Through the rise and fall


(Photo: Irene Bom)
 
 
Here’s a song from my collection, one I wrote almost 20 years ago when some friends were going through a major crisis in their immediate family.

Now, as the whole world is reeling from this pandemic, may the words bring you comfort and these truths keep you anchored to Jesus – the same, yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8).

 
 

YESTERDAY, TODAY, FOREVER
by Irene Bom

Yesterday, today, forever Jesus is the same
All may change but Jesus never
Glory to His name.

He’s the same through the rise and fall of nations.
He’s the same, whether I believe or doubt.
He’s the same through all the changing seasons,
And His faithfulness and mercy won’t run out.

Yesterday, today, forever …
 


You can find notation for this song here.
For more songs, check out www.irenebom.com/songwriter
 

Rise up

 

Here’s a song I’m working on – based on Isaiah 40:31. The song might yet morph into something else. Meanwhile, I hope this version offers you some solace and encouragement.

 

Those who hope in the Lord (version 13-04-2020)
by Irene Bom

Those who hope in the Lord
shall renew their strength
They shall rise up like eagles.
They shall run and not grow weary
They shall walk and not faint
They shall rise up like eagles.
 


Did you know?

The ancients gave the symbol of the eagle to John’s gospel, for his writings help us to ‘rise up with wings as eagles’, glimpse things of heaven and hear what is God’s heart for us and for the world.

source: northumbriacommunity.org
 

Turn to the light


Rotterdam at twilight  (Photo: Irene Bom)

 

Here is a prayer inspired by Phos Hilaron — the earliest Christian hymn (outside of the Bible), dating from the 3rd or 4th century. Known as the “Lamp-lighting hymn,” it was traditionally sung as the evening lamps were lit.
 
May this prayer, inspired by those ancient words, give us words and inspiration as we to turn to God, our Gladsome Light, especially “in times of stress, fear, and grief, in times of blindness, temptation, danger, and perdition”.

 
 


Twenty-first Century Phos Hilaron

O God, who is light in the darkness,
      we pray for those among us who in the night hours work their shifts,
            or those who labor in places where light is dim.
Be for them and for us protection in the dark.

O God, who is the bright morning star,
      we pray for those among us who grieve the loss of loved ones,
            the tarnishing of innocence,
            the failing of health,
            the flight of security.
Be for them and for us a sure defense and the promise of a new day.

O God, who is sight to the blind,
      we pray for those among us whose eyes are clouded,
      who are blind in soul, mind, or body.
Be for them and for us both courage and sight.

O God, who is strength to the besieged,
      we pray for those among us who are beset by temptation,
            those who are in danger,
            those whose enemies are close and whose help seems far away.
Be for them and for us a present fortress against our foes.

O God, who is salvation to the lost,
      we pray for those among us who have never found your way,
            or who, having found it, have strayed from your path.
Be for them and for us the beacon that guides safely home.

O God who is comfort to the fearful,
      we pray for those among us who live in fear of threats real or imagined,
            whose lives are torn by war,
            whose thoughts are confused by mental illness,
            whose souls and bodies are ravaged by abuse.
Be for them and for us consolation and surety against anxiety.

Give us wisdom, O God, to turn to you in times of stress, fear, and grief,
      in times of blindness, temptation, danger, and perdition.
Grant us patience to wait for you,
      and courage to be strong in your might,
            through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

 
~ posted on the Brummhart Publishing website
 


Phos Hilaron in word and song

 

Circling the globe

WHO website article on corona virus

 

With the corona virus circling the globe, causing such havoc and loss of life, here’s a prayer in song form that I hope will minister to you.

 
 


IN THE STILLNESS

by Irene Bom

VERSE 1
In the stillness, search my heart, O God
Help me turn and mend my ways
In the stillness, come, Lord, come
set my heart ablaze

VERSE 2
In the stillness, help me hear your voice
Tend my faith, so it may grow                          (revised)
In the stillness, come, Lord, come
feed my hungry soul

VERSE 3
In the stillness, shape my heart for love
Give me hope when things go wrong
In the stillness, come, Lord, come
be my strength, my song
 

This song was written as my March entry for the 12 song challenge organised by RESOUNDworship.org

 


 
FROM THE BLOG

Circle me, Lord
a firm favourite

3 Prayers for endings and beginnings
for a time such as this – the end of an era

Theme: Shelter under His wings
[prayer sheet]
 

Bright and beautiful


(Photo: Irene Bom)

 

Did you know? Cecil Frances Alexander’s hymn, “All things bright and beautiful” (published in 1848), was inspired by the words, Maker of heaven and earth, from the Apostle’s Creed. I’ve included the lyrics and a video below.

But first, an intergenerational story of creation (Genesis 1-2) from the Kairos Canada website told in gestures and words. May it brighten up your day.

 

The Story of Creation

In the beginning, the world was dark, and there was no shape.
(Put hands over eyes and shake head “no.”)

God moved over the water.
(Move arms left to right in front of body.)

Then God spoke and said, “Let there be light.”
(Cup hands around mouth.)

And there was light!
(Arch hands over head like you are making a big sun.)

And God said, “This is good!”
(Make a “thumbs up” sign.)

God separated the day from the night.
(Push arms away from sides of body.)

God separated the heavens from the earth.
(Push one arm up and one arm down vertically away from body.)

God separated the water from the land.
(Push arms away from front of body as if pushing something away from you.)

And God said, “This is good!”
(Make “thumbs up” sign.)

God made plants to grow.
(Squat down, put hands and arms together over your head, and slowly stand upward and reach high.)

God made the stars at night.
(While hands are still high over head, open hands and fingers wide, and wiggle fingers.)

And God said, “This is good!”
(Make “thumbs up” sign.)

God made the fish in the sea, and the birds in the air.
(Put hands together, fingers closed, and move them like a fish tail swimming; then put arms out at sides and flap like a bird.)

And God said, “This is good!”
(Make “thumbs up” sign.)

God made animals on the land.
(Let children imitate different animals they know–bunnies hopping, dogs barking, etc.)

And God said, “This is good!”
(Make “thumbs up” sign.)

Then God made people in God’s own image.
(Smile and point to self, then look to heavens.)

God said to the people, “Take good care of my world!”
(Point finger and shake it in front, as if shaking it at someone.)

And God said, “This world is good!”
(Make “thumbs up” sign and have all say “This is Good!”)

 
~ posted on KAIROS Water Worship Service and on re:worship

 


 

All things bright and beautiful
by Cecil Frances Alexander

Refrain:
All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful:
The Lord God made them all.

Each little flow’r that opens,
Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colors,
He made their tiny wings.

The purple-headed mountains,
The river running by,
The sunset and the morning
That brightens up the sky.

The cold wind in the winter,
The pleasant summer sun,
The ripe fruits in the garden,
He made them every one.

The tall trees in the greenwood,
The meadows where we play,
The rushes by the water,
To gather every day.

He gave us eyes to see them,
And lips that we might tell
How great is God Almighty,
Who has made all things well.

 


 
From the blog

Prayer sheet: Part of creation
A new nature
Summer-friendly spiritual practices
 

Theme: Rejoice in the Lord always

 

This prayer sheet is inspired by a recurring theme in Scripture: the phrase, “Rejoice in the Lord”.

 
For personal use or to share.


Joy is distinctly a Christian word and a Christian thing. It is the reverse of happiness. Happiness is the result of what happens of an agreeable sort. Joy has its springs deep down inside. And that spring never runs dry, no matter what happens. Only Jesus gives that joy. He had joy, singing its music within, even under the shadow of the cross.
S.D. Gordon

Continue reading “Theme: Rejoice in the Lord always”

Sola gratia – Deo gratias


Water lilies – in and on the water  (Photo: Irene Bom)
 
 

The words gratia and gratias point to a connection between grace and gratitude.

 
 
To bring to a close our reflections on the theme of “grace”, I’ve selected some Latin terms, a song, a reading, a bit of church history and a prayer of thanksgiving by Thomas Ken, writer of the traditional doxology, “Praise God from whom all blessings flow.”
 


By grace alone (Sola gratia)

[God] has saved us and called us to a holy life – not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Saviour, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.
 

 

“Only by grace” by Gerrit Gustafson

Thanks be to God (Deo gratias).

 
Note:
Sola gratia (“by grace alone”) is a foundational principle of the Reformation, along with two other core beliefs, Sola scriptura (“by Scripture alone”) and Sola fide (“by faith alone”).
 


Giver of All Good Things

Giver of all good things, we thank you:
for health and vigour,
for the air that gives the breath of life,
the sun that warms us,
and the good food that makes us strong;
for happy homes and for the friends we love,
for all that makes it good to live.

Make us thankful and eager to repay,
by cheerfulness and kindliness,
and by a readiness to help others.

Freely we have received; let us freely give,
in the name of him who gave his life for us,
Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.
 

by Thomas Ken (1637-1711)
 
source: re-worship.blogspot.com
 


 
From the blog
Ancient Irish Prayer
 

We are a body


 

The body of Christ is one of many metaphors used in the New Testament to describe the community of believers. Here is an all-age song I wrote in the mid-90’s incorporating some of these images.

Song


 

We are a body, we are a family,
we are the church of Jesus Christ.
We are a body, we are a family,
we are the church of Jesus Christ.
We are living stones,
we are a temple for God’s Spirit lives in us.
Hallelujah!  God has made us the church!
 


Call to worship: Here we are

inspired by 1 Samuel 3

God whispers to each of us:
you are my beloved,
created in love for love.
My spirit answers,
Here I am, Lord.
Speak to me anew.

God breathes on us the Holy Spirit,
knitting many members into one body,
the body of Christ.
Together we answer,
Here we are Lord.
Come, Holy Spirit.

God has yet more vision for the people.
Who will work for God to extend God’s kingdom
into our hurting world?
Here we are Lord.
Empower us for your work.

God calls the small, and helps them do great things.
God calls the weak, and reveals their hidden gifts.
God calls the rejected, and opens their eyes to their worth.
Here we are Lord, humble and waiting.

Then let us gather, old and young, small and great,
to dream God’s dreams,
receive God’s power,
and do God’s deeds.
Here we are Lord.
Shine the light of your love on us.
Kindle your Spirit within us.
Work your redeeming will in us,
that all the world may be one
through the power of your love. Amen.

 
by David Inglis
Posted on the Henrietta United Church of Christ website

Singing creation’s song


Spring in the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh  (Photo: Irene Bom)

 
I’m currently embarked on a 100-day project to declutter my house, every nook and cranny. In one of the boxes I found some lyrics by Cara Taylor, then aged 14 (now all grown up and a mother of two). Cara’s song is entitled, Creation’s song, and is loosely based on Genesis 1.

The chorus is particularly evocative, depicting God singing creation into being:

I am singing, singing creation’s song
Breathing life upon this new-born world,
I’m shaping flowers and trees,
making rivers and seas,
I’m singing creation’s song

 


 
To accompany Cara’s lyrics, here is a “Liturgy of Creation” that picks up on this theme, and expands it to include more of God’s creative expressions.

Liturgy of Creation

(based on Genesis 1)

In the beginning, all was darkness
and God said, “let there be light,
and because God had said it,
there was light.

In the beginning, all was silence
and God sang the song of creation,
and because God sang,
all the stars and spheres vibrated to the music of God.

In the beginning, all was still
and God laughed,
and because God laughed,
the waters took up the roar and the ripple of it;
and ebbed and flowed and seeped and swirled
and delighted in the ways of its being.

In the beginning, all was dull
and God painted,
and because God painted,
the sky became blue, and purple, and pink,
and rainbows hung there.
The grass became green
and flowers and butterflies danced in the drips
and settled like jewels on the earth.

In the beginning, all was unconscious
and God breathed,
and because God breathed,
men and women woke up from their sleeping,
they breathed of the very life of God
and stood in wonder before the work of God’s hands.
They beheld the glory of God in all that God had made
and they saw that it was very good.

 
posted on the Third Space website.
 


Nature tales

While visiting the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh in early spring, I had the privilege of having a robin perch on my knee.

I also spent a delightful few minutes watching a tiny bird with hardly any tail dart in and out of a tree with dangling fronds (a Betula Pendula ‘Tristis’), as it foraged, collecting titbits (animal? vegetable?), hopping, skipping, dangling and fluttering to keep its balance. Magnificent!