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In a Word

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In a Word

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The gospel in a word is love

So goes a song

And it is

Gospel, song, or word

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The reason for the actions

And the stories

The meaning of everything

(there, you were wondering)

Is love

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Love precedes judgment

And is precedent

It precedes creation

And was the reason for it

Don’t worry, it is practical and smart

It is reasonable

And sounder than reason

For it lasts and is unwarranted

It outlasts our philosophy schools

And business strategies

And even plans for war

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It fortifies all decent purposes

Makes relations possible

Between all sorts of people

Plans

And nations

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It ends war

Keeps many wars from starting

It is the reason why we feed

And water

And clothe

Ourselves and everyone

Everywhere

It is the reason why we go to work

Or school

And why we come home after

It is home

And family

And self

And God

Civil society

It is why we move forward

And come back

Strength for today

Bright hope for tomorrow

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The first song concludes

(at least in my youth group)

Love your neighbor

As we’ve heard

From long ago

In many texts

And songs

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As it is

As it really is

Our lives go on

Conclude

Having begun

With love

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C L Couch

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“Great Is Thy Faithfulness” is a hymn from the 1920s by Chisholm, Runyan, and Schrotenboer.  The other song alluded to is called “Love, Love, Love, Love”; it is a more contemporary song and is often sung as a round.

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Photo by Michael Maasen on Unsplash

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We’re Often Told

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We’re Often Told

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I have no idea why

A nice song comes to mind

And then another

It’s not for beatific sleep

Or a sweet disposition

Wakened first thing

By the telephone

It’s not because of bristly

Wind outside,

Blowing what fall colors

We have known

Off slender branches

That could have been clothed

A while longer, should

Nature have consulted me

Tired, cranky

Thinking so-and-so by so-and-so

And I mean me

It should be a gray and spiny

Day by all accounts

Gray and apathy

Yet pleasant lyrics

With their high notes come

My way, though I did not

Ask them to

Serenaded by the mariachis

I have made up in

A mind that will not quit

Drugged by caffeine,

Scarred over

Not so pretty if I ever was

An inside and an outside

Needing shelves

And somehow from the files

Arising from the folders

Made of neurons

There is

Something to listen to

The kind that has no hearing

Seeing a singer

Who’s not there

On stage in costume

For a minimal production

Of a bittersweet play,

Which is what I get

Shortly after waking

On a late-fall day

In Pennsylvania of the USA

Wherever you might be

Might be the same

Company across telepathy

Made by

The chief of surgery

Who’s had the job

Since there were eons

Needing mending

With a song

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C L Couch

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“Somebody to Watch Over Me” by Ira Gershwin, George Gershwin

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Photo by Dmitriy K. on Unsplash

Kyiv, Украина

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Bring All Your Failures

(x = space)

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Bring All Your Failures

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A line in a gospel song

I’d say that’s right

As an invitation

To the altar

Bring what’s wrong

Don’t worry about

The Sunday best

God will take you as you are

That kind of party

Come as you are

Forgiveness and the feast

Are especially for you

When you are

That way

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C L Couch

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Psalm 141:2

Photo by Josh Applegate on Unsplash

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“God So Loved”

Written By: We The Kingdom, Andrew Bergthold, Martin Cash, Franni Rae Cash, Scott Cash and Ed Cash
Album: Live At The Wheelhouse (2019)

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Runaway Psalm

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Runaway Psalm

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God, lay the morning

Down on us

Softly, unless there

Must be a storm

Give our senses

Easy labor

Except in greater need

Then call us out

To work the needs for people

Who should have

A day in which

To praise you

By still waters

To take breathing lessons

For whatever comes

In the next hour

And forever,

Cherishing each moment

And the way

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C L Couch

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Photo by Inés Castellano on Unsplash

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Calliope

(x = space)

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Calliope

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What is the song

In your head

Just now?

Mine is “Song Sung Blue,”

Because everybody

Knows one

Sometimes it’s “One Voice”

Sometimes it’s

“Color My World”

Now you know

Where I’m from

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Sometimes

It’s a theme

From a movie

Or a show

TV or Broadway

But if I stop

To catch it,

There’s always

Something there

Always music

And that is something

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C L Couch

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Pyrophone of Georges Frédéric Eugène Kastner (1852–1882).

By photographer unknown – Hermann Ludwig von Jan: Johann Georg Kastner, ein elsässischer Tondichter, Theoretiker und Musikforscher – sein Werden und Wirken. Breitkopf & Härtel, Band 2, Teil 2, Leipzig 1886, p. 308, Digitalisat (Internet Archive), Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=25667386

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A Song about Creation

(x = space)

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A Song about Creation

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I am a Calvinist who

(enough of a Calvinist

who)

Believes the world has

Fallen with the first

Sin we decided to take on

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The world should

Be different, though there

Are reminders everywhere

In nature, in the

Morning, in the soft way

That evening falls

Sometimes

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Maybe it’s in newborn

Life that we have

The promise of creation

To be constant if not perfect,

Wonders in asymmetry

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Science and religion

Taken over by

The awe that greets us

In the mornings of

Every hour, every day

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Hexagons and spirals,

Nature seems

To favor these

(bee cells and nautili,

for instance)

And nebulae sometimes

Look like one-celled wonders

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And for all the shapes

And sizes

In leaves and roots,

Mitochondria, and the

So-much larger flesh outside

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Above and under all we know,

There is amazement

In waking to creation

Remade in amazement

Until “Earth and all stars”

Be renewed perfectly

One day,

A moment

Signaling forever

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C L Couch

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“Earth and All Stars,” a hymn composed by David N. Johnson

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Photo by Gabi Scott on Unsplash

Denver Museum of Nature & Science

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Invitation from Earth and Sky

(x = space)

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Invitation from Earth and Sky

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Briefly then,

There are good things

On the earth

And inside sky

And inside far below

We can ask for

Closeness to good things,

And we should:

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For good warmth

From the sky,

Good feeling in our bodies,

Good reason for

Decision-making

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The substance of the

Asking might be

Prayer of a kind of

Cosmic negotiating

For agnostics

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Either way

Or with simpler hope,

We can let goodness

Have its way

With core and crust

And breathy atmosphere

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Inhale, exhale—

Walk to stretch things out

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Extend our fingers,

Reach out with our palms,

And turn our wrists

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The cosmos will

Appreciate our reaching out

So and more so

Would the mortals

And the ineffable

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Let all mortal flesh keep silent

And in fear and trembling stand

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Each year there is an advent

And most days,

Our response invited

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Our planet awaits

As does everything beyond

The sky that our shiny satellites

Detect, now draw from

For extraterrestrial

(extra-lunar)

Samples

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The maker awaits

Here and there as well,

Inviting us inside

Community, one by one

And altogether

To believe

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C L Couch

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Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash

Strong wind, frost and rays of sunlight created this wonderful pattern on my windshield.

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“Let All Mortal Flesh” is an old hymn out of the Christian tradition.

A newer hymn, “Earth and All Stars,” also comes to mind.

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The Twenty-Third Song

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The Twenty-Third Song

(a paraphrase)

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My life is wrecked

I feel ruined

And here you are, Lord;

I don’t know if I asked for you,

And I am so relieved

That you are here

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I thought there was a desert

But, look, there’s water

Cold and clear;

It is the best that I have tasted

And I have no doubt

That it is good for me

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This is more than I deserve

And maybe I should leave—well,

I feel your hand

Guiding me back;

I should stay a while

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I thought this was the end,

That I could not lose any more

And it was getting dark;

But you are here,

And maybe you were with me

While I was stumbling

Back there

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Look, here’s food:

And who are those around me?

They don’t come any closer

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Before I eat, please

Bless all this

And maybe me;

You are the one

To do it, after all

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Should you be with me

Through all that is to come,

Then blessings

Will continue, even in

The splintered times

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And because of you,

Your presence in my life,

When this life is done

And the next mystery begins,

I shall be with you

With a living place in heaven

Or on Earth renewed

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C L Couch

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Photo by Edgar Castrejon on Unsplash

Rome, Italy

The Forum, Roma

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Remembering a Song Often Sung on Sunday Night

(x = space)

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Remembering a Song Often Sung on Sunday Night

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O God, our help in ages past

Our hope for years to come

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It’s Sunday night

And the chapel service is ending

We’ll all be leaving soon

To ponder Monday morning

Then what should be done tonight

That might be done

And what will be ignored because

The sabbath time

Is measured, still

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Our shelter from the story blast

And our eternal home

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Sometimes it’s too dark

And quiet

The winter will be worse

Not to be bored or frightened

We don’t fear wolves

Or wolverines so much, anymore

Except the allegories

We encounter Monday morning

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Time like an ever-rolling stream

Bears all its sons away

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Daughters are as sons

All are borne by mortal time

Away from what we know

Into a mystery

That we believe has

A final solution

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They fly forgotten as a dream

Dies at the opening day

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The scripted dream

Cannot be retained

Maybe it’s a contract

Between imagination

And the ages

Some keep a journal

About retaining something

The week begins,

Regardless

With the night, the dawn

And then the waking hours

Everything we know

Pushing away

What subconscious rules there are

When sleeping

Plus working out in

One brief act after another

Who the playwright is

Who will not let us

Keep our lines

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Amen

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C L Couch

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Photo by Deleece Cook on Unsplash

Cambeltown, Australia

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