A couple weeks ago, I (Orin) was happy to again attend the Liturgical Composers Forum here in St. Louis, to rub shoulders with composers both quite familiar, newly-published, and all places in-between.Each year there is a different presenter for the group; this year’s was Cyprian Consiglio, a composer who is also a priest and monk. He has a hidden gem of a piece in the original Sprit and Song volume, an adaptation of “As One Unknown.” It details the many ways Christ can appear before us, emphasizing in its added refrain the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist.
Cyprian has more recently travelled extensively through Asia and brought his knowledge and passion of other world religions to his presentations and music he shared with us at the LCF. One of his talks highlighted how different religions approach Jerusalem, both physically and spiritually (symbolically), emphasizing our common ground.
The LCF week most always propels me into writing new music, and this one is no exception. My mind and heart has been pondering, leading up to this reflection on justice, how Christ appears before us in the vulnerable, oppressed, and homeless, and how all peoples share some amount – likely a large amount – of common ground, all made in the image and likeness of God.
While the music is well on its way, it’s not quite done yet. However, I *think* the text is done, and I’m happy to share it here with you today. Let us pray that what connects us to one another is stronger than what tries to divide us.
Common Ground – by Orin Johnson ©2017
We all share a common, holy ground,
we all share the hope, the promise
of the One whose image is inscribed upon our souls.
We all share this holy ground.
The earth that we walk on is sacred.
Out of nothing this world was made
by the One who said, “Let there be…”
bringing forth all things, day by day.
The flesh we inhabit is sacred.
We are filled with the breath of life
from the One who took dust and clay,
forming living souls, humankind.
The lives that we share here are sacred,
lives of justice, of holy peace.
But the One who orders all things
places love as greater than these.
The whole of creation is sacred,
All that was and will ever be.
For the One who reigns from on high
chose to make himself small, came to dwell among all,
and remains till all is complete,
and remains till all is complete.