With the dawn of a new church year, we have launched a new feature on our website, a weekly post of poetry that resonates with the lectionary readings for that week.
*** Revised Common Lectionary ***
Home, Sweet Home
Frances Ellen Watkins Harper
Sharers of a common country,
They had met in deadly strife;
Men who should have been as brothers
Madly sought each other’s life.
In the silence of the even,
When the cannon’s lips were dumb,
Thoughts of home and all its loved ones
To the soldier’s heart would come.
On the margin of a river,
‘Mid the evening’s dews and damps,
Could be heard the sounds of music
Rising from two hostile camps.
One was singing of its section
Down in Dixie, Dixie’s land,
And the other of the banner
Waved too long from strand to strand.
In the lawn where Dixie’s ensign
Floated o’er the hopeful slave,
Rose the song that freedom’s banner,
Starry-lighted, long might wave.
From the fields of strife and carnage,
Gentle thoughts began to roam,
And a tender strain of music
Rose with words of “Home, Sweet Home.”
Then the hearts of strong men melted,
For amid our grief and sin
Still remains that “touch of nature,”
Telling us we all are kin.
In one grand but gentle chorus,
Floating to the starry dome,
Came the words that brought them nearer,
Words that told of “Home, Sweet Home.”
For awhile, all strife forgotten,
They were only brothers then,
Joining in the sweet old chorus,
Not as soldiers, but as men.
Men whose hearts would flow together,
Though apart their feet might roam,
Found a tie they could not sever,
In the mem’ry of each home.
Never may the steps of carnage
Shake our land from shore to shore,
But may mother, home and Heaven,
Be our watchwords evermore.
*** This poem is in the public domain,
and may be read in a live-streamed worship service.
For My People
For my people everywhere singing their slave songs
repeatedly: their dirges and their ditties and their blues
and jubilees, praying their prayers nightly to an
unknown god, bending their knees humbly to an