Gaze on the Mirror of Eternity


Gaze upon the Lord of love,
gaze upon his face of grace;
gaze upon the living One
who holds you in close embrace.

Gaze upon the Lord of love,
gaze upon his coming poor
from the highest of the heavens
to our lowly earthly shore.

Look upon his loving way,
look upon his open heart,
look upon his sacred cross,
from death’s dust to bring new start.

If you learn from suffering,
If you open to life’s pain,
and allow your heart to weep,
then with him you’ll always reign.

Gaze upon the Lord’s dear cross,
the wounds of each day’s love,
Gaze on his life, and know the
splendours of God’s heav’n above.

  • Adapted from St Clare of Assisi and the Irish Province OFM
  • Sing to The Carnival is Over
    NOTE: To sing the last stanza, repeat the last 8 bars of the music,
    i.e. from Bar 25 to the second ending.
  • Or leave out the last four lines of the words.

Wild Birds


WILD BIRDS – HYMN FOR ST GEORGE’S DUNSBOROUGH

We are God’s good people of St George’s,
God’s folk of ocean capes and bays.
We are all worshipping our Saviour,
serving our God through all of our days.

We all take joy from wide-winged osprey
who fly so high, and then go higher:
their praise, their joy and their exultation
will lift up our hearts and so inspire.

We lift our eyes to curlew sandpipers
who cross the seas to nest and feed:
in freedom they set out on their long journeys,
and for their faith God meets their need.

O Holy Spirit, teach us to be wild birds,
to fly with you, praise from the heart:
to follow with courage, to cherish the journey,
so living and trusting to take our part.

  • Ted Witham, Pentecost 2015
  • Metre 98 98 (St Clement)
  • Curlew sandpiper. Migrating annually from the Arctic to SW Australia

    Back in the early 1990s, the late Bob Waterhouse, a priest friend, wrote a song for his parish, The Wild Geese. I thought it might be good to sing this song for Pentecost 2015 at St George’s in Dunsborough. But Fr Bob’s words are specific to St Matthew’s, and the wild geese are not native to Dunsborough. So, inspired by Bob’s song, I gifted the song below to the parish of Dunsborough, who sung it for the first time with appropriate devotion.

    Cape Naturaliste via Dunsborough

WIde-winged eastern osprey

Saint Elizabeth of Hungary


We praise you, God, for your great saint
Elizabeth of Hungary:
the queen who gave her throne away
to learn to live in poverty.

Like your dear Son, she chose to not
take her great wealth as her just due:
with love, she emptied out her claim
and humbly meek, she followed you.

To serve her friends became her life,
she built a hospice for the poor;
she helped the sick, and left the court
to study God for evermore.

Franciscan friars taught her that
to love God is the highest call.
Not only did she serve her peers,
but now her life inspires us all.

Franciscan sisters in the West
honoured her name in Bunbury;
they helped new settlers make a life
in their hardship and poverty.*

Teach us, dear God, deep gratitude
for all the wealth you’ve given us.
Teach us to take the narrow way
that leads us to be generous.

Let us like saint Elizabeth
make serving God our highest aim.
We give ourselves for others’ need
to magnify Christ Jesus’ Name.

2012

* The Anglican Sisters of St Elizabeth of Hungary (OSEH) served in south-west Australia in the 20th Century. They earned the nickname “The Little Grey Sparrows“.

Metre: 88 88 “Morning Hymn” TiS 557, TH 11

Saint Elizabeth of Hungary – The Miracle of the Roses by Gustave Moreau

When Time Was Set Anew – Christmas


When God’s creation first began,
the planets sing, in orbits go,
rocks and lizards praise One they know,
Word and Wisdom carry God’s plan.
When time was set anew for you,
God refreshed,
Word is born for you.

Women and men danced with their God,
Some loved God still, some lost ways trod –
some fought in hate, stuffed sick with greed.
Some turned their backs on all in need.
When time was set anew….

Then God’s wise Word was incarnate,
Jesus the Son, human-divine.
Word and Wisdom still made the sign:
God still forgives, new life creates.
When time was set anew….

So dear Saint Francis meant to show
the baby Jesus in manger there.
Word and Wisdom were full of care,
In loving Him, more love you’ll know.
When time was set anew….

 Jesus lives, him we choose to adore,
turn from our self-centredness,
in his good time, we will be blessed,
and dance with God for ever more.
When time was set anew…..

 Ted Witham Christmas 2011

Metre 88.88.88 Sussex Carol (TiS 300)
Melita (TiS 138)
St  Petersburg (TiS 375)

THe perichoresis (dance) of the Trinity - sub-atomic particles

 

Shout for Life to the Day


SHOUT FOR LIFE TO THE DAY

[Hail thee festival day]

 Verses by Venantius Honoris Fortunatus

REFRAIN

Shout for life to the day,

When Jesus leaped out of the closed grave.

Sing at the top of your voice

Calling the world to rejoice.

 

1 (A). See the first rains of the year,

From the dryness of summer refreshing.

Every new sign of life,

Now with its Master returns.

Refrain

 

2. (B) He who was nailed to the Cross

is Lord and the ruler of nature,

all things created on earth

sing to the glory of God.

Refrain

 

3. (A) Gently the greenness returns

Pulsing with the power of new growth.

Heaven’s energy is unleashed

Flinging an increase of life.

Refrain

 

4. (B) Rise from the grave now. O Lord,

The author of life and creation.

Treading the pathway of death,

Life you are giving to all.

Refrain.

 

5. (A) God the Creator, the Lord,

who rules all the earth and the heavens,

guard us from harm from outside,

cleanse us from evil within.

Refrain

6. (B) Jesus the health of the world,

enlighten our mind, loved Redeemer,

Sent from the Godhead above

endlessly folded in God.

Refrain

 

7. (A) Spirit of life and power,

now flow in us, fount of our being.

Light that gives life to all,

Life that does saturate all.

Refrain

 

8. (B) Praise to the Giver of good,

You are love and the one Reconciler,

Pour out your generous love.

Order our ways in peace.

Refrain

 

Words: Verses: Venantius Honoris Fortunatus (alt.)

Refrain : Ted Witham

Music: Salve Festa Dies, Ralph Vaughan Williams EH 624 or TIS 423

"Jesus leaped out of the closed grave"

Easter So Surprising


1.      He is kindness without ending;
he is rain after long drought;
he is pure light without bending;
he is life that’s been let out.
He is Easter so surprising,
he’s the whistling of the fife;
he is Jesus who is rising;
he’s the bringer of new life.

2.      He is music when we’re singing,
he is freedom when we play;
he walks with us as we’re working;
his breath in us as we pray.
He is conscience when we’re straying;
challenging our idleness;
he forgives us – not delaying –
when we own our sinfulness.

3.      He is present as a dear friend;
deep within our blessedness.
Our companion at our life’s end,
brilliant light in loneliness.
He restores us in our suffering,
brings us to our heavenly rest;
leads us back from all our wandering;
guiding us to where is best.

4.      Make an altar of Christ’s manger;
of Christ’s cross a sanctuary.
In Emmaus, greet the Stranger,
Christ communes here – it is He.
He is Easter so surprising,
he’s the whistling of the fife;
he is Jesus who is rising;
he’s the bringer of new life.

Metre: 8787D. Tune: Nettleton
or Hyfrydol, or Abbots Leigh.

God in Embryo


God in embryo,
the Universal God
in the womb will grow
as our dear flesh and blood.

New-born baby boy,
Maker of every plan,
new life now deploys,
Human God – Divine Man.

Jesus frees and heals,
compassion is God’s mark;
all our cares he feels,
and lightens up our dark.

God now fixed on Cross,
his glory hid from view,
gains flow from his loss:
new life has come to you.

Tiny speck in womb,
and soon the Cosmic Lord:
Universe makes room –
Today we’re born with God.

Ted Witham 2010
Tune : 5656 ‘Bless the Lord My Soul’ (Taizé) TIS 706

Natal Microcosm (courtesy NASA)

The Christmas Ballad


Once a little baby born in old Bethlehem
Under the shade of the horses’ pepper tree,
And his hands had the prints of the nails, alleluia,
You’ll be a pilgrim, my darling, with me.

You’ll walk to heaven, you’ll walk to heaven,
You’ll walk to heaven alongside me,
And his hands had the prints of the nails, alleluia,
You’ll be a pilgrim, my darling, with me.

It rained all day at the time of his christening,
It brought down blessings for you and me.
And his hands had the prints of the nails, alleluia,
You’ll be a gospeller, my darling, with me.

You’ll tell the story, you’ll tell the story,
You’ll tell the story that sets the world free.
And his hands had the prints of the nails, alleluia,
You’ll be a gospeller, my darling, with me.

Along came old Satan to dry up all the blessing,
And put an end to love that’s true.
And his hands were as smooth as anything that’s empty,
He is a poisoner of the wells for you.

You’ll guard our water, you’ll guard our water,
You’ll guard the springs of community.
And Christ’s hands had the prints of the nails, alleluia,
You’ll keep its love and its purity.

He fought old Satan on top of Hill of Calvary,
He beat him down to his end, you see.
And his hands had the prints of the nails, alleluia,
You’ll laugh for ever, my darling, with me.

You’ll laugh for ever, you’ll laugh for ever,
We’ll laugh together for Jesus is free.
And his hands had the prints of the nails, alleluia,
We’ll laugh for ever, for Jesus is free.

© Ted Witham 1996

Tune: “Waltzing Matilda’

Ballad inspired by Norman Habel and Pro Hart's Outback Christmas

The Stigmata


When Francis our father received the stigmata,
he climbed up Averna and prayed from the heart.
With all his believing, he now is receiving
the marks on his body of being in Christ.

So first there is Moses, who on our God closes
by opening his life to the power of the law.
He follows obeying, and does what God’s saying:
the marks on his body of being in Christ.

And next there is Jesus who brightness releases.
On Carmel he’s climbing and shines in the light.
The truth that he’s revealing, with serving we’re sealing
the marks on our body of being in Christ.

So when our Saint Francis on Averna dances,
He turns to the Lord and is won by the Cross.
Obeying and seeing, and turning and freeing
the marks on his body of being in Christ.

Now we who are living find joy in thanksgiving.
We seek out a place to pause and to pray.
The love that we’re gaining is expressed with pain in
the marks on our body of being in Christ.

This hymn was inspired by Moses’ experience of the glory of God when he climbed Mount Sinai. This is described in Exodus 24:12-18 set for the Old Testament reading for the Stigmata (in the Australian Third Order Manual).

The metre of the hymn is 12.11.12.11 and the words were written to fit the tune “Kremser” (Together in Song 107).  It can also be sung to the “Ash Grove” (Together in Song 531) (either repeat verse 1 at the end, or start verse 5 from line 5 of the music to fit “The Ash Grove”).

© Ted Witham tssf, Stigmata 2007

The Stigmatizing of St Francis - Caravaggio

Love, All Love


The heart of our God is love, all love;
Love fills the Universe with love.
The galaxies sway their loving song;
Each living cell beats out with love.

The heart of Jesus is love, all love;
He raised the lowly, embraced the poor;
He mends the broken and rises from dying,
Lives on to love for evermore.

The heart of Francis is love, all love;
Embraced the leper, clung to the Cross.
He sings in joy, he’s humble in loving;
God All in All, all else is loss.

The heart of living is love, all love;
Love fills our hearts, turns to the Son.
With bread and wine the love inside us,
We take this love to everyone.

Ted Witham 2010
Written for the WA Third Order Convocation 2010
Metre 9898 St Clement TIS 458
O Waly, Waly TIS 536