Tag Archives: faith

An Anniversary Poem by Tom Webber

3 Nov
You can find out more about Tom & Barb's music by visiting their website: www.fairwebberfolkmusic.com

You can find out more about Tom & Barb Webber’s music by visiting their website: http://www.fairwebberfolkmusic.com

To Barb: An Anniversary Poem

I love you this moment
This small moment —
One drop of the tide of moments
That make the ocean of our life together.

We cannot know its distant shore
‘Though it seems we are on a long journey
On this tiny vessel we call “marriage”.
We do not know whence our journey first began
Nor when we will one day land.
(But we do have this one moment!)

We do not know its depths,
Nor what peril lies ahead.
But we feel the high tides
And the low ebbs
As we ride the crest of this moment along
To some unseen shore past the horizon.

What really does it matter?
This moment is all I have to give you.
For the ocean would be so much less
Were it diminished drop by drop.

So I love you this moment
And give you this moment.
Perhaps the ocean is in this single drop of time.

(c) Thomas C. Webber, November 1990


My wife Barb and I celebrated our silver wedding anniversary today! It has been a wonderful journey together so far, and I am looking forward to all the years we will share in the future. We have filled it with a simple but full life centered on family (we have four lovely children) and our shared love of music which we have been performing together since the late 80s.

I wrote the poem above to commemorate our first anniversary together, and I shared it again with Barb in a homemade card. The message, I believe, will never lose its meaning for me. I share it you, my reader, with the hope that it might likewise speak to your journey of love.

Peace,

Tom

 

 

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A Creed For Disenfranchized Chiristians And Disillusioned Spiritual Seekers

3 Jan
Spiral Staircase

Spiral Staircase

 

“God is not a belief-system.
Jesus is not a religion.
The good news is not a ticket to Heaven.
Church is not an address.
The Bible is not a book of doctrines.
Transformation is not behavior modification.
Community is not a meeting.
Grace has no exceptions.
Ministry is not a program.
Art is not carnal.
Women are not inferior.
Our humanity is not the enemy.
Sinner is not our identity.
Love is not a theory.
Peace is not a circumstance.
Science is not secular.
Sex is not filthy.
The herelife is not a warm-up for the afterlife.
The world is not without hope.
There is no “us” and “them.”
Tattoos are not evil.
Loving the earth is not satanic.
Seeing the divine in all things is not heretical.
Self-actualization is not self-worship.
Feelings are not dangerous and unreliable.
The mind is not infallible.”

– Jim Palmer

Check out Jim Palmer’s WordPress blog at http://jimpalmerblog.com

New Series of Advent Video Reflections

5 Dec

I’d like to pass on this example from a new series of Advent video reflections that feature the beautiful artwork of Brother Mickey McGrath. The promise is that a new reflection will be posted each day throughout the Advent season. The focus of this particular video is his painting “The Annunciation.” Enjoy, be inspired, and you are certainly encouraged to share this!

“The New Day Greets Me” (original poem)

17 Oct

sunrise over misty rolling hills

The New Day Greets Me

The new day greets me like a middle-eastern girl —
A young Bedouin virgin, enshrouded in mystery.

A single amber eye peers out to charm
And beckons me from behind the cerulean veil
Which drapes and falls over her woolen green robe,
Revealing barely a hint of her rolling beauty and form.

Oh how I find myself ineluctably drawn to follow
With hopes of savoring her promised delight!

By Thomas C. Webber
2/27/02

Signs of Life Amidst the Trash: A Lenten Meditation

9 Mar

An entry from my journal (March 19, 2009):

It is curious to me how today

I am drawn to a solitary piece of trash

amongst all the beauty that surrounds me

in this tiny cove in which I find myself

on this late winter day.


Here I find myself staring at my feet

at the remnant of a dirty, white, plastic bag

wrapped around umber shoots

that spring from the ground.

The snow-laden landscape,

with its dry grasses, branches and barren trees,

are all painted in varying shades of sienna,

off-white, gray and black.

And yet, I find quiet beauty

in what otherwise utters the hushed, unspoken word

of “death.”

 

But there is that trash —

shivering sheepishly

in the chill of this late winter breeze

as it clings to and peers from behind

stalks of dried shoots,

as if playing hide-and-seek.

 

But as I look closer still, I notice,

almost as an afterthought,

or better, a surprise,

inconspicuous signs of life

as tiny patches of green grass

come peering through

amidst the barren rubble.

AH, RESURRECTION!


In this season of Lent,

as I seek to empty myself

of sin and self

through acts of love and prayer,

tiny signs of God’s grace

are sure to be revealed to me

here and there.

There is resurrection amongst sin and death.

ALLELUIA!

 

(c) Thomas C. Webber 3/19/2009

“The Winter Pilgrimage” (a poem of mine)

1 Feb

The Winter Pilgrimage


The winter landscape passed

swiftly, like an author’s preface

to a good novel.

Trees and grass rose grey-on-white

blurred, like a badly erased

master’s drawing.

 

All this as I was gazing out

a clear stained-glass window

Sitting in the pew of this bus

which sang and hummed

its hymn of plainchant

As we pilgrims sped on

to make the Mass

and celebrate the liturgy of Creation,

donned in its vestments of white.


© Thomas C. Webber  1/20/1990

 

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Note: I realize that it has been over a month since I last posted but, as they say, “life happens”!  (Okay, maybe it is usually put a bit more crassly than that!) Inspired by the blizzard we are presently experiencing, I decided to dig deep into the coffers of my writings and finally pulled out a poem I wrote over 20 years ago while taking a bunch of youth up north into Michigan on a ski trip. This piece is one that I count among the best that I have to offer. It is certainly one of my personal favorites, and one that I believe almost rises to the level of deserving to be called “poetry,” a term I do not throw around lightly!  I do hope that you enjoyed reading it!

Your comments and feedback, as always are welcome and cherished!

Blessings,

Texas Tom (aka Tom Webber)

Advent Reflection: “Alive Again” by Matt Maher

8 Dec

I haven’t been a big fan of what is known in the music business today as “Contemporary Christian Music” (aka CCM)  since after the movement was in its infancy way back in the early through mid-70s. Those early days of what was then referred to as Jesus Music arose as an outgrowth of the so-called Jesus People movement (basically a Christian  evangelical movement among newly converted hippies), and there were several young artists and groups that I listened to and found spiritually uplifting. These included the likes of Larry Norman, Barry McGuire, Mustard Seed Retreat, Love Song, Randy Stonehill, The Talbot Brothers (brothers John Michael and Terry Talbot), Malcom and Alwyn, Honeytree, Andre Crouch and the Disciples, and Richie Furay. As this movement “progressed” in instrumental sophistication, I found that I didn’t have a stomach for the later CCM music which, lyrically, began to sound like “Christian bubblegum.” I also came to a point where I had grown past the fundamentalism that characterized most of the artists. In any case, I still have a place in my heart for much of the music I heard back then.

This brings me to today’s Advent reflection… A little over year ago I stumbled across this song “Alive Again” by a somewhat younger contemporary Roman Catholic artist named Matt Maher and was deeply moved by it. (At the time I was searching for an appropriate tune that I might do for one of our school liturgies at St. Thomas More, a Catholic high school where I was then teaching theology.) Now that we are in the midst of Advent, it struck me that, while not written for this expressed purpose, the song “Alive Again,” replete as it is with Advent themes such as light and darkness, longing for God, hope, redemption, and grace, this song is a perfect source for Advent prayer and reflection.

Please sit back and enjoy this video of “Alive Again” before you continue reading below. Lyrics for the song are included in the video itself:

 

A prayer reflection:

During this season of Advent, I am reminded that even in the midst of winter darkness, be it a feeling of existential alone-ness,  or that of an acute, personal awareness of the darkness of the world at large so often bereft of love, that GOD IS HERE, silently reaching out with the offer love, grace and redemption. Whether I am simply stealing away right now for a moment of quiet solitude and prayer, or if I am feeling uncomfortably alone now, shouldering some heavy burden, perhaps even despairing of God’s absence, God is right here now waiting — waiting with the patience of eternity. That movement of longing and desire that is in my heart now is the sacrament of God’s loving presence, as is the very movement of my breathing, an act of which I rarely conscious. Like the ever present rhythm of my breath, your Spirit, your RUAH, O God, is my ever present, silent partner, bringing me life. Your light slowly shatters my darkness, just as the first faint rays of sunlight bleed through and dispel the long night. For this I thank you, even as I await the fullness of of the coming of your kingdom. Amen.

Late have I loved You
You waited for me
I searched for You
What took me so long?

I was looking outside
As if love would ever want to hide
I’m finding I was wrong


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An important footnote to Matt Maher’s song “Alive Again”…. Matt has shared that his song was inspired to write it after recalling a well-known passage from The Confessions, the spiritual autobiography of the  early Latin church father St. Augustine. St. Augustine (354-540) became a convert to Christianity after years of earnestly searching for truth and the meaning of life, being schooled as he was in the best of Greek philosophy at the time. Matt Maher is briefly alluding to the following passage that Augustine eloquently wrote concerning his own realization that his own desperate search for God, and his later falling in love with God, was itself precipitated by God’s loving grace. All is gift, all is grace.

Here is that passage:

Late have I loved you,

Beauty so ancient and so new,

late have I loved you!
Lo, you were within,
but I outside, seeking there for you,
and upon the shapely things you have made
I rushed headlong – I, misshapen.
You were with me, but I was not with you.
They held me back far from you,
those things which would have no being,
were they not in you.
You called, shouted, broke through my deafness;
you flared, blazed, banished my blindness;
you lavished your fragrance, I gasped; and now I pant for you;
I tasted you, and now I hunger and thirst;
you touched me, and I burned for your peace.

When at last I cling to you with my whole being there will be no more anguish or labor for me, and my life will be alive indeed, alive because filled with you. But now it is very different. Anyone whom you fill you also uplift; but I am not full of you, and so I am a burden to myself. Joys over which I ought to weep do battle with sorrows that should be matter for joy, and I do not know which will be victorious. But I also see griefs that are evil at war in me with joys that are good, and I do not know which will win the day. This is agony, Lord, have pity on me! It is agony! See, I do not hide my wounds; you are the physician and I am sick; you are merciful, I in need of mercy.
Is not human life on earth a time of testing? Who would choose troubles and hardships? You command us to endure them, but not to love them. No-one loves what he has to endure, even if he loves the endurance, for although he may rejoice in his power to endure, he would prefer to have nothing that demands endurance. In adverse circumstances I long for prosperity, and in times of prosperity I dread adversity. What middle ground is there, between these two, where human life might be free from trial? Woe betide worldly prosperity, and woe again, from fear of disaster and evanescent joy! But woe, woe, and woe again upon worldly adversity, from envy of better fortune, the hardship of adversity itself, and the fear that endurance may falter. Is not human life on earth a time of testing without respite?
On your exceedingly great mercy, and on that alone, rests all my hope.

From The Confessions of St. Augustine

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If you would like to watch a video of Matt Maher sharing his own personal account of the story behind his song “I’m Alive,” you can view it on YouTube right here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OyBkwpsAb4Q&feature=related

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