St Francis makes Christmas come alive


Brother Donkey, next to glory,
not an ass, but servant true;
Carries loads and finds in serving
how to live the life made new.

Next to glory, next to glory,
Christ our Jesus the Most High.
Next to glory, Christ our Jesus
comes to live in public eye.

Sister Ewe-sheep, next to glory,
clothes of wool, and meat provides,
bred and born for sacrificing,
generous in her love supplied.

Next to glory, next to glory,
Christ our Jesus the Most High.
Next to glory, Christ our Jesus
comes to live in public eye.

Brother Sheep-dog, next to glory,
faithful friend, who rounds up throngs.
Master’s love evangelises,
and brings us where we belong.

Next to glory, next to glory,
Christ our Jesus the Most High.
Next to glory, Christ our Jesus
comes to live in public eye.

Human baby, next to glory,
plays the role of God with us.
He grows up with Christ as his friend:
Mother’ s joy with others’ blends.

Next to glory, next to glory,
Christ our Jesus the Most High.
Next to glory, Christ our Jesus
comes to live in public eye.

Brother Francis, next to glory,
makes the crib to tell the tale;
each one living has a story:
puts all life on glory’s trail.

Next to glory, next to glory,
Christ our Jesus the Most High.
Next to glory, Christ our Jesus
comes to live in public eye.

Metre: 8787D

Tune:
e.g. Blanwern
OR  “What A Friend We Have in Jesus (Converse)”

© Ted Witham 2008

The first nativity scene at Greccio - Giotto

Sent into all the world


“Go out in pairs to find those sick with fear,”
Our Lord commanded those He’d gathered near ,
“Take strength and healing as you go along.
Chase far the promptings of the evil one.

“Carry a light load as you make your way ;
no heavy sack, spare shoes or extra cloak,
but fill your bags with love and healing power,
for every one you meet my Face invoke.”

Thus walking on, they healed and preached God’s love,
turned bad to good, changed fear to mighty heart,
brought peace to folks who cheered the Gospellers on,
and Satan fell from power.  God’s reign can start!

* Inspired by love, our father Francis hears,
then sends his brothers out in pairs to heal.
Their bags are crammed with love and poverty,
Jesus walks with them: earthly ‘Trinities’!

And so we too are sent into the world,
to mend its broken lives and fearful hearts,
our lives are plain, simplicity our call,
God’s generous love will amply be unfurled.

With Jesus near, our journey’s steps are light,
we laugh, make music, caring our delight!
We go with Jesus’ presence and his Bread,
and sing with joy as Jesus’ love is spread.

© Ted Witham 2008
* Omit this verse as appropriate
Metre 10 10 10 10
Tune: e.g. “Woodlands” or “Ellers”

Francis: A Patch on a Hurting World


There’s a patch on our Saint Francis. It’s the gift of being kind;
it’s the love that our dear Jesus has now brought to humankind.
It’s the patch that comes in cross-stitch; it’s the gift of Calvary.
It’s the love that knows no limits and we sew it to be free.

There’s a patch on Brother Francis, longing deep to right all wrongs;
it’s the gift of seeing clearly hate, greed, all that dupes the throngs.
It’s the patch we sew in anger and the colours start out red,
and the justice that we fight for beautifies the living thread.

We now bring our patches to you to make up a heart-joined quilt;
and with brother Francis helping soon a fellowship we’ve built.
We are learning to do justice, and walk humbly by your side,
so we’ll build your heaven’s Kingdom; linked to Jesus as our guide.

Ted Witham tssf 2006

Tune: There’s a Light Upon the Mountains (15.15.15.15)

Blanwearn or other 8787D tunes.

 

Altar patches

Patches for a hurting world

To the Song of Joy


My heart sings for joy to Jesus,

my heart knows who is its Lord;

my heart clings for joy to Jesus,

my soul up to heaven has soared.

Fruitfulness and playfulness are

joy’s companion in the day;

working side by side for God’s realm

lightens up the pilgrim’s way.

My heart hears for joy the story

of his birth and ministry;

My heart knows the greatest glory’s

joining in the mystery.

My heart knows for joy the Passion:

Crucified, now Risen still.

Spirit coming, gifts are given,

joy, love, hope and faith fulfil.

My heart cries for joy in sorrow,

grief and joy are part of love,

waiting for new life tomorrow –

God’s own self poured from above.

My heart aches for joy in sickness,

knowing underneath all’s well,

even when the surface ruffles,

Jesus rescues me from hell.

My heart leaps for joy when pardoned,

knowing that we’re reconciled.

My heart grows with joy in friendship,

everybody is God’s child.

My heart flies for joy with Francis,

my heart floats with joy with Clare,

like the little lamb that prances,

like the clouds upheld in air.

Ted Witham, 1991

 

Francis dances

Francis dances before Brother Sun