PATHS TO KINGDOM'S GATE
Poems, Paraphrases & Songs of My Faith
by Robert D. Peckham (TBob)



"The Walk" (TBob, in process since 2002)

My new kinship
I am related to my parents
not so much through blood
for that is way of dust
which embraces this world
but I am beginning to know a kinship
where I am linked to them solely through Christ.
When blood, dust and memory are gone
the link of kinship remains
and through this kinship I receive the promise of Abraham
an extended familly
more numerous than grains of sand
likewise in fellowship
If I have fellowship in Chist with those who are in Chist
and whom I can see
My fellowship is also wi
th those in Chist whom I cannot see

If we are born of dust
as was Adam
then we return to dust
but when we accept that we are chosen for new life
we are born from the heart of the Creator
through the grace of his sacrifice
though much of our life is still determined by dust
when we stop functioning
in this place of dust
we return to the heart of the Creator

Sin
which separates us from the heart of the Creator
occurs when the substance
of this place
where we are consigned for our brief life of dust
is internalized
becomes the focus of our desire
and the destination of our walk

The psalmist says:
"As a Father cares for his children
so does the Lord for those who love Him
for He knows whereof we are made
that we are but dust
our days are like the grass
and we bloom as the flower in the field
when the wind blows over it
it is gone
and its place shall know it no more."

Human memory also
is born of dust
and so long as it leads
solely down a chain of human events
it leads but to dust and vanity
Only when when a rememoration leads us to the events of the Creator's work
where He has intervened for our sake
to transform us from the dust to creatures of His heart
only where the representation of human events
leads us to embrace the respect and love for eachother
that the Creator has for us
does it tanscend its substance, its process, and its life within human memory.



"as the flower of the field: from a walk in the heat of day"
(TBob 07.13.03)

Lord, you were with me in the wet world of my mothers womb.
You were my water of absolution and of promise as I took your name.
You have written in my heart the meaning of life.
See how my existence here
is like a piece of dry paper in a raging fire.
I crinkle and blacken
pale and grow fragile
oxidize in writhing agony.
Yet,
when the wind comes to scatter my insignificant remains,
I hear your words:
"More than you can know
I have loved you
I love you still
now and always".
And as these words ripen in my soul
I see your kingdom spring to life before my eyes.



Arbor vitae (a meditation on Genesis 3:22-24)

Though we partake of Adam's bitter fruit
standing outside guarded gates
dust-born
dust-bound,
You have never left us.
And when our toil-tied lives could yield no sustenance,
You fed us fully in the desert,
then offered us Your Spirit
when we were hungry
for more than bread.
So, now, with the waters of absolution pouring over us,
the tree of life takes root in our hearts.

(TBob 4.18.04 for Discovery Weekend's theme of baptism)



"Created for God's Pleasure: A General Confession"  (TBob 10.1.04)

Created to give joy to my Creator
I found myself, instead, the dearth of joy.
In garden green my every need
was granted me,
and fellowship
as well,
with the Author of all life.
When first I tasted fruit
from that forbidden tree,
my eyes were opened,
yes,
but only to what closes them
and my unworthiness.
With bitter sighs,
I put in place the the veil
between God's heart and mine,
which Christ did rend
by His sweet sacrific



for the baptism of my son, Ronald Charles Peckham,
on December 23, 1984

"phoenix in Christ"

phoenix in Christ
arise from the wet fire of death unto sin
begin your new life
you growing in Him
He dwelling in you.


flesh of my flesh
come find a new kinship in God's family
joint heir with His Son
whose kingdom is now
and ever shall be.




"Filioque  (a meditation on Acts 2:)"

His flight is swift
at bloodmoon,
but only drunks and fools will hail His coming,
their hearts groaning and turning
like rusty weather vanes in His holy wind.
"Et dabo prodigo in caelo sursum...",
Word from Word,
whispered in the ruins of ancient towers.
Then will joysongs forged in the fire of tears
collide in counterpoint,
build forth and peak in plainchant,
measuring silence in the throats of unbelievers.

(TBob 1989)



"A Reading of Proverbs 8" (TBob 2002)

Before earth was
I am
the life water of springs
the shape of hill and mountain
the goodness of soil
the meaning of ever-expanding sky
the wisdom and joy of creation
the answer to questions un-asked
the end present at the beginning




"...et vocabunt nomen eius Emmanuel, quod est interpretatum Nobiscum Deus."

        Emmanuel, Emmanuel,
        the sound of Your Name alone
        could fill the empty nights
        from cave to second coming.
        Long expected hope of nations,
        brightest and best . . . You are here without warning
        And I,
        stunned,
        ever naked in the knowledge of my sin,
        can but joyfully stammer Your praises.

(TBob 1991)



"Haiku for my son, Ron, going off to college"

Though the road may be long
You're never far
from the center of your soul

(9.2.03 TBob)




Promises of weak men
sink like stones
in the waters of conviction

(TBob 2.11.04)





"Reality invisible and unscheduled"

Can I depend on things unseen,
prepare for times unknown to me?
This world and all its days are shackles
from which I would fain be free.
So Lord, grant me the eyes of faith,
and patience only love can teach,
to find real wealth now in Your word;
a kingdom not outside my reach.

(TBob 8.1.04)



"Born to new life"

The old creature exiled from gated gardens
inherits the diaspora of his sin
while the new, co-heir with Christ
lives in the vision of doors open
to his Father's kingdom

(TBob, 9.4.04)



"New Creation" (TBob 2.27.05)

Lord, draw now from my silence
A flood of boldest praise.
Draw here from my indifference
A heart brimming with love,
And from my fear of death
Courage for dauntless faith.
So, where the grain falls to the ground
the vital covenant springs green;
and free-fed by living waters,
A new creation draws first breath.


"The Road from Praise to Denial" (TBob, 3.20.05)

How do we pave the road
from praise to denial
where now our Savior rides in lowly pomp?
Behind a knowing smile,
the irony bites deep.
He sees beyond the branches strewn in joy,
To Galgatha,
the skull ,
where He, bruised, lashed and mocked,
will be the beast of burden.
Misunderstood by those hurling hosanas,
His word will smash their idle of false hope,
and skirmish with their spiritual sloth.
Is it my face you see, Lord, on that road?
Or do I walk with You to kingdom's gate?



"For Mary Pritchett, in the Fullness of God's Kingdom"

There is a light inside this very room
that glows with soft and reassuring beams.
Although the lamp that held it once is gone
and hidden in the earth,
to me its seems
shadows still melt before its subtle power.
This fragile lantern lit the psalmist's page,
where plaints and praise from God's Davidic sage
yet move through spirit lips into our ears.
Thus,
with newness of heart
and heaven my goal,
a borrowed brightness from undying source
awakes the sleeping harp within my soul.

(TBob, 3/29/08)



"Lord, My Comforter"

Shall I wander now into my heart
like Moses in the wilderness
    of fear
        of doubt
            of dark regret
and there to stand
shaken
yet safe within your mighty hand?
How can I pierce the darkness with these eyes of flesh
or lift these feet from mire of despair?
I draw my bow
and launch your precious name
above the clouds.
I call you to my aid
and feel your presence grow between the echoed throbs
like living waters
flowing from the desert rocks.
Jehovah Jaira
lo, my hungry soul does feed
upon the manna of your word
until I breathe your Spirit
Lord
in your great peace
that passes human ken.

(TBob 5/16/08)



Canticle for Christmas Eve: Veni Emmanuel (TBob 12.30.08)

Why do we hunger still who are now filled with food?
Why is the night our course when we can choose the day?
Why do we choke with law what we should treat with love,
Or clench our fists in rage, where open hearts are due?
How can health only start when we say we have none?     
How can sweet joy emerge from pain and bitter struggle,
Or good be shaped afresh in devastation's paths?
How can a gentle peace swallow the din of chaos?
Who will establish justice in this place of sin?
What kind of light is not by darkness overwhelmed?
Restive and cynical, our faces ever glum,
Why do we yet await what has already come?




A Response to Christ's Transfiguration  (TBob 3.6.11)

Word of God
whose hand before the law and prophets came
wrought cliff and peak
although I do not tread high mountain paths
with Peter, James and John
I want to follow now my Lord
whom I see both in human face
and in His Godly glow
I know
that on that glorious summit 
surely light and heat
from His nature revealed
will burn the chaff
of my failure
to do His will
and found within this aging earthly tent
a new creation
heaven bent
ready to serve Him still.




Home (TBob 4/22/12)

To the child somewhere in me
the back yard of those younger days
will ever like a kingdom be
But kingly crowns did slip and break like glass.
With every move, and every inch I grew,
that proud domain,
my home,
would simply disappear or shrink in size
and soon became the walls
that hid my toil-worn face at end of day,
a day of battles waged to keep those very walls
no match for earth, wind, fire, water,
now, one limping step ahead of payment due.
And if the home is truly where the heart is,
then, with aerobic fervor shall I hold my ground?
My heart, my work, the roof over my head say "no",
and all are bound for dusty days in repo yards.
But there,
beyond that dust,
a kingdom stands,
whose sure foundations in the God I serve
cradle my one true home, made by His hands.





Song Lyrics


"Song of release from prison" (song lyrics)

God in my eye
Let me see
God on my tongue
Taste of Thee
God in my heart
Oh let me be
Thy new creation
Lord set me free

God help me walk
Through Christ Thy gate
Oh Holy Spirit
Make my path straight
Then Let me long
Only for Thee
Thy way my life
Lord set me free

Father who knew me
Before I saw light
Who framed me, then called me
to live in thy sight
Lord, build on my love
for others and Thee
In thy service only
Will I be free


(TBob 6.13-14.04)


Lay Down Your Life.  Take Up Your Cross (song lyrics,TBob 1983)

If anyone would follow me,
Then let him first deny himself,
And, gainless from his worldly toil,
Lay down his life,
Take up his cross.
This vanity, consumed like the dross
in the just fire of God's intent
will burn away and leave him pure.

Make no mistake, her doom is sure,
She who would save her life and win
The barren treasure of this world.
Lay down your life,
Take up your cross.
Your earthly cares, consumed like the dross
in the just fire of God's intent
will burn away and leave you free.

My victory won in this place of strife
I'll not remain unto myself
Like the grain of wheat upon the ground, I
Lay down my life,
Take up my cross.
These bitter days, consumed like the dross
in the just fire of God's intent
now burn away and leave me life.



A Musical Meditation on Psalm 19:1-6 (song lyrics, TBob 1985??)

The heavens declare the glory of God
and the earth as the work of His hands

The heavens declare the glory of God
and the earth as the work of His hands

One day tells its tale to another
And then night unto night sings its song

The heavens declare the glory of God
Let their voices be heard from now on

Although they have no words or language
And we heed not their tongueless praise

Although they have no words or language
And we heed not their tongueless praise

Their sound has gone  to the ends of the earth
And their message unto all lands

The heavens declare the glory of God
and the earth as the work of His hands



A Musical Meditation on Psalm 19:7-14, (song lyrics, TBob, 1992??)

The law of the Lord revives the soul
And makes the simple wise
His precepts are right and rejoice the heart
His commandment is light to the eyes.

    O cleanse me of my secret faults
    And keep me from sins of self will.
    The Lord's decrees are righteousness
    His servants obey them still.

More prized are His judgments than much fine gold
And sweeter than honey from the comb.
Lord sanctify my words, my thoughts
And make my heart your home.

    O cleanse me of my secret faults
    And keep me from sins of self will.
    The Lord's decrees are righteousness
    His servants obey them still.

Your unfailing wisdom, by this I am warned.
In Your statutes I find great reward
And in them abiding will I blameless be,
My Rock, my Redeemer, my Lord.

    O cleanse me of my secret faults
    And keep me from sins of self will.
    The Lord's decrees are righteousness 
    His servants obey them still.



(song lyrics, inspired by John 14, TBob 1995)

In my Father's house
believe me
there are many mansions
If it were not so
why would I have told you
that I go to prepare you a place
And when I come again
I will take you to Myself
That where I go
you shall be
That where I go
you shall be



(song lyrics inspired by John 6, TBob 1983)

I am the Bread of Life, all who come to me shall not hunger
I am the Bread of Life, all who believe in me shall never thirst


It is my Father alone
Who gives you the true bread of heaven
The bread that descends from God
To give new life to the world.

I am the Bread of Life, all who come to me shall not hunger
I am the Bread of Life, all who believe in me shall never thirst

For this is the the will of my Father
That all who see the Son
And all who believe in Him
Shall have eternal life

I am the Bread of Life, all who come to me shall not hunger
I am the Bread of Life, all who believe in me shall never thirst


And no one comes to me
Unless the Father who sent me draws him
And all who come to me
I will raise them up at the last day




song lyics, liturgical response to a Mysterium Fidei: "Christ has died. Christ has risen. Christ will come again."  (TBob, 1995-2009)

My Jesus died for me
on lonely Calvary
Lo, he rose to set me free
Now he's coming in the sky  (bis)

Alleluia,Alleluia
Laudamus Te
Laudamus Te, my Lord, my Lord
Aleluia, Alleluia
Laudamus Te
Laudamus Te, my Lord.

Father, when He reached Your throne
with all heavenly powers prone
He sent His Spirit down
A covenant and guide (bis)

Alleluia,Alleluia
Laudamus Te
Laudamus Te, my Lord, my Lord
Aleluia, Alleluia
Laudamus Te
Laudamus Te, my Lord.




(song lyrics, liturgical, round song, sung to the tune of "sole cake". TBob 2002)

We come to praise you, Lord
With prayerful hearts, we read Your word
Worship You in truth and spirit
We come to praise you, Lord



"Now let the waters roll" (2003)

    Oh say, say it again
    You've opened a door that was closed, my friend
    Come speak to my soul
    The gates are open, now let the waters roll

I watched him die with love in his eye
Forgiveness his last breath
His promise to me, it set my soul free
Though my crime was worthy of death

Lo, He died on Calvary
He rolled the stone back for you an me
spreading His good news abroad

    Oh say, say it again
    You've opened a door that was closed, my friend
    Come speak to my soul
    The gates are open, now let the waters roll (bis.)


On the Emmaus road, His grace He bestowed
Turning our minds to see
All God had said in what we had read
Over death He had won victory

There we were, our hearts afire
His will and wisdom were our desire
for Spreading His good news abroad

    Oh say, say it again
    You've opened a door that was closed, my friend
    Come speak to my soul
    The gates are open, now let the waters roll (bis.)

[Then] That day foretold by prophets of old
God poured His Spirit out
His message to bind all human kind
As together we rise up and shout

Wind from God with tongues of flame
Finding the right words to praise His name
Spreading His good news abroad

    Oh say, say it again
    You've opened a door that was closed, my friend
    Come speak to my soul
    The gates are open, now let the waters roll



"I will walk beside you"  (TBob 2/19/05)

O Pilgrim, I will walk beside you
When your heart wears thin with woe
For I have always been with you
And will be there wherever you go.

Bright days of sundancing harmony
The Lord is in this place
Or skies dark with arrows of pestilence
We stay the course  and still seek His face

Oh, I will stand beside you
Thru your days of joy and pain
Until you enter into the kingdom
Where earth's sorrows are counted as gain

Hatred embedded in icy stares
Sharp words that cut like a knife
Murderous vengence of angry hands
Love is the way, the truth and the life

Know that I have suffered with you
While the tears flowed from your eyes
I have borne your worst afflictions
On the road where I hear all your cries

Love in the sound of a kindly voice
Smile on the lips of a friend
Uplifting strength from a helping hand
God's guiding Spirit at the day's end

I rejoice beside you
Where your streams of gladness flow
Where your days are filled with laughter
And at night gentle breezes blow


INSTRUMENTAL BRIDGE


And Pilgrim, I will walk beside you
When your heart wears thin with woe
For I have always been with you
And will be there wherever you go.



"Lord, what is your new creation?" (TBob, 3.14.05)

Lord, what is your new creation?
Is it a wonder of your kingdom?
Is it a rank of angelic beings,
Soon to surround your throne?

Is it the dust of some distant planet
Shaped to replace human kind for its sin
Strangely spun in some far-away gallaxy
Many light years from our own?

    Or is it the doors of my heart flung wide open
    Receiving my Savior and doing his will?
    I growing in Christ; Christ growing growing in me,
    His blood poured out is my righteousness still.

Lord, what is your new creation?
Is it wild branches grafted onto the tree?
Like your rebuke when you said you could raise the
Children of Abraham from stones.

Will it be as when you led Ezekiel
Into the valley of the mass grave?
Will you re-sinew and clothe with new flesh
as you breathe into those dry bones?

    Or will the doors of my heart fling wide open
    Receiving my Savior and doing his will?
    I growing in Christ; Christ growing growing in me,
    His blood poured out is my righteousness still.

Lord, what is your new creation?
The grain of wheat that falls to the ground?
And is it us, who but for your grace
would ever be lost and never found?

Is it the warmth that I feel in your presence,
Lord of my questions and Lord of my heart?
Your kingdom is my destination
You are the place where I start.        

    Now will the doors of my heart fling wide open
    Receiving my Savior and doing his will?
    I growing in Christ; Christ growing growing in me,
    His blood poured out is my righteousness still.



"Salvation on the Road" (TBob 11.11.05)

Make straight in the desert a highway for our Lord
Thus spake the  prophet in God's holy word
And as the grace from Immanuel flowed
we knew we'd found our salvation on the road [CHORUS]

In the shadow of the cross, Jesus' friends had much to dread,
But on their way to Emaus, He appeared and broke bread
Then as the grace from Immanuel flowed
They knew they'd found their salvation on the road [CHORUS]

Blind to the light of Truth, rode Saul the Pharisee
T'was on the highway to Damascus that the Truth set him free
And as the grace from Immanuel flowed
He knew he'd found his salvation on the road [CHORUS]

Now the Lord of all goodness built a freeway in my heart
Making me a new creation, giving life a new start
And as the grace from Immanuel flowed
I knew I'd found my salvation on the road [CHORUS]

    [CHORUS]
    Let every valley be exalted
    the rough places plain
    And as we take the path to His kingdom
    Let each loss be counted gain



"God's Spirit be with Us" (TBob 8.17.07)

Into life's tumult                    
Wind and fire borne
Yet bringing peace
To hearts that will receive

Person of God
And Holy Comforter
A gift of love
To those who dare believe

    O Breath of God
    The old be blown away
    Thy new creation
    In its place to stay

Great Paraclete
Guide to the Father's will
Bright heavenly dove
My light and counsel still

Thy seal on me
A covenant of grace
Till in thy courts
I see Thee face to face [chorus]

Spirit of truth
Anointing all my days
Teaching thy kingdom
A lamp unto my ways

Thou, wind of the wisdom of God
Herald of dawn
And well of salvation
With living waters drawn [churus]


"Will You See God Today" (TBob 4/30/18)

Will you see God today
not just on your knees when you pray
will you see Her face in a crowd
in the middle of laughter / with your head unbowed

Will you see God in a bar
or as that guy who ran into your car
he might be a prisoner in jail
or just walking the street / to deliver your mail [ref.]

 [REFRAIN] They didn't see God in the Son of Man
though according to prophesy this was God's plan
that Jesus would save us from sin
and new life in Him would begin

Will you see God today
if you do, what'll you have to say
will you understand when He speaks
will you know why He's here / and just what He seeks

Will you see God where you work
in a big corner office or just as a clerk
will He be in a waiting room
appointment at ten / but He's still there at noon [ref.]

Will God be an invalid child
blind, challenged to walk, and reviled
dying there in a hospital bed
with terminal cancer / or a wound in the head

Will God be your waitress tonight
or a slob bussing tables in your sight
pushing a broom 'cross the floor
perhaps just a stranger / knocking at your front door [ref.]

Will God have an immigrant's voice
speaking words that would not be your choice
your neighbor who calls you by name
you question his logic
and say that it's lame.


"God's Generosity" (TBob 2017)

God sends us all good things we have
and peace we cannot explain [instrum. bis]
the grace that saves us from our sin
a gift we never had to win
or rescue from the rain   
or rescue from the rain[ref.]

[REFRAIN]
The light of day, the Spirit's power
the wisdom and healing of this hour
The light of day, the Spirit's power
the wisdom and healing of this hour

Jehovah Jireh, our Lord God provides
He gives our daily bread [instrum. bis]
salvation through His loving Son
as victory over death he won
His blood for us was shed
Oh His blood for us was shed [ref.]

Our knowledge through His Holy Spirit comes
helping us to know His will [instrum. bis]
God's Word brings light into my days
it's been a lamp unto my ways
and it is my beacon still
and it is my beacon still [ref.]



Borrowed lyrics for my tunes or tunes for my lyrics

Have You Thought About Your Soul?  (lyrics from a Religious tract 1980)
http://home.att.net/~boyland/ThoughtAboutSoul.htm


Have you ever stopped to wonder
What this life is all about?
Why you're here and where you're going
When your lease on time runs out?
Maybe you've been far too busy,
Trying hard to reach your goal;
Would you let me ask you kindly,
Have you thought about your soul?
  
You may reach the highest portals,
And your dreams may all come true
Wealth and fame may be your portion,
And success may shine on you.
All your friends may sing your praises,
Not a care on you may roll;
What about the great tomorrow-
Have you thought about your soul?
 
Don't forget your days are numbered,
Though you may be ridin' high;
But like all of us poor mortals,
Someday you'll just up and die.
Your success and fame and glory
Won't be worth the bell they toll;
Let me ask you just one question,
Have you thought about your soul?

If you've never thought it over,
Spend a little time today;
There is nothing more important
That will ever come your way
Than the joy of sins forgiven,
And to know you've been made whole
In the name of Christ the Savior.
Have you thought about your soul?

(From the Berean Searchlight. May, 2001)
Religious tract I abtained at 1982 World's Fair in Knoxville


"A Christmas Hymn" (Richard Wilber, on Luke 19:39-40)

A stable-lamp is lighted
Whose glow shall wake the sky;
The stars shall bend their voices,
And every stone shall cry.
And every stone shall cry,
And straw like gold shall shine;
A barn shall harbor heaven
A stall become a shrine.

This child through David's city
Shall ride in triumph by;
The palm shall strew its branches,
And every stone shall cry.
And every stone shall cry,
Though heavy, dull and dumb,
And lie within the roadway
To pave his kingdom come.

Yet he shall be forsaken
And yielded up to die
The sky shall groan and darken,
And every stone shall cry.
And every stone shall cry,
For stony hearts of men:
God's blood upon the spearhead.
God's love refused again.

But now, as at the ending,
The low is lifted high;
The stars shall bend their voices,
And every stone shall cry.
And every stone shall cry,
In praises of the child
By whose descent among us
The worlds are reconciled.


"God's Mercy" to melody of "Moon River" (TBob 4/17/17)

God's mercy, wider than my sin
I claim forgiveness in Jesus' name
with heart stronger
to  walk longer
when I wrestle my weakness
It won't be the same

His kingdom, no it's not of this world
His peace is like a river, I know
His holy word is my guide. His spirit inside
His blessings abide. That's how God's mercies flow.

my heart's stronger
to  walk longer
when I wrestle my weakness
It won't be the same

His kingdom, no it's not of this world
His peace is like a river, I know
His holy word is my guide. His spirit inside
His blessings abide. That's how God's mercies flow.



 
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