A Musical Prayer

On November 13, 2016, Church of the Holy Cross UCC celebrated “Sing Praise Sunday,” a service with very little speaking and plenty of music. Children sang, the choirs sang, the people sang (their favorite hymns, so they sang right out!), and the pastor couldn’t quite see speaking a pastoral prayer, so, there was this:


Here are the lyrics:

Creator God be with us.
Send us rain and shine upon us all.
In steadfast love incline our hearts to justice.
Raise us when our weary spirits fall.
Raise us when our weary spirits fall.

Savior Christ be with us.
Heal all those suffer, those who sigh.
Forgive us when we serve ourselves, not justice.
Raise us to eternal life on high.
Raise us to eternal life on high.


God, hear our prayer.
Christ, hear our prayer.
Holy Spirit, hear our prayer.
Bring your grace
To your world.

Holy Spirit be with us.
Guide us as we find our way.
Fill us with the fire of your compassion.
Inspire your children as we pray.
Inspire your children as we pray.

(Chorus, repeat third verse)

Sun Astonished


Photo from St. Peter’s Church, Strumpshaw, UK. By Evelyn Simak, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=13011751

Note: I’m now posting my sermons each week on the Church of the Holy Cross’s website. That’s the place to subscribe to see them.

However, I also prepare a story each week “for the children” — knowing perfectly well that it’s for everyone present. I’ll be posting those here.

Today’s story is an adaptation of the use of water in three forms as an image of the Trinity. I’m well aware of its limitations as a theological illustration, but I began picturing the relationship of water with the Sun and… Well, here’s the story.

 When Water and the Sun first met, the Sun spent most of its time being astonished.

There was plenty of reason. As the Sun gazed down from the sky, Water spilled across nearly everything it could see. There were oceans and oceans of Water, sparkling blue, reflecting the Sun’s rays. What a sight!

So the Sun beamed down on the Water (well, that’s what the Sun does to everyone and everything), and the Sun was astonished again. Because clouds began to form between the Sun and the Water, and the Sun didn’t know where they’d come from. They glowed silver in its radiance (except at the edges of the world, where they broke light up into these amazing oranges and reds), and the Sun asked, “Who are you, and where do you come from?”

The clouds replied, “I’m your friend Water, sailing on the air!”

The Sun was astonished.

Soon the Sun had more cause for wonder, because the clouds began to shrink away as water fell from them in streams (they’d come to Hilo, of course). When the clouds cleared, the Sun looked down upon a carpet of white so bright the Sun itself blinked to see it: snow atop the summit of Mauna Kea.

“Who are you,” the Sun asked, “and where do you come from?”

The snow replied, “I’m your friend Water, in solid crystals resting on the mountain!”

The Sun was astonished.

The Sun watched Water melt from the snows, and run glittering down the mountainside. The Sun watched Water leaping and dancing down the falls, turning its sunbeams into rainbows. The Sun watched Water return to the oceans, and leap invisibly once again into the air until it whirled up in clouds.

The Sun was astonished.

But God — God the Creator, God the Begotten One who would be born of Mary, God the Holy Spirit moving over the waters —

God smiled.