Song of Plenty (w/Monologue 1)

MONOLOGUE ONE:
GIRL: (reading letter)
Dear Mom and Dad,

It seems an eternity since I left home. How often I’ve wanted to write or call, but I couldn’t. The things that have happened. . .Mom and Dad, I didn’t want to make you cry. I lost so much.

But something else has happened. Something special, something great! It’s strange. I had been feeling especially low: lost, empty, hungry for something I didn’t have and couldn’t find.

Then I went to this place–I guess you’d call it a mission–where there were a lot of other kids. They looked so much like me. You could tell they’d been through a lot. But there was something different about them: a spirit! As they talked and moved and laughed and sang, they seemed, well, alive and happy.

SONG:
Sing a song of plenty to God,
Whose every gift to us is good.
Sing of perfect plenty to God,
Whose gift to us is His presence of love.

Plenty of God’s presence means plenty of His love,
And plenty of God’s love means plenty to sing about.

Sing a song of plenty to God,
Whose every gift is rich and free.
Sing of God’s every blessing to you with
Lives that are full of His presence and peace.

Plenty of God’s love means plenty of His peace,
And plenty of God’s peace means plenty to sing about.

Sing a song of plenty to God,
Whose every gift is good.

About this Song:
This is the first monologue and song in SONG OF PLENTY, a “pop-musical story of a modern day Prodigal Son” I wrote it in 1974 and  presented it publicly three times: at the First Baptist Church of Cambridge, Maryland; at an evening worship service at Long Wharf in Cambridge; and once at a Methodist church in Vienna, Maryland.  I regret not being able to remember the name of that church.

The singers were Jestine Pryor and Jack Wright, the pianist was Billy Tilghman, and I played bass guitar. Debbie, my wife at that time, did the dramatic reading of the monologues between songs to a flute accompaniment played originally by Janet Carr and later by Connie Anderson.

You can find the songs from this musical (plus the short Prelude) on my website. If you like, you can open that window and listen to the songs while following the words here. Regretfully, the sound quality of the original recording makes it impractical to include the reading of the monologues.

Coming next Wednesday: the second song, “Silver and Gold.”

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Please leave a comment if something in this post has spoken to you. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, just go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the bottom right.

“As I Come Singing” isn’t my only blog. If you’d like to see “On Aging Gracelessly,” check it out here.

Best regards,
Roger

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Then Dawned Sunday

Then dawned Sunday, the first day of the week,
When into the garden silently came
Troubled women to anoint the body of their friend,
Who–Friday on a cross–had been slain.

These women endured his trial; these women watched him die.
They wept as they saw his body torn by pain.
But they never stopped to think–they never realized–
That what he had told them was true:
That they’d see him in the flesh, alive again.

These women approached the tomb in the stillness of the dawn,
When they saw that the rock was gone from the door.
“Fear not,” an angel said, “the one you seek is not dead,
But has risen, and his spirit will live with you evermore.”

Then dawned Sunday, the first day of the week,
When out from the garden joyously ran
Shouting women to proclaim that one who had been slain
Had lived, died, and arisen as God and man.

About this Song:
This is one of my oldest songs–thirty to forty years. I used rhymes a lot more back in the early days of my song writing. And this particular song falls a lot more distinctively into the folk sound I’ve never really outgrown than some of my more recent songs do.

Honestly, there’s one thing about this song I don’t like, and I don’t know what to do about it. That’s the part about the angel saying Jesus’ “spirit will live with you evermore.” While Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would come to believers following his ascension, I don’t believe any of the Gospel accounts of the women in the garden had the angel(s) saying anything about that.

Poetic license is one thing, but purposely misquoting an angel is something else. Suggestions, anyone?

Have a blessed Easter.

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Please leave a comment if something in this post has spoken to you. I’ll be back again on Wednesday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, just go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

A free lead sheet for this song is available here. A dropdown list of all of my free lead sheets is here.

I have another blog if you’re interested. Check out “On Aging Gracelessly” here.

Best regards,
Roger

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As Jesus Loves

Who is blind, one who cannot see,
Yet seeks to care for those in need?
Or one who claims to see,
But never looks beyond himself?

Who is deaf, one who cannot hear,
Yet heeds the cries of those in pain?
Or one who claims to hear,
But listens only to himself?

Who is lame, one who cannot walk,
Yet takes the hands of those who’re lost?
Or one who claims to walk,
But never goes outside himself?

Refrain:
How blind are those who will not see
The needs that Jesus sees!
How deaf are those who will not hear
The cries that Jesus hears!
How lame are those who will not take
The hands that Jesus takes!
But how blessed are those
Who love as Jesus loves.

About this Song:
The three stanzas are quiet and reflective. The refrain comes only at the end, and it’s much livelier.

And here’s a secret about how I kept the stanzas straight while memorizing this song. The three conditions–blindness, deafness, and lameness–come in alphabetical order. To keep the lines straight within each stanza, each second line has a word that begins with the same letter as the condition mentioned in the line before: see, seeks; hear, heeds; lame, lost. And the supposedly sighted person fails to look “beyond himself” while the person supposedly able to get around fails to go “outside himself”–another intentional alphabetical choice.

Not accidents, I can assure you. I’m too well aware of the limitations of my memory.

I’m aware of my other limitations, too.

Joyce Richards, my former mother-in-law, suffered for years with what was first diagnosed as ALS: Lou Gehrig’s disease. When her condition quit deteriorating–and she continued to live–the doctors said maybe this was the slow-developing kind.

But they really didn’t know.

Even though they had ruled out other degenerative diseases, they still couldn’t be sure. She ended up having to use a motorized chair and a specially equipped van, but she didn’t act like a handicapped person. At least not during the time she was part of my life.

She was a giving and caring person–and she didn’t hide her faith, not even from her favorite Jewish physician.

I’m not sure what sparked this song, but I’ll always think of it as Joyce Richards’ song. For she was physically lame, yet always taking the hands of those around her in the most giving and unselfish ways.

Yet how many Christians think of themselves as righteous–while failing to see or respond to the needs of others; while failing to hear and answer the cries of others; while failing to reach out and assist those who need their help?

I’m guilty–too often–of failing to “love as Jesus loves.” I may care enough to pray, and that’s important. I may cry over the needs of others, and that’s good.

But how often am I willing to get a little dirt on me through hands-on assistance? Not often enough.

So whenever I sing this song, I’m preaching to myself. But I’m also setting up a goal: to gain the blessing that comes from loving as Jesus loves.

A free lead sheet for this song is available here. You can check for all of my lead sheets here. And if you’re interested in my other blog, you may check it out here.

Next Wednesday I’ll be posting the lyrics of an Easter song. Be on the lookout for it.

Roger

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God’s True Children

Who are God’s true children?
Who are God’s true children?
Who are God’s true children?
All who believe.

Who will believe in God’s Son,
Who will believe in God’s Son,
Who will believe in God’s Son,
Unless they have heard?

Who will hear of God’s love,
Who will hear of God’s love,
Who will hear of God’s love,
Unless they are told?

Who will tell them God’s good news,
Who will tell them God’s good news,
Who will tell them God’s good news,
Unless somebody goes?

Who will go to tell them,
Who will go to tell them,
Who will go to tell them,
Unless someone is sent?

Who will send out tellers,
Who will send out tellers,
Who will send out tellers,
Unless somebody cares?

Who cares enough to send them,
Who cares enough to send them,
Who cares enough to send them,
But true children of God?

Who are God’s true children?
Who are God’s true children?
Who are God’s true children?
All who believe.

About this Song:
God’s True Children” is what I would describe as a circular song. You’ll notice the progression as one word in each stanza ties it to the next stanza. Then that stanza introduces a word that will be referred to in the following stanza. And so forth, until the song returns to where it started: “Who are God’s true children?” in a slightly different context.

Although this song is based loosely on Romans 10:13-15, which I’ve included below, I wouldn’t have been foolish enough to try to “improve on” the Bible. I did, however, make an effort to fill in between the lines and give this idea a slightly different spin.

Romans 10:13-15
Young’s Literal Translation (YLT)

 13 for every one — whoever shall call upon the name of the Lord, he shall be saved.’

 14 How then shall they call upon [him] in whom they did not believe? and how shall they believe [on him] of whom they did not hear? and how shall they hear apart from one preaching?

 15 and how shall they preach, if they may not be sent? according as it hath been written, `How beautiful the feet of those proclaiming good tidings of peace, of those proclaiming good tidings of the good things!’

I dedicated this song to Dr. and Mrs. Keith Parks. Dr. Parks, then the president of the International Mission Board, gave a chapel message that inspired me to use this Scripture.

A free lead sheet of this song is available here. For a drop down list of all of my free lead sheets, click here.

If you’d like to check out my other blog, “On Aging Gracelessly,” click here.

I’ll be back again next Wednesday with another song.

Roger

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Our King, Triumphant

Come listen, friends and strangers, too;
You’ll never guess what’s happening!
That Jesus fellow’s coming into town.

You know just the one I mean;
He resurrected Lazarus.
That very man is riding up the street.

The crowds are so excited now;
They think he’s our Messiah!
Let’s go and see this new king for ourselves!

You know what the Scriptures say:
There’s nothing to be scared of.
Our king will come upon a donkey’s colt.

The cheers are getting closer now;
Let’s gather up palm branches
And praise the Lord for sending us a king!

Something tells me such a day
Will never be forgotten:
Our King Triumphant, riding into town!

About This Song:
In 1993, when I was still working at the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, I was asked if I wanted to share an Easter song at the IMB’s pre-Easter chapel service.

Since I’m eager to share my music anywhere I can, I jumped at the invitation and began working on a new song. Although I recorded an accompaniment to use with it–regrettably, it wasn’t as good as the ones I’m able to record now–the song was well received, and I use it as often as I can around Easter.

I play guitar in my church’s nursing home ministry and do one solo each week. On the Wednesday before Palm Sunday, I always do “Our King, Triumphant.” I don’t know if the residents recognize it from year to year, but the other folks on our ministry team seem to enjoy the annual repeats.

I didn’t write it out this way above, but the first two lines of each stanza are sung three times before the third line is sung.

The song is based on John 12:9ff, but also makes reference to Zechariah 9:9. . .          Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

Note that the narrator of the song changes between the second and third stanzas. Someone first alerts the people close to him that Jesus is coming. Since word of Jesus’ raising Lazarus from the dead had probably made the rounds and was still fresh on people’s minds, that proves a good way for the first narrator to identify who Jesus is.

Then the rest of the song shows someone else’s reaction to the announcement. He or she listens first with interest (perhaps even a little skepticism), but gradually gets caught up in the excitement of the event. Even more important, however, he recognizes that Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday will probably have special significance for years to come.

I’ve used some of the lyrics from this song in Misfits, one of my yet-unpublished Young Adult novels.

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Please leave a comment if something in this post has spoken to you. I’ll be back again next Wednesday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, just go to the top right of this page where it says, “Follow Blog via Email.”

Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. Check here to see the list. A lead sheet for this song is here.

I have another blog, “On Aging Gracelessly.” If you’re interested, please check it out here.

Best regards,
Roger

 

 

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No Song Is Unworthy

No song is unworthy to be sung to the Lord
If God lives within you, making your life sing for Him.
Sing for Him, sing for Him, sing for Him.

No tune is less than beautiful to sing to the Lord
If your life’s in tune with what God wants your life to be.
Wants you to be, wants you to be, wants you to be.

No rhythm is unsteady to be sung to the Lord
If your life’s in rhythm with God’s heartbeat of love.
Heartbeat of love, heartbeat of love, heartbeat of love.

No words are less than poetry to sing to the Lord
If your life sings of the Word who is making your life sing.
Making you sing, making you sing, making you sing for Him.

About this Song:
A number of years ago, I was feeling rather down about my singing and songwriting, and I wrote this song to convince myself that what I was doing was important to God, even if it didn’t matter to anyone else.

I wrote a harmony part for it and have done duets with various people on mission trips overseas (everywhere from Wales to Australia) as well as locally with my wife. I’ve also enjoyed doing private duets with such (much better) singers as Janet Roller, Angela Hunt, and Jane Herlong. Incidentally, Jane was so gracious she emailed me to thank me for letting her sing it with me.

Note the logical progression of the lyrics. It goes from “song”–the song as a whole–to the various components: tune, rhythm, and words. I always consider words to be the most important part of a song. Because of that fact, perhaps the fact that I have a blog like this shouldn’t surprise you.

The version of this song on the Listen tab at my website (look in the drop-down box for “Home Recordings”) has me doing both parts. I don’t normally do it quite that slowly, and it’s really hard to blend with myself. About this recording, perhaps I should simply say that “No recording is unworthy if it’s the best I can do without someone else’s help.”

A free lead sheet is available here. A list of all of my lead sheets can be found here.

Come back again next Wednesday for another set of song lyrics. If you prefer, you may sign up to receive these posts by email.

Roger

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All Those Who Wait Upon the Lord

All those who wait upon the Lord
Shall have their strength renewed.
They will walk and not get weary
And run, but not run down.

Yes, they’ll walk and not get weary
And they’ll run, but not run down.
They’ll walk and not get weary
And they’ll run, but not run down,
And they’ll rise up on wings like eagles
And fly, they will fly, they will fly.
They’ll fly, yes they’ll fly, yes they’ll fly.
They’ll fly, how they’ll fly, how they’ll fly.
They will fly.

About this Song:
This song is based in a very obvious way on Isaiah 40:31, a verse familiar to most Christians.

Here it is in five different translations:

  • but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (NIV)
  • But those who trust the LORD will find new strength. They will be strong like eagles soaring upward on wings; they will walk and run without getting tired. (CEV)
  • But they that hope in the Lord, shall change strength, they shall take feathers as eagles; they shall run, and shall not travail; they shall go, and shall not fail. (But they who hope in the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall grow wings like eagles; they shall run, and shall not labour, or struggle; they shall go, and shall not faint.) (WYC)
  • But those expecting Jehovah pass [to] power, They raise up the pinion as eagles, They run and are not fatigued, They go on and do not faint! (YLT)
  • He energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength to dropouts.For even young people tire and drop out, young folk in their prime stumble and fall. But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, They run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind. (MSG)

Although the wording differs from one translation to the next, the meaning is clear.

I have to admit I wasn’t familiar with the verse until sometime after the death of my three-day-old daughter in 1976. Shortly after that, our pastor was talking about a well-known minister who’d had to endure the death of his own daughter from leukemia. But he had taken great comfort from this passage, and so did I.

So much so that I reworked the wording to say it the way that meant the most to me and set it to music. Even now, this is probably my most loved original song.

One thing you may notice is the way I changed the emphasis so that walking preceded running, and running preceded flying. Each of those activities is more difficult–or in the case of flying impossible–to do without God’s help.

I discovered in my novel writing that obtaining the right to quote a song isn’t always easy or inexpensive, so I’ve used my own songs in both of my published books. You can find this one in Lost in Dreams.

Let me add one amusing note to this story. A few years ago, I shared this song with singer/song writer Lynn DeShazo. She had one objection: The “run but not run down” reminded her of the Energizer Bunny!

Fortunately, Lynn seems to be in a minority.

Do the words of this Scripture/song mean anything special to you? If so, would you mind sharing a comment?

You may find a free lead sheet for “All Those Who Wait Upon the Lord” on my website. Click here to open that file and click here to see a list of all of my available lead sheets.

I have another blog. If you’d like to check out “On Aging Gracelessly,” please check here.

Come back again next Wednesday for another song.  Better yet, subscribe to receive posts from “As I Come Singing” by email

Roger

Posted in Eagles, Flying, Isaiah, Lynn DeShazo, Running, Walking | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment