To The Dark For Me

When night fell
in the middle of the day
Jesus, you paid the price
so I didn’t have to pay.
You went to the dark for me.

On earth, in heaven, our king.
There, between two thieves,
you gave compassion
while demanding none for yourself.
You went to the dark for me.

To the dark for me,
to the dark for me,
through the scourge, the nails, the taunts and the mockery.
To the dark for me,
to the dark for me,
though in agony, Jesus, you went to the dark for me.

Now I have dreams
because you faced the nightmare,
and there is nothing I can give you
except surrender.

Sweet mystery,
sweet mystery,
that my pardon was purchased before I could search it,
sweet mystery.
The greatest story…
I’ll tell your story,
that you sacrificed your life for all mankind.

Though I do great deeds,
I could never repay.
Though thousands revere me and honor my name,
I could never earn the gift you gave away…
when you defeated the grave.

To the dark for me,
you went to the dark for me,
when Jesus, a curtain fell across the sun.
Lamb of God, given and risen, glorious one.
We’re freed from sin, so now and forever, your love has won…
because you went to the dark for me,
you went to the dark for me,
He went to the dark… for you.

©Joel Tipple
#1/17

 

 

 

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Joseph’s Heart

 

Joseph, how’s your heart?
How do you perceive
the son of God
your Mary’s conceived?
What kind of man are you
who refused to send her away?

Joseph, we don’t know much about you,
do we?
We know when you discovered
Mary was with child
you refused to publicly shame,
but rather decided to divorce her in private.

Then came the dream…
and the angel.

Perhaps an ordinary man would consider
the angelic visitation
a fanciful imagining,
or indigestion…
but you didn’t.

You took Mary and the miracle
and made them your family.
God couldn’t have chosen you lightly.
What was it about your heart?

What was it about your heart,
simple carpenter from Nazareth?
Stepfather to Jesus,
chosen to protect and care for our Lord.

God picked you, Joseph
to be
the most important dad
in history,
a man who played a vital part…
God knew your heart.

Joseph, with the rising of the sun
See this baby who is and isn’t your son.
The angel said, “Don’t be afraid…”
Did you think, “that’s easy for an angel to say”?
So here you are, with your unique family
and no decent place to stay.
How is your heart?

Did you wonder, “How could God choose me?”
Could you feel the weight of history?
Or, like any father, in an unexpected place,
did you wall off your fears,
put on a brave face
and slow your pounding heart?

Did you wonder, why wasn’t he born in a castle,
with servants for every need?
Why would the Holy Spirit
pick out a simple man like me
for this special baby and Mary?

Questions upon questions made you dizzy,
Why are these shepherds visiting?
What am I to do?
God, answer my heart.
Help me see.

Then later, when it was time for the circumcision,
you and Mary marvelled at the words of Simeon.
We suppose you must have been both frightened and proud.

Then, your heart’s strength is tested
while on the run to Egypt.

If your hair wasn’t already gray by this time,
it must have turned so when Jesus disappeared
at the age of twelve, for three days, following the festival.
In the blink of an eye, you see your child becoming a man
when you and Mary discover him
in the midst of the temple teachers.

There is a long period of your son’s life
We know almost nothing about, Joseph.
Though he was not of you, certainly much of you
was invested in our Lord
Joseph, you were a special man.
You raised Jesus,
but didn’t live to see the moment
he fulfilled God’s rescue plan.

We relate to you Joseph
because we often don’t see
the conclusion of stories
which begin as dreams.
God chose you for a special part,
but first, he made your heart.

©Joel Tipple
#10/16

 

 

 

A Bit of Bread

Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:16-17

In this season

if we are able

we bring those we love

to our table

and celebrate

and feast

while at the same time

we’re honored to share

with others

who might not have the means

but God

to our joy

nevers limits himself

to our concept of time

or date of festival

So it is that

 

a bit of bread

a sip of wine

will always be

my Thanksgiving

 

We share communion

remembering

the body and the blood

some in open, some in secret

all together in God’s love

preparing for our mission field

ten thousand miles away, or one

 

The union of believers

gathered wounded searching souls

numbered few or many

makes no difference at all

God’s pleased as his children

make one giant choir call

in thanksgiving

 

If angels could cry tears of joy

it would rain

if angels could cry tears of joy

you know we’d feel the rain

 

God’s children

gathered around the world

lift their hands

different languages

accents of  their lands

placed within us all

a desire

to worship our Father

so

this offering we now bring

 

Praises to our God

he’s on the throne

we’ll sing praises to our Lord

till we go home

then every nation gathered

the bride’s song will continue

on and on

the sweetest song

on and on

our worship song

 

Whether my table

is laden or lean

the presence of Jesus within

sustains

and nourishes me

 

a bit of bread

a sip of wine

will always be

my Thanksgiving

 

©Joel Tipple
#9/16

 

 

Present

To be a gift
you must be present…
not a perfect present,
a present perfectly real.
Show me you,
the unique you God made.
Show me strength
that bends
instead of brittle, breaking.
Show me love
that can share my sorrow,
not only my joy.
Don’t just show me what you think,
show me what you feel.
Please don’t show me
what you own
and in the showing reveal
what owns you.
Oh, be owned
most definitely be owned.
But be owned
by the ultimate sacrifice,
the ultimate present,
the giver of life.
Be the gift
by giving yourself
to the present.

©Joel Tipple
#8/16

The Wings of a Butterfly

We all live

and we all die.

God gives us some time in between.

By his grace, while we’re here,

like the butterfly,

we move our wings.

 

Just how much do we really matter?

How much could we really matter?

Ask a butterfly if the edies of air that are born

with the movement of its wings

can make a storm.

Ask a butterfly.

 

Gather some thoughts.

Build some words.

Add a dash of joy

from a praise song you’ve heard.

Reach up your hands

to the giver of life

Make all we are and will become

ever sanctified

to Jesus.

 

 

God always has a reason

For his sometimes mysterious ways

Since he chooses us to be his hands and feet

Why would we waste even a day?

 

Wonderful Father, almighty creator,

would that we, and all life

Move at the direction

of your loving and just hands.

 

Gather some thoughts.

Build some words.

Add a dash of joy

from a praise song you’ve heard

Reach up your hands

to the giver of life

Make all we are and will become

ever sanctified

to Jesus.

 

©Joel Tipple
#7/16

Father

Daddy, Dad, Papa, Father,

the names we have for our own,

the names our own call us.

So much bound up in one little word

for the man we invest with our trust.

 

“I’ll fix it!”

 

Baby, if you only knew

how new you are to me.

But how complicated can you be?

Just some biology, right?

 

Honey, where’s her mute button?

She didn’t come with one?

She’s fed.

Her diaper’s changed

I’m sooo tired…

“I can fix this.”

 

What kind of homework do you have?

A project?

When is it due?

Tomorrow morning?!

Okay, let’s get started.

 

The school dance?

She’s not that old!

She IS that old?

How did she get that old?

 

“I can’t fix this.”

 

High School, maybe college, a job, her own baby

and the cycle’s complete.

Like shampoo, rinse, repeat

and I still can’t get any sleep.


“God, help me fix this.”

A grandfather?

I can’t be that old!

I AM that old?

How did I get to be this old?!

 

One day I’m carrying you,

the next you’re holding me.

And in a flash life happens,

filling the pages in between.

 

God, our perfect father,

If we’re wise, we look to you first

To help us raise little humans

at their best and at their worst.

 

There is a book, after all,

though dads are loath to read instructions.

But first things first, can you help me

find my reading glasses?

©Joel Tipple
#6/16

Order My Heart

The world says I should listen
but I know you’ve an opinion
God, would you order my heart?

I need to hear what you say first.
My heart can be so wayward.
Examine each and every part.

I wake up to pursue your way
But the world and my ego often stand in the way.

I’m following you and asking you to mold my heart.
I’m such stubborn clay,
Father shape me, shape me.
Make my heart beat in time with your Holy Spirit now
I’m reaching out my arms.
Father hold me, hold me.

I’m hard of hearing
So come to my aid.
Help me sense your voice
today and all my days

I’m following you and asking you to mold my heart.
I’m such stubborn clay,
Father shape me, shape me.
Make my heart beat in time with your Holy Spirit now.
I’m reaching out my arms.
Father hold me, hold me.
Father hold me, hold me.

©Joel Tipple
#5/16