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For This Place and Time (Gathering Hymn of the City) With so many people on the planet living in cities these days, and those within cities moving downtown and to more urban areas, I’m surprised the church doesn’t offer more hymns that celebrate the work and theology of the church in the city. So I decided to contribute to the small body of urban hymns by composing one of my own (words below). We’ve sung twice now at the Old Stone Church (First Presbyterian Church of Cleveland), both times as a processional hymn. It makes a great Ascension Sunday hymn or hymn for any Sunday.

Work and pray for the well being of the city. Jeremiah 29:7
Wait here in the city until you are clothed with power from on high. Luke 24:49

If your congregation or choir would like to sing For This Place and Time (Gathering Hymn of the City), you will have my permission. Just send me a note and I will give you a little permission blurb to include in your bulletin. I wrote it to the tune of Hyfrydol (Come Thou Long Expected Jesus, Love Divine, etc.), which means “cheerful” with the hope that choirs and congregations would sing this new song with joy. Blessings!

For This Place and Time (Gathering Hymn of the City)
©2018 R. Mark Giuliano

Come, dear friends, and let us gather;
Be restored by God’s great hour.
In the city, yes, the Spirit,
Clothes us with a greater power.
Sent from heaven far beyond us,
To our hearts where love can reign.
Be renewed of God’s good labor
For the city once again.

Here we meet as one great city,
Friend and stranger, one in love.
Here we’ll find the great encounter
Where God’s word is spoken of.
Let us praise God, all together,
Let God’s people, here, rejoice!
Rich mosaic of all creation*
Let us lift to God our voice.

We give thanks to you, the Holy,
For this place and for this time.
Let us cherish where we live, now,
Let us make it wholly thine.
May the path each day we travel,
In the city that we all share
Be the place of divine blessing,
Of your presence everywhere.

Sung to HYFRYDOL (Come, Though Long-Expected Jesus) 8.7.8.7.D

*Special thanks to Dr. J. Barrie Shepherd, Minister Emeritus, First Presbyterian Church, New York City and fellow poet/hymn writer who made a wonderful suggestion on this particular line.

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What’s your favorite time of day on the Camino de Santiago? For me, there is no contest; it’s early morning.

I feel great having my boots laced, my pack on my back, and my body moving forward just as the sun is starting to rise behind me in the east. My heart is starting to pump and my blood is beginning to flow. Most importantly, I know that I am doing exactly what I am meant to be doing: walking. (more…)

Do you suffer from a fear of heights or vertigo? Crossing the bridge from Asturias into Galicia’s port city, Ribadeo, doesn’t have to be as daunting as you imagined. Knowledge is power! Here are 6 tips to get you across.

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Okay, fellow peregrinos, if you’re like me and you’re waking the Camino de Santiago del Norte, the Northern Way, and have a bit of an issue with heights or vertigo, then you might be concerned about how you’re going to deal with that mighty bridge, the Puente de los Santos, which crosses the Ria de Ribadeo and gives you access to the city of Ribadeo. Have no fear! Here’s some helpful information about the Puente de los Santos (bridge of the Saints) to help make your crossing both successful and less stressful.  (more…)

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Like the Old Stone Church bandana affixed to my pack, I carry your prayers as a reminder of who I am, and as a way to sustain my sensitivity and compassion for you even though we are an ocean apart.

Every day I swing a 20-pound pack over my shoulders. Its filled mostly with water to hydrate me for a long day of walking, I’ve got a small first aid kit in my pack, too. I also carry a few other things like a change of socks, a raincoat, and Nordic walking poles to help me up the steep climbs of Spain’s coastal mountains and to maneuver down rocky river beds into valleys and across small streams. But I carry something far more meaningful than my back pack.  (more…)

 

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In the beauty, the vastness, the stillness, and the grace of the people we meet along the way, a very long walk can help us remember ourselves.

If you can’t remember who you are, try going for a very long walk! 

Every peregrino (pilgrim) has his or her own reason for walking the Camino de Santiago. I chose to walk the Camino because I wanted to remember myself.  (more…)

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After 100 miles (160 kms), a well needed rest day in Ribadesella, Spain.

Today could have been any delightful vacation day: instead of being startled from sleep by an alarm, we were awakened by both the bright sun and a cool mountain breeze streaming through our windows and into our room; we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast with enough time for even two cups of café con leche; and then strolled the pebbled sands of the grand arc of a beach along the northern Atlantic coast of Spain. Today we are in the tourist town of Ribadesella but we are anything but tourists; we are peregrinos, pilgrims on a journey, here for a day to let our bodies rest and recover. (more…)

God will fully satisfy every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
– Philippians 4:19

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Hanging out with singer-songwriter, Johnny Mercer in Savannah’s Ellis Square.

Dear Friends:

I pray that you are having a restful and restorative summer, and that all is well back at the Old Stone Church and in the great city of Cleveland, Ohio! As you are aware, I’ve been off campus on sabbatical since May 15 experiencing some restorative time of my own. That doesn’t mean I’ve been on vacation, though. In fact, I’ve been very busy doing some of the sorts of things that are reinvigorating my thoughts and my spirit for my ministry among you. Here’s the “dirty” details and more photos! (more…)