Come Young Men and Maidens to Sing!

“Come Sons and Daughters, Let Us Sing”

A New Old Hymn, after the Easter witness of Mary and Thomas.


“Come Young Men and Maidens to Sing”

The “Alleluya” in this manuscript heads off death (with it’s capital “A”) as it leads into the hymn “O Filii et Filiae” (“O Young Men and Maidens”), written by Franciscan Jean Tisserand (d. 1494). A preacher and liturgist, Tisserand also founded the Refuge of St. Madeleine for “des Filles-Repenties” (“girls in repentance”) seeking refuge from prostitution.

Oft-translated into French and English, Sinead O’Connor sings a version of “O Filii et Filiae” in the original Latin.



“Come Sons and Daughters, Let Us Sing”
is based on the Easter witness of Mary and Thomas given in the Gospel of John, chapter 20.


“Come Sons and Daughters, Let Us Sing”


Come sons and daughters, let us sing,
marvels of Easter witnessing,
as faithful Mary made her way,
to find the place where Jesus lay.


From out a tomb of emptiness
spoke one beheld in amazement,
Who once they buried crucified,
risen from death to walk beside.


“Take this my hand to hold in yours,
trace out the wounding that’s been shared,
take full my Spirit into your life,
release for healing these longing beside.”


Come sons and daughters, let us sing,
turning from death to Christ believe;
his new commandment here to know
that in this love God’s peace may grow.


–by W. B. Jones, 2011, after “O Filii et Filiae” by Jean Tisserand, OFM (d. 1494), based on John 20. (LM, may be sung to “Where Cross the Crowded Ways of Life.”)


God’s Adventure


“God’s Adventure” (Advent Hymn)
(may be sung to “Jerusalem, My Happy Home”)

The Light of Hope is streaming us,
God’s dream to en-ter in,
Your way a-wak-en come daily turn,
your lov-ing as we spin.

The Light of Peace comes pro-mis-ing
re-lease in deep-est fear,
To keep our hearts, pre-pare us live
Christ’s love, both far and near.

The Light of Joy is tuning us
to sing our hearts in You,
In seek-ing, to draw near your word,
in an-swer-ing, ring true.

The Light of Love pray an-chor, God,
your steadfast care in us,
That least and poor-est in You may meet,
in your feast, wise and just.

The Light of Christ is break-ing in,
God’s ad-vent-ure now come,
Be-friend-ing lost and found a-like,
our jour-ney now be-gun.

“God’s Adventure” copyright William B. Jones, 2010, 2015.
May be used in worship with copyright notice.


Here is a simple, rolling hymn which follows the “Hope-Peace-Joy-Love-Christ Candle” lighting sequence many use at Advent. It came into being as I sought to “translate” (carry over) into song-form a series of poems a friend and colleague in ministry, Anna Shirey, shared during Advent one year.

Another hymn also resulted from this liturgical exchange, set to “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence.” It’s lyric is posted with a Christmas Eve video of “God’s Surprise.”


On Whitman

Poet C. K. Williams’ new volume “On Whitman” returned me not only to Whitman’s work, but to remembrance of participation in a public celebration of his work as well. The setting was at a Meeting House in Genesee Country Village and Museum, south of Rochester, New York. The occasion was a reading in full of “Leaves of Grass” by 52 area readers in 2006.

Was it happenstance, the intent of the organizer, or a lingering nod from Walt himself that provided the opening for a pastor such as myself to be assigned the subsequently-altered portion of his 1855 poem which begins “O Christ! My fit is mastering me!”
Hearing the whole of the original “Leaves” read out loud nearly mastered me that day. It’s like sitting through a reading of the Gospel of Mark, prior to its own subsequent “roundings.” Not un-planned in its native form by the author, of course, but powerful in its telling all at once and in one breath; or in 52.

Art and Courage

What happens when a poem, or rather, to a poet, when her poem is released to others?
In “Art and Fear,” David Bayles and Ted Orland touch on acceptance (or not) and approval (or not) by others of one’s art, and the effect such may have on the artist. I was especially struck by their comment that, apart from those “artists who thrive on confrontation,” for others “survival means finding an environment where art is valued and artmaking encouraged” (p. 46). I suspect over time this applies to most.
I wonder, too, if the need for the latter is not heightened for those necessarily engaged in live presentation — dance, theatre, teaching — in which the distance in time (and space) between presenter and audience is compressed. The buffer between isolated artist and intended recipient shrinks and, in the case of a class (or congregation), in fact, may become semi-permeable. When “I” and “them” become, for the duration of a specified time together, at least, an “us.” The whole becomes greater than the sum of the parts.
Perhaps I should revisit my opening question, and that implied in Bayles and Orland’s subtitle, “Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking.”

What happens when we articulate (or refuse to) the stuff of life before us. (On the risk to one-self of not making one’s art, see their p. 33).

How do we begin to make known “out loud” that which stirs us deep within.

And where does the poet find courage for the poeming.


The Journey toward God

“Poetry and the Journey Toward God” was the name of the gathering that sparked this blog — or at least centered its author in a place still enough that he thought to try and capture something of its essence after.


On receipt of a watercolor note-card showing the view out onto Chesapeake Bay from the same place in which a group of us had begun by reflecting on TS Eliot’s line “The Still Point of the Turning World,” it seemed a kindred spirit had captured the same.