Wednesday, December 22, 2004

North Gold Verses

As I have served as the pastor for the three churches that comprise the North Gold Circuit (Downieville, North San Juan, Sierra City), it has been my great privilege and pleasure to travel through this beautiful country in which these communities are found. As I have traveled, I have been inspired to compose verses. Here are a few that can serve as riddles -- any guesses as to what each verse describes?

The mountains go to sleep at night,
and in the morning, wake,
to discover that,
in whitely silence,
they have been changed.

On the winter hillsides
of leafless trees,
one clump of green stand out:
it is Balder's bane.

That year:
the boy
had no spring in his step;
and the girl
brought us to a long fall.

Standing among the shadows
on the stone-mounted hillside,
people believe
they are walking
in the valley of the shadow.


Here I am donating my 24th pint of blood at BloodSource (I'm now a 3-gallon donor). This is something I recommend to all family and friends -- a gift which most of us are able to give with very little effort or cost to ourselves.

Some of My Music

On occasion I have been known to write songs and responses for the worship services here on the North Gold Circuit. In this space I'll post some of them from time to time. They are free for the use of the People of God -- although I would enjoy knowing where and when they have been used.

Here is my latest creation:
"A Hymn for Gold Country Churches"
Tune: Beach Spring (87.87 D) "Lord, Whose Love Through Humble Service" (#581 in The United Methodist Hymnal)

1. To the hills and to the mountains people came to look for gold,
drawn by promises of riches and the stories that were told.
But God knew that what they needed was a greater call and goal;
and a greater wealth awaited, hidden not in ground, but soul.

2. So God planted faithful churches where the people came to seek
for their fortune, hoping daily just to hit that lucky streak.
To those churches came the seekers, finding more than they had dared
ever hope to lay their hands on: finding there a God Who cared.

3. Laying down their picks and shovels, coming to the church to pray,
there they knelt before the altar, so to seek God’s holy way.
There God blessed those rugged people, hardy souls who sought and found
that the riches God had promised in their hearts and lives abound.

4. Many years these faithful churches have stood strong in times of need:
when the people fell or faltered; when they gave their lives to greed.
Then it was the churches’ mission to proclaim the love of God:
the forgiveness that was offered; show the way that Jesus trod.

5. Up here in these hills and mountains, searching still goes on for gold,
and the people still are coming just to hear the stories told.
So we tell the tale of Jesus: how he came our friend to be;
and from things that would enslave us -- death and sin -- to set us free.

6. Faithful churches, faithful people, serving Christ in word and deed;
not afraid to share the gospel, not ashamed to plant that seed.
In the power of the Spirit, living life in Jesus’ name,
so the folk of hill and mountain will be led to do the same.