share it freely in order that more attention might be drawn to Christ.

My first stab at this has morphed into posting new hymn texts on Facebook and asking people to use them; all I ask is that they let me know they've used them - send me a worship order, etc. Now to drag out the sketch pad and see if I can still draw!!!

I hope I will do it all “tutti.”

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

"All that we have is thine, a trust, O Lord, from thee."

Hymn: “We Give Thee But Thine Own” – William W. How (1823-1897)

This stewardship hymnline gives us a nudge toward making our offerings with a better sense of WHO our belongings belong to. To put it in context, the whole first stanza says this:

    “We give thee but thine own, whate’er the gift may be.
    All that we have is thine alone, a trust, O Lord, from thee.”

I have to be reminded of this more and more often because in our society, we are over-encouraged to amass more and keep it. In spite of all those Hoarders Shows on cable television, we don’t seem to see ourselves in the desperate people who climb over piles of stuff and are sometimes buried even unto death beneath those collections. They are in many ways we.

If what I have is a trust from God (and that IS a biblical principle), that means he trusts me to use it wisely and to share it unbegrudgingly. I cringe when I pay the escalating bills that accrue in my to-be-paid box; I bristle every time I drive away from a gas station having paid more than ten times what I once paid for a gallon of gas. These are natural reactions.

But when it comes to writing a check to my church or other worthwhile charities (Christian and otherwise), that cringing bristle should not be part of my reaction. I have to remember that God has given me custody of this money and expects me to use it well – to not waste it, but to reinvest it in his Kingdom.

It is good to be trusted. But I find that a great responsibility always accompanies a great confidence… especially from God.

Congregational Singing of SCHUMANN tune  (Not great. Best I could find.)

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

"In seasons of distress and grief, my soul has often found relief."

Hymn – “Sweet Hour of Prayer” – William Walford (1772-1850)

From an earlier era, many of us recall the radio/television commercial break “How do you spell relief?” The answer, of course, was not “R-E-L-I-E-F”; it was rather “Rolaids.”

This hymnline is not about gastrological distress and grief necessarily; it points more toward that kind of commonly-held malady which confronts most of us at varying degrees. Some are greatly distressed while others are simply stressed out. Some are truly dealing with deep-seated grief while the rest of us may with Charlie Brown be uttering “Good grief” in exasperation for one more seemingly unnecessary distraction.

Nonetheless, we believers all have found in prayer a certain relief from our distress and grief. You may have considered it more “release” in that you finally felt freed from the fettering – pardon my alliteration! As the next hymnline continues, our prayer life has often allowed us to escape the traps set by the Tempter along our pathway through uncharted territory.

These ‘old gospel songs’ often get us back to the basics of our faith experience; in this case, the hymn-writer is reminding us that the sweet time spent at the throne in prayer provides us with much more than merely the answers to our made-known wants and wishes.

How do I spell relief? Sometimes I spell it P-R-A-Y-E-R.

Vance Perry Multi-track

Thursday, May 19, 2016

"In hope that sends a shining ray far down the future's broad'ning way."

Hymn: “O Master, Let Me Walk with Thee”
Words: Washington Gladden (1836-1918)

I’m 64 years old, semi-retired… and am still trying to figure out what I want to be! Maybe it is the extra time on my hands. Maybe it is the realization of unrealized goals. Maybe it is because I’m afraid I didn’t use all my gifts to their maximum. Either way, I have a whole different perspective on “the future’s broad’ning way,” believing that there are still challenges ahead – and trying to find them!

There is, according to this hymnline, a hope that is lighting the intended path before me… like maybe a high-intensity klieg light or followspot. To the right and to the left I may find it less well-lit, hazy… even pitch dark.

I believe, of course, this little light of mine is being powered by the Father of Light; but I also am convinced that some of the hopeful shining ray is being generated by the people who have been placed in my path… many of whom are broadening right along with me – but that’s another discussion altogether!

Those faithful friends who are dear to us, gather near to us and pat us on the back, believing in us, encouraging us to forge ahead as the horizons widen, expand, and extend beyond our imagination.

At whatever life-stage you find yourself, realize that there’s a holy light shining over your shoulder, giving you hope, however broad the way becomes.

Amy Grant

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

"He whose heart is kind beyond all measure gives unto each day what he deems best, lovingly..."

Hymn: “Day by Day” – Caroline V. Sandell-Berg (1832-1903)

We are back to one of my favorite hymn texts because it was a ‘life-changer’ for me at a crucial, transitional time in my ministry… and my life in general.

But this hymnline helps me understand why my prayers are not always answered in the way I think they should be – according to my pleas to be pleased. In his measureless kindness, God lovingly provides what is best for me as he sees my journey from his perspective.

Some of you will remember the black-and-white television show “Father Knows Best” with Robert Young in the title role. It has sort of become a joke over the years for the doting wife dressed in pearls to greet her husband home from work, the children who always learn the life lesson for the day, and the patches on the elbows of the father’s tweed jacket.

But the title holds true for us who call God our Father… our Holy Parent: Father knows best. And when his plan doesn’t match ours, we have to understand that he is lovingly giving us what is to our ultimate advantage.

Babbie Mason’s great song comes to mind:
    “God is too wise to be mistaken. God is too good to be unkind.
    When you don’t understand.
    When you can’t trace his hand.
    When you can’t see his plan, trust his heart.

But at the heart of the hymnline for today is the heart that is kind beyond all measure. No measurement of space, time, length, depth, height, weight, circumference, mass… you name it: the heart of God is kind beyond all possible charting.

And whatever he gives me today, I know it will be for my best… whether I yet understand it or not.

Antrim Mennonite Choir

Friday, May 13, 2016

"Take away our bent to sinning."

Hymn: “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling” – Charles Wesley (1707-1788)

Why are we bent toward sin? Why are we attracted to that which is not good for us? Why do we find ourselves leaning in the direction of evil? It is our human nature… our carnality. We all share this propensity… and we all wish we didn’t!

That’s why when this hymn comes along and this line passes my eyes, my mind, my mouth… my heart wants to break. I’m sometimes afraid my face may belie my melodious participation, screaming “Guilty! I’m guilty! I have a tendency to be bent toward sinning!”

At least these six words (from Wesley again!) give us opportunity not only to admit who we are, but also to ask God to re-set us – to straighten us up and remove our leanings. It’s almost like we admit that we have poor posture when it comes to righteous things. “Back straight. Shoulders down. Chest up. Eyes straight ahead, soldier.”

It may well be an unanswerable request on our part. We can, however, be more aware of when we might be off-center – leaning one way or the other.

I have Meniere’s Disease - vertigo on steroids (Google it!) – so I know what it’s like to lose my balance and lean away from vertical just walking across the room. I know what it’s like to find the hardwood floor coming up to meet my face. Now that I know I have this condition and have admitted it is a REAL problem, I’ve taken medical steps to lessen its likelihood of regular recurrence.

Admitting we have this sinful condition and seeking out help from the Great Physician, the only One who can give us any relief: these are steps in the up-right direction.

“Take away our bent to sinning. Alpha and Omega be.”  With the Alpha under one arm and the Omega under the other, I am more likely to stay the course… from first to last.

Mormon Tabernacle Choir (HYFRYDOL tune)

Thursday, May 12, 2016

"There's not an hour that he is not near us, no night so dark but his love can cheer us."

Hymn: “No, Not One” – Johnson Oatman, Jr. (1856-1922)

None of us wants to be abandoned. It’s a fear common to all of us.

When pledging a music fraternity in college, part of the initiation involved being blindfolded and driven out to the middle of nowhere in Jefferson County. Upon being dropped off well before dawn and instructed to not take off the blindfold until I had counted to 100, I heard the car speeding away. Almost immediately I ripped the blindfold off and watched as the red tail lights faded down the hill and into the distance. Were they headed back to school or were they trying to throw me off by heading the opposite direction? There I stood with an envelope of instructions I could barely read because there wasn’t a light anywhere in sight. I was abandoned and, quite frankly, terrified. Hours later I found my way back to campus in time to get ready for my first class.

Isn’t it odd what some of these hymnlines bring to my mind? Okay, I admit it: I AM odd!

As alone as I was, as forsaken as I felt – even then, I was not by myself. Deserted by my ‘friends,’ but not unaccompanied because “there’s not an hour that he is not near us, and there’s no night so dark but his love can cheer us.”

That was true for me in 1970. It is still true for me today. How about you?

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

"As devout and patient scholars more and more its depths reveal."

Scriptorium Monk

Hymn: “Word of God, across the Ages” – Ferdinand Q. Blanchard (1876-1968)

This hymnline in context:
    … may the message bless and heal
    As devout and patient scholars more and more its depths reveal.
    Bless, O God, to wise and simple all the truth of ageless worth…

I appreciate so much when pastors and Bible teachers are prepared, when they have plumbed the passages they deal with in public, when they have read and studied the writings of other biblical scholars and theologians. Those devout and patient scholars have given their lives to a fuller understanding of what God is trying to tell his people through the written Word.

I was talking to a friend the other day who said he didn’t like hearing a certain local pastor preach because he seems to have studied too much. My friend’s preference is to have pulpiteers who “preach from their heart and their own experience.”

Some preachers and Bible teachers may tend to TELL us too much (I plead guilty to this one!), but I would never criticize anyone for being too well-prepared to unveil the truth of scripture. I want to learn something new every time the scriptures are opened: a fact, a revelation, a syntax, a meaningful realization… an ‘ah ha moment.’

With the writer of this fairly contemporary hymn (as hymn history goes!), I applaud those who have patiently combed those not-so-easy-to-understand passages, gone back to the original languages, studied the contexts and the situations. I am grateful to those whose gift is “gardening” the Word of God.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

"Thy name be my theme, and thy love be my song."

Hymn: “I Love Thee” – from Jeremiah Ingall’s Christian Harmony (1805)

Again we find this pithy hymnline tucked into the second half of the third-and-often-skipped stanza of this sturdy old pre-Civil War hymn. We have no idea who penned these words, but there’s a good bit of honesty woven throughout the hymn.

I keep posting these prayers… fragments of hymn texts that speak directly to God the Creator, the Redeemer, the Spirit. This entire hymn is addressed to Christ; it is ALL a prayer.

This hymnline, though, catches my attention each time it crosses my mind, especially as I sing it aloud in worship. It basically says that I want the nature or character of Christ to be the very theme of my life – the leitmotif, if you please – that recurring theme that is indicative of who Christ is and who I want to be.

Not to wax too music-professor here, but most of us are familiar with the music form called “Theme and Variations.” In that form, a basic theme is stated simply to open the piece; it is usually straight-forward, unencumbered, obvious. After that, the theme is presented in a variety of ways – variations on the first-stated melody.

For us Christian folk, it would be good if we took one of the attributes of Christ – his nature or character – and developed it into everything about our lives. Let’s take the characteristic of “grace” from the arsenal of those things for which Christ stands. If every thought and action were a variation on the theme of grace, our lives would better reflect the main Theme himself.

In THIS hymnline, the unknown writer set out to make “love” the theme of his/her song:

    Thy name be my theme, and thy love be my song;
    Thy grace shall inspire both my heart and my tongue.

May the very essence of who Christ is be the theme of my life, and may love be the song my comrades “hear” through my words and deeds. That’s a prayer worth verbalizing… and living by.

Monday, May 9, 2016

"O Jesus, nothing may I see, nothing desire or seek but thee."

Hymn: “Jesus, Thy Boundless Love to Me” – Paul Gerhardt (1607-1676)
Typical Tune: ST. CATHERINE

What a great prayer this hymnline is. Simple, straight-forward, to the point.

John Wesley actually translated this from a much older hymn text, so more of Wesley’s ability to turn a phrase may be involved. Either way, if we who purpose to be close followers of Christ would begin our day with THIS prayer, we might find it answered in richly meaningful ways.

If we turn our eyes upon Jesus only, want nothing but him and his presence, and pursue no other spiritual goal, we are almost guaranteed a closer relationship with the Divine.

I said earlier that I begin every day singing at least part of the hymn “I Am Thine, O Lord.” Maybe I’ll start alternating days with this one!

Friday, May 6, 2016

"Draw me nearer to thy precious bleeding side."

"Holy Lance" - Fresco from Dominican Monastery in Florence

Hymn: “I Am Thine, O Lord” – Fanny Crosby (1820-1915)

Some people get up every morning and speak some Christian mantra like “This is the day the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it,” or “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.” You may have your own sacred saying to begin your day.

For me, I sing to myself (or aloud if no one else is in the house) some portion of this hymn, because every day I want to be drawn nearer to Christ… follow his teachings and as nearly as possible replicate his compassion for all people, regardless. Some mornings, I only recount the refrain of the hymn from which this hymnline is pulled:
         Draw me nearer, nearer, blessed Lord, to the cross where thou hast died.
         Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer, blessed Lord, to thy precious bleeding side.

My mother’s term of endearment for me was “precious.” Every time I tell that, people laugh… because they don’t see me as all that precious! I always knew that by her calling me that, she meant I had great value to her. The French would use the word “Cher” to express that kind of loving significance. Fortunately, she didn’t call me THAT! The last time I visited with her in the hospital, we watched JEOPARDY! together before I rushed off the airport to fly back to Denver; and as I left she called me “precious” and told me one last time to behave!

So many times throughout our hymnody, poets have used that term of endearment… especially applied to the free-flowing blood of Christ during the crucifixion event. We understand that red natural liquid to be life-giving, life-sustaining, life-extending; therefore, it is of great value.

On this day – and every day for that matter – may we be pulled toward the cross and the One who hangs there with blood streaming down from his head, his hands, his feet… and eventually by the slicing of a Roman sword, from his gashed side. May we be attracted by that ironic pairing of gore and beauty… suffering and healing… death and life. May we walk side by side with Him who bleeds for our redemption.

A somewhat Celtic setting of this hymn

Thursday, May 5, 2016

"My sin, not in part, but the whole is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more."

Hymn: “It Is Well with My Soul” – Horatio Spafford (1828-188)

This is a favorite hymn of many… including my wife, Carlita; and it is way up on my list. When I was at Southwestern Seminary and they still sang hymns in chapel, they did a survey of favorite hymns of students, placing this one at the top just above “To God Be the Glory” and (of course) “Amazing Grace”!

Sadly, this is the stanza (the to-be-most-pitied third) often skipped over when one is jettisoned for time purposes in worship-planning. I say “sadly” because after the flowing of peaceful rivers, sorrows rolling like sea-billows, Satan buffeting, and the coming of great trials, THIS stanza tells why it is well with my soul.

Some hymnlines I just can’t sing aloud; I get choked up, teared up… and I just mouth the text. This is one of those. Spafford has worded for me what I could not say on my own: all my sin – not just part, but the whole of it – has been nailed to the cross along with my Redeemer. As one who has trouble letting go, this line reminds me that I can release it; I no longer have to shoulder my transgressions. Sometimes when I am given opportunity to sing this stanza, I gather my wits and am able to phonate by the time I get to
“Praise the Lord, O my soul!”

During the Lenten season or at a weekend retreat, some of us are given the opportunity to scribble some iniquity on a 3” x 5” card and symbolically lay it at the foot of the cross… or even tack it a wooden facsimile. It’s a nice little exercise, but it can only be fully understood if you bring at least three packages of cards with you! It’s that “sin, not in part, but the whole” that completes the imagery.

I’m a Kenny Chesney fan. Sorry, musical-snob friends, it’s true! He has a great song called “There Goes My Life.” You can Google it later. However, each time you see a cross on display, smile a little bit and say with all kinds of sincere confidence, “There goes my sin… all of it.”

Choral Arrangement of This Hymn (counter #315)

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

"That each departing day henceforth may see some work of love begun, some deed of kindness done."

Hymn: “Something for Thee” – Sylvanus D. Phelps (1816-1895)

Like many of us American hymn-writers, “one-hit-wonder” might apply to Rhode Island lyricist Sylvanus Phelps. However, if you’re going to have one hymn text that sticks, it might as well be one like “Something for Thee” which has been included in hymnals by just about every Christian denomination… and books published by non-denominational groups.

Many hymns designed for corporate worship use the first person plural (we, us, our, etc.), but this one uses the first person singular (I, me, my, etc.) throughout… making a great devotional hymn to sing or read personally as a daily commitment. It’s not a very peppy hymn, but it sure calls forth my introspective side.

The title recurs at the end of each stanza as a reminder that my words, actions, ministries – everything about me should be offered to the Savior whose dying love has been given to me.

Today’s hymnline is wonderful because it gives me the opportunity to henceforth (from this day forward) close out every day by looking back and recounting “some work of love begun” or “some deed of kindness done” – because I have made those my goal for the day. I can intentionally set some love-work into motion or go out of my way to do a kind deed. It’s that ‘random acts of kindness’ thing… or ‘paying it forward.’

Those things that Oprah encourages her audience to do, Jesus modeled for us long ago. Isn’t it about time we listened to HIM? I think so.

So before I go to bed tonight, I’m going to replay my day and be sure I have done what I have re-committed to do – not so I can check it off my am-I-not-a-good-person list, but because I am a follower of the Great Encourager. As a result, someone’s life will get a much-needed lift, and Jesus will be pleased.

Hear an a cappella setting of this hymn

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

New Hymn to Ponder

This isn't exactly a hymn line, but with fewer and fewer places to get one's texts put into print, I figure I will just post them here so they can be used... as opposed to sitting in a drawer gathering dust!

© 2016 R. G. Huff
Permission is granted for congregational use.

"To teach the way of life and peace, it is the Christ-like thing."

Hymn: “We Give Thee But Thine Own” – William W. How (1823-1897)

While reminding us that all we have already belongs to God and is on loan from us, this offertory hymn includes today’s hymnline which speaks to our being people of peace, teaching a peaceful lifestyle to those within our circle of influence – not because it’s the trendy thing but because it is the Christ-like thing.

At University Baptist Church in Chapel Hill, NC where I served last in a full-time capacity, our motto was “Moving toward Christlikeness.” That phrase was printed on our Sunday bulletins, in our publicity pieces, on our church stationery, etc. It probably caught on better than any theme I’ve ever encountered at the local church level. Not only was it a motto; it became the goal of our congregation. More than once in committee meetings or Bible study classes, I heard someone ask, “Is this the Christ-like thing to do?”

I’m pretty sure that Christ would approve of our being a people of peace. Having modeled that for us, it seems as if our promoting amity or harmony would be in keeping with the pathway down which he has led us.

President Ronald Reagan said, “Peace is not the absence of conflict. It is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means.” I think he was right about that. We may be conflicted at just about every turn in our decision-making… even in our dealings with others; however, if we can set out to intentionally settle those in ways which reflect the peace that passes understanding, we will become teachers of that Christ-like way of life and peace.

A congregational singing of the SCHUMANN tune

Monday, May 2, 2016

“Creating God, your fingers trace the bold designs of farthest space.”

Hymn: “Creating God, Your Fingers Trace” - Jeffery W. Rowthorn (1934-   )

Remember using finger paints? Dipping your hand into a bowl of tempera paint and smearing it all over a sheet of newsprint? It was freeing, colorful and creative… at least it was in preschool. Somehow, I picture God’s finger-use in the creation process as much more deliberate and precise, making every little move exactly when and where it should have happened.

When my creation-mind gets out of hand, I imagine God dragging his finger through the Arizona desert to expose the Grand Canyon… or etching his way along the shoreline to delineate the land from the sea. When we lived in Denver, I was convinced God must have squeezed his fingers around a clump of earth and caused Mount Evans to rise above the western horizon, carefully shaping it to be “just so.”

According to this hymnline, God’s fingers not only finger-shaped the earth’s natural beauty but boldly designed the far reaches of outer space! Our God is an amazing creative force… a force to be reckoned with!

I have to be honest: one of the things I like best about fingers is their ability to rub my aching neck or to massage my deepest back muscles. In so many ways, those same fingers which dug in and raised up creation’s masterpiece can also be to us a great Comforter… a Relaxer, if you will. At the end of a long day or a long week – or a long lifetime! – God can still work out the kinks in our over-tensed spiritual/social musculature. And when he’s finished, as far as we’re concerned another miracle has come to be!

“Creating God, your fingers are fashioning still, reshaping rocks and riverbeds, drawing plants from the dirt, remodeling run-down lives. Continue to work your way through us to knead-out our pain and tickle our spirits in order that we might rejoice in you and with each other. May we surrender to the strength of your fingers. Let us once again say, ‘Ahhhh. That feels so good.’ Amen.”

[I had to restrain myself from saying “I Knead Thee Every Hour.”]

For copyright reasons, I can't print the full hymn text here, but you can see it at http://www.hymnary.org/text/creating_god_your_fingers_trace.

Hymnlines - Hemlines: Get it?! :)

Hymnlines - Hemlines: Get it?! :)