My Spider Dream

I had a dream the other night that I've been pondering ever since I woke up. The details are sketchy, but here are the basics.

I was in a house that apparently was my home, although it bore no resemblance to my current house. The lighting was poor, and the walls and floor were made of crude pieces of wood. If I'd been self-aware I would have wondered if I'd watched some sort of haunted house program on TV before falling asleep.

In every single doorway of this house, there was a spiderweb that spanned across, making it very difficult to pass into the next room. The webs were huge and intricate. They were masterpieces, really. And the spiders who made them were very active on them, keeping them up as best they could. If I wanted to enter a room, I'd have to duck so as not to disturb the beautiful weavings of my houseguests. And I actually did this. I couldn't tell you why, but I actually did try to avoid breaking down these webs. I held myself to this despite the incredible inconvenience and detriment to effective living that it caused to me.

There came a point in the dream, however, where it dawned on me just how big of a hindrance this practice was. What were these spiders doing in my house to begin with, and why was I treating them with such respect and care? They were keeping me from creating a true home; from moving through my house with ease and comfort. At that point, I didn't care any more. I tore through those webs with little thought for the spiders' feelings. I faced no backlash from them; they just seemed to disappear. And soon after that, I woke up. The dream ended with a feeling of great satisfaction on my part.

The night of this dream, I'd spent the day at a workshop on anxiety in ministry: its effects on both pastor and congregation, and how to manage it as opposed to how to avoid it. A good portion of it was spent talking about self-differentiation: the idea that you are your own person; another's problems can't or shouldn't be your own. You have your own identity and your own self-care needs, and they shouldn't be enveloped by those of another.

The workshop served as a good reminder. There have been times as a pastor when I feel like I've been on-call for the problems of a few, at my own and others' expense, which I think ultimately wasn't all that helpful to anyone involved. But in these cases, my own needs suffered and it certainly showed. In the instances when I've let the spiders rule, and I've lived hunched-over and careful not to disturb them.

The Swing of the Pendulum

Okay. This blog post is going to make me look like a chump. I'm telling you this up front because I want you to see that I'm acknowledging that fact. And in case you're wondering why I'm writing this post at all when I easily could have posted a lolcat picture or something and just forgotten about the whole thing, I feel like I owe it to my readership to come clean on this issue, and you'll see why in a second.

During Holy Week, our ministerial association holds an ecumenical service. We don't robe, although the Catholic priest and Lutheran pastor tend to, anyway. The rest of us wear suits, more or less. So before the service, I went to my closet, pored over my rack of shirts, suits, and pants, and made my selection: my black pinstripe suit with purple dress shirt and silver tie. I looked good, I felt good, and I thought I was dressed well enough to help lead worship with my colleagues.

On Easter morning, I picked out my blue pinstripe suit with a green shirt and matching tie with both blues and greens in it. I wore my alb over it, but I thought the lighter colors went with the day and the season, even if nobody could see it.

Have you picked up on how I'm a chump yet?

If you haven't, perhaps reading this, this, this, and this will help.

Yeah. I'm back to wearing ties instead of collars. All those pixels spent on how clerical shirts are important to communicating pastoral identity, and in practice I'm going back on all of it.

When I walked into my closet the night of that ecumenical service, I admitted to myself that I'd become disenchanted with my clerical shirts. It's not about me, I know. But I began to realize a few things as I ran through my counterarguments for such thoughts, which are the same arguments I'd made in those earlier blog posts.

First: are these essential to where I'm engaging in ministry? My congregation doesn't require that I wear them. Some have expressed appreciation for them, but I think it's more appreciation for my claiming my role than the specific thing that I'm wearing. However you need to do it, my members have implied or outright stated, claim your authority among us. So for a while, wearing clericals was a part of that, a means to an end. The handful of my congregants at that ecumenical service didn't seem to notice that I'd broken from my collar-wearing ways, so this specific outward expression of my role wasn't a big deal for them. This was repeated on Easter, when the only comments I got about my appearance was how nice my shirt and tie looked.

Second: I've come to the conclusion that by wearing these shirts I was trying to embody someone else's ministry. I've mentioned collared pastors whom I admire from afar; how they make the collar work for them while still reaching a diversity of people. These were big inspirations for my beginning to wear them. I admire their ability to wear the collar but exude pastoral authority in non-stuffy ways. And so one of the things I was thinking when pondering the collar was, "Hey, these cool people wear them, and they're cool, and they're doing cool ministry things, so I'm going to wear them too!" That's probably been the shadowy side of this clerical business for me since I first started considering them. But after a while I realized that the collar isn't really authentic to what I'm about. In a sense, I was trying to be someone else.

Third, I think that I really did need to wear collars this past year. Swinging the clergy attire pendulum all the way to that side helped me discern certain things about my sense of call and identity, and claim them. Now that I have done so, I feel more comfortable in shirts and ties as an outward expression of that identity in settings that warrant them. I'm frequently the only one wearing a shirt with tie on Sundays, and that in itself can be a clergy shirt. I've come to a new appreciation for how important dress is as an outward mark of my vocation, and wearing clericals for a time was critical for that to happen.

This past year of wearing clericals was an important one to my growth and understanding as a pastor, and I'm glad that I did it with such intentionality in order to achieve that growth and understanding. I'm certainly going to keep these shirts around. There will come moments when I need to make hospital visits with minimal questions, for instance. I may even keep a few in my church office for such needs. And there will be worship moments when they still seem appropriate as well: I still wore a black clerical shirt both for Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, for instance. I may wear the short-sleeved ones during the summer. They won't just hang in my closet collecting fuzz and dust.

But I can appreciate formal pastoral attire now in ways that I didn't before. That's the big takeaway from all this reflecting. This past year was necessary, but now I can allow the pendulum to swing back the other way a little to a place where I feel comfortable and authentic.

A Week Off

The pic on the left is how I'm feeling.

I'll return to blogging next week.

Pop Culture Roundup

I'm still reading Dark Night of the Soul by St. John of the Cross, although it is much slower-going than it was a few weeks ago. And...uh...that's all I got for that right now.

WWE Wrestlemania 28 happened on April 1st, and we watched with gusto. There were hits and misses, as every Wrestlemania has. Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus was all of 18 seconds long with Sheamus becoming the new World Heavyweight Champion, but it was one of those strange things where Bryan seemed to benefit more from it: there were chants for him the rest of the night and the following night on RAW, particularly his now-signature "Yes! Yes! Yes!" Undertaker/Triple H was less a match and more of a drama, as the story was bigger than the specific moves. Eventually, Undertaker extended his Wrestlemania undefeated streak to 20-0 and the three involved (Shawn Michaels was the guest referee) had a great final bow together afterward. Chris Jericho and CM Punk also put on a great match, although the storyline was a bit overcooked. And then of course there was John Cena vs. The Rock, a year in the making, to close things out. I was pleasantly surprised when Rock won, and he indicated on RAW that he isn't done yet. All in all, it was one of the more enjoyable Wrestlemanias that I can remember.

I've had the WWE: Greatest Rivalries - Shawn vs. Bret sitting on my DVD rack for a few months now, and finally got around to watching it. This features Shawn Michaels and Bret "Hitman" Hart sitting down together and recapping their time together in the WWE in tag teams and then as singles stars, including their storyline and real life rivalry through the 1990s. The most infamous moment in this rivalry was the incident known as the Montreal Screwjob in November 1997 at the Survivor Series, where the WWE Championship was taken off of Hart in a finish rigged by Michaels and owner Vince McMahon (as in really rigged, not wrestling rigged). They of course talked about this at length, with both men showing remorse that things ended up that way. The whole interview and recap was quite interesting and revealed a lot that I and many others didn't really know had gone on behind the scenes.

I watched the premiere of Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23 this past week. We meet June, who moves to New York City from rural Indiana only to find that the firm that hired her has collapsed. She ends up finding Chloe for a roommate, who it turns out schemes the first and last month's rent from a revolving door of roommates before acting so crazy as to get them to leave. June and Chloe come to an understanding over the course of the episode, but I'm sure that that understanding will be tested in the future. Also featured is James Van Der Beek as himself, who happens to be Chloe's best friend and who comes and goes to provide laughs. The comedy of the show strives to be in the vein of what Arrested Development, Better Off Ted, and The Office did before it, although I'm not completely convinced that they're doing it well. I'll probably need a few more episodes to decide.

I just discovered The Kills this week, to which some may say, "What took you so long?" I know, right? Anyway, here's the video for their song "U R A Fever:"

And here's a video called "Where the Hell is Matt?" I'm apparently late in discovering this as well. Watching it makes me happy.

"I'm Not Bigger Yet"

A few months ago, I was strapping Coffeeson into his carseat. We were getting ready to go to preschool that morning, and I had just encouraged him to climb in so that I could buckle everything around him. I can't pretend to know why or remember what prompted it, but as I was clipping everything together he said, "I'm not bigger yet."

My best guess is that it was a commentary on having to sit in the carseat. It will be years before he can sit in a regular seat and wear a seatbelt like his parents. The context of the statement supports my theory, but it's only a theory. He could have been thinking about something else, or perhaps he just felt like saying it. I doubt he remembers that moment, so I can't ask him about it now. So here I am, that statement still with me: "I'm not bigger yet."

There's something about the word "yet" that is hopeful. There's something about that word that points out that something is inevitable. You're not something now, but you will be at some future point in time. You can't do something now, but eventually, when you have the size, the money, the experience, the practiced ability, you will. I haven't done this, seen this, been this yet. But I will. Just give me time. You'll see. And maybe the word is used patiently, or maybe the person saying it can't wait. Not yet. But someday.

Whatever "I'm not bigger yet" meant that day, Coffeeson knows that he'll get bigger. He's not yet, but eventually just wait and see. And when he's bigger, he'll do all sorts of things.

He's already doing some of them. We've moved the changing table out of his bedroom and into the eventual new nursery, and soon we'll swap out his daybed for a pair of "big boy beds." Just the other day, he decided he's done with his booster seat for meals; now he sits in a regular chair like Mommy and Daddy. He knows how to work electronic devices already and feels perfectly capable of starting his own DVDs. He's potty-trained save for nighttime, but we're working on that. And we're just beginning to phase out sippy cups. He can already drink out of regular cups, but sippy cups are handy for school days.

I like to think that it really wasn't that long ago that I was changing diapers a dozen times a day and warming bottles another dozen, when he was just learning to roll over and otherwise was content on his playmat. But those days are really more in the past than I want to admit. Back then he wasn't bigger yet, but now he is. And he's not bigger yet to do some other things, but he will be.

I wonder how much of parents lamenting their children growing up has to do with being needed. Coffeeson still needs me to do plenty. He still needs me to cut his food for him and to help button shirts, to get a leg up onto a high chair and to pour more juice into his cup. He still needs me to hold him when he's sad or scared, to read to him at night and to assure him that I'm nearby when he's falling asleep. He's not bigger yet to not need these things from me, but he will be.

And then what will I do? What will I be able to do for him? I suppose that I can still help him navigate his first years at school. I can still help him learn how to drive. I can help him visit and apply to colleges, or help him pick a trade. I can help him with questions about church and faith, such as I understand those things myself. I can help him with questions about love and death, and baseball and music. There will also be times when I feel completely helpless, like I'll have nothing to offer except my love and support in those hard life lessons that you just end up learning whether you want to or not.

No, you're not bigger yet, little friend. You're not bigger yet to sit in a regular car seat or tie your own shoes. You're not bigger yet to ride the bus or do algebra. You're not bigger yet to drive or ask a girl to prom or graduate high school. You're not bigger yet to wrestle with the big abstract questions that don't really seem to have satisfactory answers.

You're not bigger yet for any of that. But I'm okay with waiting a while until you are.

Easter Sunday

When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. 2And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. 3They had been saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” 4When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. 5As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. 6But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. 7But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.” 8So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.- Mark 16:1-8

The Silence of Death

When I was a hospital chaplain, I was present for the death of a patient. It was the first time that I experienced such a moment, and it was really by happenstance that I was there. I was making my way around the rooms in the Cardiac Care Unit, making it a point to visit the newest patients first in order to assess their spiritual needs, and this woman, elderly and frail, was among them.

When I entered the room, she had a niece and her husband visiting. She wasn't conscious in the least, hooked up to all sorts of machines and tubes. As I talked with her family, they expressed that they were basically here for the inevitable, having already made the decision to remove life support. There wasn't anything more that could be done, and they had made peace with letting her body give out on its own.

We watched in silence as the numbers on her machines gradually dropped, her life measured in beeps and jagged lines slipping away until the nurse walked in, looked at the screen, and said, "That's it." He turned the machines off, talked to the family, and left to start some paperwork. The family didn't stick around much longer. They thanked me for my visit, and went to begin making arrangements of their own.

The entire scene was quite understated on the surface. I can't imagine that too many people on the unit at the time were aware that this moment occurred. I'd offered a prayer at some point during this, but the only words that accompanied the death itself were "That's it." Not exactly the profound poetry one hopes for in times like that, just a simple final pronouncement. The family seemed calm, with little to no outward signs of grieving to be observed.

As for myself, I remember needing the rest of the day to process things. I'd replay this quick slippage into lifelessness, this silent moment broken only by the words "That's it." The family didn't have strong need of a chaplain, but I needed some time with my fellow interns later in the day.

Years ago, I read a book detailing how at the cellular level death is anything but silent. Your body fights tooth and nail until the very end to stay alive, redirecting resources as best it can until it just can't do anything more. We who stood around this woman with only the sounds of the machines couldn't see that happening. But even that body's inner workings, having done their best, eventually fell silent.

The current focus of my journey through the Ignatian Exercises is on the events of Jesus' final week. The invitation while reflecting on these passages is to enter into the story, to take part in it somehow, to feel what Jesus or the disciples felt, to see what they see or hear what they hear. When reflecting on the scene of the crucifixion itself, it was as if for the first time--and maybe in a sense, it really was the first time--that I was mortified at seeing this man beaten, mocked, and killed for sport. Sure, the powers that be had their own reasons: the containment of hope, as President Snow puts it in the Hunger Games movie. But for the crowds, it was a form of entertainment much like the French Revolution's guillotine centuries later and much like the title event in the aforementioned movie.

Jesus' death was not silent. It was not accompanied by a simple "That's it." It was public theatre for people pleased that it finally happened and for people with nothing better to do. Jesus himself is largely silent save for a few sentences and one definitive final cry while his organs and cells strive futilely to hang on until they can do no more. The civil and religious authorities have laid claim to the body's workings, and have declared victory over it.

The good news that billions of Christians will celebrate in another day or two is that this is a false victory. These bloodthirsty powers who kill dramatically and publicly, who keep the peace through force and intimidation don't get to have the final declaration in this matter. Instead, there will be a new noise, a powerful sound that will pierce through death's silence and declaring, "That's not it.

"That's not it at all."


There are a fair amount of churches that, as part of their Easter celebrations, are planning sunrise services sometime early Easter morning. My church will not be holding one, although there was a time in the not-so-distant past when they did, led by dedicated and faithful lay members. I am told that this consisted of the group gathering on folding chairs on the concrete slab by our cemetery to watch the sun rise from behind the trees, and give glory to God for the new day and for resurrection. This was followed by a breakfast in the fellowship hall. Apparently the practice faded out due to dwindling numbers and the eventual inability of those entrusted with leadership to continue on in their role.

My experience with sunrise services is limited to a small 5-year window of time when at my father's final settled pastorate. There may have been sunrise services at other churches he served, but these are the only ones I remember. I recall getting up before dawn, sleepily pulling on clothes and trying to avoid looking for eggs while passing through the living room on the way to the garage. We'd drive a few miles out to a member's farm, where we'd tromp through a field trying our best to avoid getting our shoes too muddy, and come to a small setup of chairs with a beautiful view overlooking the countryside. It was over the endless hills of harvested cornfields that we'd watch the sun rise, and then gather in a barn for donuts.

The donuts were the main thing for me at that age, but I did also sense the special nature of this time. I didn't often awake that early, let alone experience worship in jeans and a coat, the smell of manure wafting by as daylight began to shine on the faces of our small gathering. At that point, this was a part of my family's Easter observance.

For me, that was the beginning and end of my sunrise service experience. My eventual home church didn't begin to have one until after I'd established myself elsewhere, and churches I was a part of in college and seminary didn't have them either. And now I'm part of a faith community that used to, but no longer does.

There is something about greeting the first rays of Easter morning that I miss even after all these years. A few days from now, as I wake up and begin my preparation for our mid-morning service, I'll be keenly aware of all those in other places rising before dawn to come together in sanctuaries, chapels, next to ponds, in muddy fields, and wherever else to be among the first to sing "Alleluia" and proclaim that Christ is risen.

It may be about time for our little church on the hill to join them. I don't know if anyone would come, but what would it hurt to try?

Bonded in Suffering

In the mystery of incarnation, we Christians believe that God bonds forever with humanity. God doesn't simply enter humanity when Jesus is born and then depart when he ascends: God takes humanity into God's self in an indissoluble union. So during Holy Week, as we consider the sufferings of God in Christ nearly 2000 years ago, it is appropriate to ask where humanity is being beaten and bloodied today ... because these assaults are assaults on the God who is forever bonded with humanity in suffering. - Brian McLaren, Holy Week Meditation 4

Vintage CC: Atonement

From February 2008. This seemed like a great time to re-post this. I still largely agree with what I wrote then, but I probably could have cleaned it up and expressed it better. Anyway, hope it provokes some good thoughts during this special week.

Since it’s Lent, I’ve been thinking a lot about atonement. If there was any time of year appropriate for thinking about atonement, it’d be now. Right?

Let’s get it out of the way up front: it’s been a long time since I’ve believed that atonement is as simple as saying, “Jesus died in my place on the cross for my sins and now God isn’t mad at me any more.” For one thing, when the New Testament talks about Jesus being a sacrifice, the writers don’t have an idea of substitution. When animals were sacrificed, it was never understood that they were dying in someone’s place. They were understood to maintain or repair a relationship with God, but not in the sense that the animal is being punished in someone’s place.

Second, boiling Jesus’ life purpose down to his death is way too minimalistic. It shortchanges everything that he taught about the kingdom of God and approaches those teachings as just some nice ethical things that he said to pass the time. Once one starts delving into some of those teachings, one sees first that they’re so multi-layered and rich that you need to spend some time with them, and second that they cut so deeply to the core of what it means to be human and a part of God’s creation. Glossing over all of that so we can get to the crucifixion misses a lot.

So now that all of that is out there, let’s move forward, shall we?

It seems to me that there are two questions behind the idea of atonement. First, we’re asking, “What is humanity’s problem?” Atonement assumes that humanity is broken or suffering or lacking in some way. Second, we’re asking, “What is God doing to fix it?” Notice that this question also assumes some things: God’s initiative and grace. Whatever is wrong with humanity, we can’t fix it on our own. We need to begin with and rely on God to address whatever our problem is.

So what’s our problem? Are we sinful and need to be punished? Are we separated; is there some great chasm between us and God that needs to be bridged, as the old tracts some of my college classmates insisted on passing out suggested?

As I’ve said, I’m not big on the punishment idea any more…but it doesn’t take watching more than three minutes of CNN to see that we have a major problem with sin. However, I don’t think that sin is equivalent to separation from God. I think the proper term for that is hell, but that’s for another post. I’m more apt to refer to sin as blindness to or willful ignorance of God, or if one is an atheist, blindness to what is right or ethical (what atheists use as a reference point for what is right or ethical is also for another post). Ultimately, if sin is separation from God, then God can’t be in very many places. Sin as blindness is to say that God is present and active with creation, but we suck at paying attention.

Scripture is filled with people who suck at paying attention. Adam and Eve and ignoring God’s command to eat the fruit. The people who built Babel. Jacob wrestling by the riverbank. The Israelites and the golden calf. Israel and Judah every time one of the prophets open their mouths. The Pharisees, Sadducees, and in many cases the disciples. The churches in Corinth and Galatia, and later some of those mentioned in Revelation. These people have a problem with living into an awareness of God’s presence and purpose, even and especially when they know or realize that God is right there with them.

I’ve generally heard two objections to this line of thinking.

First, people tend to object to the perception that people’s problem is merely academic. That is, that if people were simply more educated about God or the Bible or whatever, then our problem would be solved. The second objection is actually related to the first: it sounds to some like blaming the victim. That is, if someone experiences a crisis of faith of some kind, it’s their fault because they’re ignoring God. I actually don’t think that awareness is that academic or simple, and I give God and humanity a lot more credit than that. Jesus’ teachings were multi-layered in part because God, creation, and the relationship between the two are all multi-layered.

So thinking or believing the right things, or thinking or believing them harder, isn’t going to cut it. Anyone who has experienced a faith crisis knows this already. In those instances, a deeper kind of awareness is needed, an awareness that echoes through your entire body and spirit, not just your mind. It’s the kind of awareness that needs more credibility than logic can provide, the kind that transcends verbalization and synapses alone. I’ve got two examples for you.

First, at one point in seminary my classmates and I were told that we need to constantly ask ourselves what our theology will sound like to Jewish children in the furnaces in Dachau. At the time, this made sense. In the face of suffering, we need an answer that takes that suffering seriously. I’ve since changed my view on that idea. You’re standing in front of a bunch of kids on fire, and you’re going to stand there and try to explain God to them? What the hell is the matter with you? They’ve got other problems at the moment! This is to say that in the face of human suffering, the problem is not merely spiritual or mental. It is physical and emotional and you can’t address one aspect of that by itself. So an awareness of God is not going to happen without a more complete view of humanity and its needs.

Second, picture a family standing around the hospital bed of their dying mother. At one point, one of the kids turns to you and asks that question that every theologian dreads even a little bit: “Where is God in all of this?” If you approach the answer to this question only on a theological level, you’re going to strike out. The person asking it is not just asking it to be satisfied spiritually. He’s probably feeling a great deal of anxiety, sadness, anger, and uncertainty. The question is in one sense a theological inquiry, but it’s also a lament. It’s asked from the depths of his emotions and perhaps from a bodily weariness. The question is not simply academic, so an academic answer is going to fall flat on the linoleum.

This is supposed to be about atonement, right? Okay, atonement.

As we inch closer to Good Friday and Easter, we’re bound to hear texts dealing with the crucifixion. Maybe some preacher you know has decided to tackle the well-worn sermon series based on each of Jesus’ statements from the cross. Probably one of the most notable statements that he makes goes like this: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” This is not an academic question. Far from it. Jesus is hanging from a cross and is being derided, mocked, spat upon; his disciples have long since abandoned him, one has betrayed him and another denied him. He’s in great pain emotionally, physically, and spiritually. He’s come to this point because of the blindness and willful ignorance of others. A lack of awareness is all over this scene.

First, the blindness, willful ignorance, and sin is apparent. Jesus is crucified at the hands of people who wanted to keep their positions of power, who wanted to assert dominance, who felt threatened. Jesus may or may not have died FOR sins, but he certainly died BECAUSE OF sin.

Second, Jesus himself cries out, craving an awareness of his own. It’s something that he needs with his entire being, and not just to satisfy a spiritual or theological yearning. At the same time, if Jesus is somehow the incarnation of God’s presence in the world, then Jesus is somehow providing awareness while crying out for awareness. Jesus, not just in his suffering but in his entire life, showed God to others. He showed God both to the people who didn’t want to see and to people crying out to see. In this lament, Jesus’ cry is on behalf of the entire world: why do people forsake and why are people forsaken? They all need you and they need you with their entire selves. They need to be transformed and drawn back in both challenge and hope.

This struggle, this lament, this need, is embodied in Jesus. His entire life, death, and resurrection is an atonement. In the tradition of Paul, the cross in particular displays a divine obedience in the face of human blindness and a lament lifted up with one's entire being while foreshadowing that that entire being will be renewed through resurrection. Jesus lived out and continues to reveal both humanity’s problem and God’s solution.

Palm Sunday

All glory, laud, and honor
To thee, Redeemer, King,
To whom the lips of children
Made sweet hosannas ring!
Thou art the King of Israel,
Thou David's royal Son,
Who in the Lord's name comest,
The King and blessed One!

The people of the Hebrews
With palms before thee went;
Our praise and prayer and anthems
Before thee we present:
To thee, before thy passion,
They sang their hymns of praise;
To thee, now high exalted,
Our melody we raise.

Thou didst accept their praises;
Accept the prayers we bring,
Who in all good delightest,
Thou good and gracious King!
All glory, laud, and honor
To thee, Redeemer, King,
To whom the lips of children
Made sweet hosannas ring!