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I’ve heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don’t really care for music, do you?
It goes like this
The fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah


Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty in the moonlight overthrew you
She tied you to her kitchen chair
She broke your throne and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Now, maybe there’s a god above,
As for me, all I ever learned from love
Is how to shoot at someone who outdrew you
But it’s not a cry that you hear tonight,
It’s not some pilgrim claims to have seen the light
No it’s a cold and it’s a very broken Hallelujah.

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Oh, people, I’ve been here before
I know this room and I’ve walked the floor
You see, I used to live alone before I knew you
And I’ve seen your flag on the marble arch
But this is not some kind of victory march, no
It’s a cold and it’s a very lonely Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

There was a time you let me know
What’s really going on below,
But now, now you never ever even show it to me, do you?
I remember when I moved in you,
And the holy dove, she was moving too,
And every single breath that we drew was Hallelujah.

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

I’ve done my best, I know it wasn’t much
I couldn’t feel, so I learned to touch
I’ve told the truth, I didn’t come all this way just to fool you
Yeah, even though it all went wrong
I’ll stand right here before the Lord of Song
With nothing, nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

with thanks to Parker Palmer who set the poem to the background….:-)


England celebrates May Day today, 1st May.  Related to the celtic festival of Beltaine, May Day is a celebration to mark the banishment of the cold, dark winter and to welcome in the summer.  It was a time when the cattle were turned out to their pastures.  Fertility was important, and the Beltaine celebrations were centered around blessing the earth and making offerings for a good harvest later in the year.  May Day was traditionally the day that saw renewal, rebirth, re-awakening and regrowth begin.

Villages all over England have their own May Day traditions, often built around maypole dances, Morris men, the crowning of a Queen of the May and the revels of the Green Man or Jack-in-the-Green, an ancient woodland spirit.  The tradition goes back to the 17th century.

Morris Dancing is common on May Day and in true English style, there are many different styles of dress and dancing.  They are broadly similar and since the 1970s have enjoyed a big revival all over the country. Forms of this type of folk dance can claim pre-Christian origins and may have developed as a means of ensuring fertility of the soil, crops and animals when the survival of whole communities depended on the fortune of the crops.  The ritual elements of its origins can still be seen in the dances today  the clockwise circle to represent the sun, crouching down, leaping in the air and banging sticks on the ground to encourage the crops to grow.  Handkerchiefs are waved, bells ring and sticks are clashed to ward off evil spirits.

Vassar College Plaiting the May Pole

May 1911  U. of Missouri

WATCH DANCE AND WEAVING: May Day Festival at Brideport Mountfield Green 2005

Many years ago, one Easter Sunday morning when my husband and I lived in Barboursville, W.Va., and had a small three year old son, a young neighbor girl of ours paid us a Sunday visit. She was dressed in a simple pastel dress, was wearing matching heels and short white gloves. She was also carrying her Bible and had just come from church.

She came by to wish us a happy Easter. She was warm and her intentions filled our life with her sweetness for a while on that Spring day. We were away from family and friends, having moved to a new home in a faraway place. We were touched and reassured by her gentle presence.

I have often wondered, if I could do my life over again, just what one thing would I change? My answer, and it always remains the same as I ponder the thought: I would learn to be more of a “lady.” To have more manners, to be more thoughtful, more serene, and polite.

I would enjoy even more the feminine things: dresses, babies, flowers, scents, giggles, and a lightness of being. I’d want to be softer and lighter, more serene and gracious than I am, like the young girl that Easter morning.

These days I enjoy seeing my granddaughters develop these traits in the encouraging presence of their mother.  She carefully does their nails and puts the matching bows in their hair. She has taught them to mind their manners and learn to share.  She speaks well of them and offers a gentle embrace. Today’s blog is to honor young ladies, their beauty, innocence and joy of life.

I pray that the world will become safer for them all.

You must wake and call me early, call me early, mother dear;
To-morrow ’ill be the happiest time of all the glad New-year;
Of all the glad New-year, mother, the maddest merriest day,
For I’m to be Queen o’ the May, mother, I’m to be Queen o’ the May.
Little Effie shall go with me to-morrow to the green,
And you’ll be there, too, mother, to see me made the Queen;
For the shepherd lads on every side ’ill come from far away,
And I’m to be Queen o’ the May, mother, I’m to be Queen o’ the May.
The honeysuckle round the porch has woven its wavy bowers,
And by the meadow-trenches blow the faint sweet cuckoo-flowers;
And the wild marsh-marigold shines like fire in swamps and hollows gray,
And I’m to be Queen o’ the May, mother, I’m to be Queen o’ the May.
The night-winds come and go, mother, upon the meadow-grass,
And the happy stars above them seem to brighten as they pass;
There will not be a drop of rain the whole of the livelong day,
And I’m to be Queen o’ the May, mother, I’m to be Queen o’ the May.
All the valley, mother, ’ill be fresh and green and still,
And the cowslip and the crowfoot are over all the hill,
And the rivulet in the flowery dale ’ill merrily glance and play,
For I’m to be Queen o’ the May, mother, I’m to be Queen o’ the May.
So you must wake and call me early, call me eary, mother dear,
To-morrow ’ill be the happiest time of all the glad New-year;
To-morrow ’ill be of all the year the maddest merriest day,
For I’m to be Queen o’ the May, mother, I’m to be Queen o’ the May.

Wreaths for the May! for happy Spring
To-day shall all her dowry bring, The love of kind, the joy, the grace,
Hymen of element and race,
Knowing well to celebrate
With song and hue and star and state,
With tender light and youthful cheer,
The spousals of the new-born year.

Spring is strong and virtuous,
Broad-sowing, cheerful, plenteous,
Quickening underneath the mould
Grains beyond the price of gold.
So deep and large her bounties are,
That one broad, long midsummer day
Shall to the planet overpay
The ravage of a year of war.



River in Judea

VoicesRaised_block Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. (Revelation 22:1-2 NIV)

“There is a river in Judea that I heard of long ago. And it’s a singing, ringing river that my soul cries out to know . . .” The choirs first sang River in Judea by John Leavitt at our first worship festival in November of 1998. Since that time we have sung it many times and in many places. It is a song that has touched many people.  The words talk about a river that “freely flows” and “fills me up”.  Water is a symbol of the Holy Spirit.  The Love of God flows out to us through the Holy Spirit. The book of Revelation talks about the crystal-clear rivers of living water “flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city” (Revelation 22:1-2 NIV). Just as a river brings life wherever it flows, let the living waters of the Holy Spirit fill you up, give you Life and then spill out to all those around you.

River in Judea

Often times I dream of music, of the river that freely flows.
And it sings a song sweeter than honey, one every body knows.
Late at night I hear it singing then again when I wake at dawn.
And it fills me up with hope and goodwill, the will to go on, go on.

There is a river in Judea, that I heard of long ago.
And it’s a singing, ringing river that my soul cries out (my soul cries out) to know.

I believe it keeps on travelin’ but it rests on the Sabbath day.
And the time when it pauses in stillness, I almost hear it pray.
When I’m weary and downhearted, how I long for the song it sings,
For the calm within its gentle blue, the peace that it brings, it brings.

May the time not be too distant when we meet by the river (meet by the) shore.
‘Til then dream of that wonderful day as we sing once more (once more):

There is a river in Judea (Hallelu) that I heard of long ago (Hallelu).
It’s a singing, ringing river that my soul cries out,
My soul cries out to know (the River in Judea, Hallelujah!)

River in Judea © 1989 Shawnee Press, Inc. Words: Linda Marcus. Music: Jack Feldman. Arrangment: John Leavitt. All rights reserved. Used by permission. CCLI #646016


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Joan of Arc

I know this now. Every man gives his life for what he believes. Every woman gives her life for what she believes. Sometimes people believe in little or nothing yet they give their lives to that little or nothing. One life is all we have and we live it as we believe in living it. And then it is gone. But to sacrifice what you are and live without belief, that's more terrible than dying.--

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March 2020



On the day when
the weight deadens
on your shoulders
and you stumble,
may the clay dance
to balance you.

And when your eyes
freeze behind
the grey window
and the ghost of loss
gets in to you,
may a flock of colours,
indigo, red, green,
and azure blue
come to awaken in you
a meadow of delight.

When the canvas frays
in the currach of thought
and a stain of ocean
blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight
to bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.
And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.

John O'Donohue, Echoes of Memory