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A compendium of politically incorrect polemics and other writings

Hymns & Poems


* God of Peace and God of Justice
* Farewell of the Bereaved
* Sing Out, Faithful Christians!


* On the Beach


God of peace and God of justice,
May Your love our hearts renew.
Help us bridge the gaps among us,
Muslim, Buddhist, Christian, Jew.

In Your goodness, help us reach out
To all people every day.
Help us grow to understand those
Who seek truth in other ways.

Let our friendships ever broaden
And extend to neighbors new.
Help us love them just as they are,
And enfold them as You do.

Let our outreach be unbounded,
Our compassion ever free.
Guide us always as we labor
To build Your community.

We lament for those afflicted.
We’ll support and comfort them.
Caring not whence their infirmity,
Help us love and not condemn.

Whether strangers or our neighbors,
Let us with respect embrace.
They are members, just as we are,
Of Your wondrous human race.

We remember our departed
Sisters, brothers, lov’d ones, friends.
Taken from us all too early,
And our grief is slow to mend.

May they dwell with You forever,
In Your Kingdom without end.
In Your mercy, bid them welcome.
Make Your light to shine on them.

God of light and God of goodness,
Hear our pray’rs of thanks and praise.
Free our souls of heartless prejudice,
And abide with us always.

Let us bring hope to the hopeless.
May their spirits soar above.
Help us do what You would have us do.
Help us love as You would love.

Amen. Amen!

The text for “God of Peace and God of Justice” was written for an annual ecumenical AIDS memorial service in Alameda, a diverse community in virtually every respect where interdenominational comity is very important. (Catholic clergy, for example, join Lutheran counterparts in celebrating Reformation Sunday!)

One year the service was held at St. Joseph Basilica where, albeit not “of the Faith.” I lector, cantor, and lead the choir’s bass section. The challenge was to select music that would be meaningful to all and yet offensive to none - Buddhist, Catholic, Jew, Muslim, Protestant.

I was asked to “tweak” several hymns to work around sectarian references and concepts, but the result wasn’t satisfying, so I wrote this text from scratch using as its setting “Beach Spring” (8787 D) from the Sacred Harp (1844). The work was well received.

Although written for a specific purpose, this hymn could be appropriate for any ecumenical service, memorial or otherwise, and in fact, for general use.


(To the memory of the victims of 9-11-01)

Softly and gently dear departed souls,
in our sad memories we do enfold you;
and through the coming ages as they roll,
our broken hearts will now forever hold you.

In our deep grief we sadly let you go,
while you make not a sound nor give resistance.
Your final journey, which we all will know,
now takes you further into the dim distance.

Angels to whom the welcome charge is giv'n
shall nurture you where now you briefly linger.
Our pray'rs upon the earth, like those in heav'n,
shall speed you home again unto your Maker.

Farewell, but not for long departed friends.
Wait patiently for us and do not sorrow.
Our time apart shall very quickly end,
for we will come and join you on the morrow.

Two days after the terrorists struck in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania, a hastily organized ecumenical memorial service was held at St. Joseph Basilica in Alameda, California, where I sing.

One anthem proposed was “The Guardian’s Farewell,” a powerful setting by David Haas of a text by John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890), but the words didn’t really quite fit the occasion, and some of the imagery was quite arcane.

In order to use Haas’ marvelous music, I wrote a new text from scratch while trying to capture some of the spirit of Newman’s original work. The result was “Farewell of the Bereaved.” It was well received and has since been performed a number of times both for funerals and for public memorial services. It may eventually be published.



Sing out, faithful Christians, thanks to God above.
Share your love with others; praise God for his love.

As the Father loves me, also I love you.
Keep all my commandments, be forever true.
Christ told his disciples, be like Me in this;
You’ll remain in my love then, as I remain in His.

Love each other as I love, that is my command;
That my joy be in you, joy that knows no end.
Then your joy will be complete, to this truth attend:
Greater love has none than one whose life he gives for friends.

Do what I command of you, and you’ll be my friends:
Now not slaves who know not what their Lord intends.
I have told you everything I have heard from God:
So I call you friends, not slaves, walk with me where I’ve trod.

It wasn’t you who chose me: I appointed you.
Now go forth and bear fruit, ever to Me true.
Love each other always: thus My love renew,
So what’s asked in My name, God may give to you.

Love can move a mountain, or a stubborn heart;
It can change a person, give one a new start.
Love can shape a lifetime, or the way one dies:
Love can buoy us up, or help us once again to rise.

Love each other, Christians, that is God’s command.
As he loves each of us, our love must expand.
God’s love is eternal, unconditional;
We must love our neighbors, also others one and all.

Brothers, sisters harken, Christians one and All:
We are one in Jesus. We must heed His call.
Christ our Lord commands us, love all strangers, too;
They are all God’s children, love them, just as He loves you.

The text for “Sing Out, Faithful Christians” is based freely on John 15. It was written as an alternate text to give rebirth to a grand old hymn tune, “St. Gertrude” ( with refrain) composed by Sir Arthur Sullivan (1842–1900).

Many would recognize the tune as the setting for “Onward Christian Soldiers,” a once very popular hymn that fell into disfavor because of its bellicose tenor when contemporary emphasis on peace and love displaced Church militancy which was fashionable in Victorian times.



Duty called, and honor, too.
Misled and malinformed,
He answered both,
And did the best he could
With what he had.

Not well prepared at all
For what he met,
He stumbled, tried again,
And, in the bitter end,
At last he failed.

Now by himself,
He lonely stands
Surrounded, lost,
Back to the seething sea,
Taking heavy fire.

So oft’ betrayed,
Now left alone,
Unshielded, and
Unarmed, he waits,
No longer sure.

He yearns for rescue.
But there’s none. For him,
There are no boats.
He wonders what to do.
Deny? That's not his style.

Fall back? Regroup?
No safe place left to hide.
No kindred soul to join.
Or reinvent himself perhaps?
Too late, by far, for that.

No metamorphosis
Can change his fate.
Should outrage or self-pity
Fill his soul? Or just the
Sadness that his spirit damps?

And as his life slips fast away,
He almost welcomes death,
And yet he hates it, too,
For in his heart, he knows
That Afterlife is just a myth.