As the Turn of the World Draws Near

As the Turn of the World Draws Near
David R. Weiss – April 2021

In September 2019 I wrote a beautiful song text, “There’s a Blue Sky Over All of Us,” to accompany our initial offering of the Sacred Circle for Our Climate liturgy that I wrote. Unfortunately, I set those words alongside a beautiful, timeless (but copyrighted) refrain and tune from John Denver’s “It’s About Time.” We’ve used that song twice times in live liturgies that weren’t taped or livestreamed. But absent formal copyright permission, that song is can’t be shared. 😦 I’ve spent over a year wending my way through the “permission for adaptation” process with Kobalt Music, the licensing group that represents whoever holds the rights to Denver’s music today. Only to be told last week – a few days after our most recent Sacred Circle – that my request for an adaptation license has been denied – no further explanation offered.

The Spiral of Active Hope in The Work That Reconnects image by Dori Midnight / http://www.workthatreconnects.org

So, I’ve written a new song 🙂 that brings forward some of the imagery I really liked from “Blue Sky” and adds in new imagery that fits well with both the new tune and the themes from the liturgy itself. This text uses “Star of the County Down” an Irish folk tune in the public domain. The music echoes the urgency of turning, which made it a good choice for “Canticle of the Turning,” the hymn text based on Mary’s Magnificat that also uses this tune. Additionally, Joanna Macy (co-author of Active Hope and developer of the “Spiral of Active Hope,” which is the inspiration for the Sacred Circle) employs “The Great Turning” as the term for the entire paradigm shift needed to preserve and create a path toward a livable future.

This text will be premiered in worship (by a 4-person ensemble—no congregational singing yet) at St. Paul’s UCC as part of our Sacred Circle liturgy this coming Sunday, which is Integrity of Creation Sunday in the UCC calendar. You can find the bulletin with the complete liturgy here.)

NEW: You can now view the whole service – or just fast-forward to hear the new song at this link on vimeo. The song starts at 50:15. It’s worth HEARING the song!
AND: You can download a pdf version with musical notation all set for use in worship or community event!

In the text below, the bolded syllables indicate the stress points in the meter.

As the Turn of the World Draws Near

From the diving loon with its haunting tune
to the frogs that are chirping shrill
while the walleye leap and the shy lynx creep
and the bears in their caves sleep still.
The tall pines sway and the foxes play
and the rice rises wild in lakes.
Fill our hearts with song, that we, too, belong
Rouse our souls so we’re wide awake

The day is bright, and the time is right as the dark of the night is clear
That we now uprise from the ground to the skies as the turn of the world draws near.

But the weather’s fraught and the climate caught
and the fabric of life’s undone.
As the earth cries out in an anguished shout
’neath the glare of a blist’ring sun.
The ocean spray voices loud dismay
and the heavens for mercy plead.
Give us hearts to hold all the pain now told
And to follow where it may lead.

The day is bright, and the time is right as the dark of the night is clear
That we now uprise from the ground to the skies as the turn of the world draws near.

As our children yearn for the world to turn
and the poor seek a just new day;
Though the time is late, let us turn back fate
Let our hope rise without delay.
To turn the world t’ward a day unfurled
Make a-mends with this fragile dome
Wrap our prayers in flesh, keep our courage fresh,
Give us hope for our only home.

The day is bright, and the time is right as the dark of the night is clear
That we now uprise from the ground to the skies as the turn of the world draws near.

The day is bright, and the time is right as the dark of the night is clear
That we now uprise from the ground to the skies as the turn of the world draws near.

David R. Weiss © 2021 / Tune: Star of the County Down

* * *

David Weiss is a theologian, writer, poet and hymnist, doing “public theology” around climate crisis, sexuality, justice, diversity, and peace. Reach him at drw59mn@gmail.com. Read more at www.davidrweiss.com where he blogs under the theme, “Full Frontal Faith: Erring on the Edge of Honest.” Support him in writing Community SupportedTheology at www.patreon.com/fullfrontalfaith.

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