to live the words we pray

Last night I discovered a new-to-me (but no means new) folks singer named John McCutcheon. A real life and bloggy friend (you know who you are) invited me and one of my fellow novices to attend a concert by John McCutcheon last night. He's a great musician, performer and story teller. One particular song stood out for me - "Forgive Us". You can listen to it free on his website.

Forgive Us
Words & music by John McCutcheon
(work version 10/14/06)

In the little town that I was born in
Early every Sunday morning
We'd drive past those fields of corn
That led us to St. James
Planted in those hard, oak pews
Your neighbors sitting next to you
We said the words each of us knew
As well as our own names

Our Father, who art in heaven
Holy is your name
Thy kingdom come
They will be done
Give us our daily bread
Then came the hardest part
The one that troubled every heart
Those haunting words of mystery
That long have followed after me

Forgive us as we forgive
Forgive us as we forgive
Forgive us as we forgive each other

In the long years since those days
My soul and heart have often strayed
But still I bow my life to pray
Those sweet familiar words
And though the meanings shift and dart
Whenever I come to that part
It stirs my soul and stills my heart
Like nothing I have heard Chorus

In that Pennsylvania town
That awful day that awful sound
When madness struck the young girls down
A tale too often heard
These strangers from another time
They knew the grief, they knew the crime
Still somehow, somewhere they could find
The strength to say these words Chorus

Sometimes what’s holy is so true
It’s standing right in front of you
There’s nothing you can really do
There’s nothing you can say
Except to humbly take your place
In the trials that we face
May we somehow find the grace
To live the words we pray Chorus

©2006 John McCutcheon/Appalsongs (ASCAP)

Last night John McCutcheon said that he'd been raised Catholic. According to his website he's now a practicing Quaker.

This song is haunting and hits on one of the hardest parts of walking the path of faith - to live the words we pray. Those simple words "Forgive us as we forgive each other" are really where the rubber meets the road.

1 comment:

Antony said...

I'm so glad you've discovered John McCutcheon. I have been a huge fan for years and was priveleged to see him in concert last summer here at Saint John's. He is a Saint John's alumnus in fact.

The song you posted is wonderful.

Check out this old post of mine about him (among other things).