This New Wheel


*For Mary and Andrew


This seems the right time for music or poetry – 

but pottery might get us there 

from the hands that create 

to paint that adorns to the contents of character they carry 

These are the vessels God crafts and restores 

and invites us to throw and to bear 


We gathered by shores, the family of God 

intent on this woman, this man 

lifting the water from Junaluska, 

Inner Harbor, Louise, and Annapolis – 

We remembered our baptism, scrubbed down the world, 

put drops to our clay and began 


With rough spots and smooth 

we cast and God molded 

now each form pushes back to reveal 

artwork claiming their own creation – 

two people climb on this new wheel. 


They met and decided that with unique strata 

their composites not lost, but joined 

by their craftsmanship shared and the artists who love them 

one beautiful work to enjoy 

Empty jar soon adorned, light-hearted colors, strong forms 

show injustice that music and laughter destroy 


Contrasting lines that negotiate scenes 

of children honored, and friends received. 

These signs of promises held inside - 

a forever, a day, and what else may come knocking. 

A vessel which shows us loving better 

and reveals what true listening achieves. 


It will stand as a living artifact built, 

painted, and fired for respect 

And when time and dust claim it again 

will return, some new earth to bless 

Another jar, and new generations' talesof holy and limitless Yes.



And Are We Yet Alive

This is a traditional text sung at yearly conferences of Methodists. In the early days it literally celebrated the fact that these frontier circuit riders were still living on this planet! Now the words, in light of the troubles our churches have seen as institutions, remind us that with a focusing on the mission of Jesus Christ for us - to make disciples for the transformation of the world - we may continue experience life in Christ together.

The Love Feast

Jesus constantly revealed God's love for the world to small groups around a meal. But those dinners became so much more. In their sharing disciples remember Jesus, pray to God and for one another, and give testimony to the coming heavenly banquet of God. The Love Feast was also a practice of early Methodist communities (and some - like Emerge - still today) in which bread and water and witness are shared together.

In This Hour

Built around the story of the hemorraging woman, this song recognizes her great faithfulness and asks if we too may have such faith in Christ. When we reach out to him, through study of his words and his work we may tremble. But, we remember that Jesus healed and cleansed, and always with an eye toward nurturing the faith of the individual and the community through such witness.

From Strength To Strength

Many hymns use military imagery to talk about how we follow Christ or win over evil. But, Jesus in no way would have us attempt to bring about his kingdom by force. His armor (as described in Ephesians 6:10-18) is always conditioned - it is the breastplate of righteousness, shodding your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. This song reminds us that even if we use images of war in our hymns they should always be helping us to move from our own forms of strength (military violence) to Jesus' form of strength - which is love.

A Portrait of Love

© 2007 Carl Thomas and Anna Stroud Gladstone

Two lives together as oneRaised in the promise of God
Then a daughter and a son
To serve, to sing, to love

Thank you for the love that you give
For the love that you gave
For the love that you give
to me

You picked on me till I cried
Then a shoulder I cried on
I was your punchline, now
You're the laughter in my life

Thank you for the man that [woman] I am
for the woman [man that] I am
for the man that [woman] I am

You left a rose on the porch
A father's day we won't forget
The pain has slowly run its course
While I learn to walk and stand again

Throw a little party with you
throw a party with you
throw a party with you

Now we'll take a turn to share
your love for us with the world
we go out from your care
missionaries of...this love!

Save a little part of the world
save a part of the world
save a part of the world
with you

Two share a love untold
Realized amid many
Many companions all posed
in a portrait of love

Paint a little portrait of love
paint a portrait of love
paint a portrait of love
with you

For all our friends and family