When Sunday sun shines through the vapor

floating just beyond our sight

When the droplets bend the prisms

revealing rainbows in the light

When the children break the silence

as everybody prays

When the seasons change like paraments

marking all our days

When we stand before the font

water washed and Spirit born

When we taste the bread and wine

at the dawn on Easter morn

When we gather in our grief

singing resurrection songs

When we return to arms of God

a saint God’s all along

When we hear the benediction

and we turn and leave the nave

When we scatter into service

to the world Christ died to save


Still the promises ring hollow

Still it feels like God forsakes

Still the raw and honest prayers

yield only scorpions and snakes

Still all the declarations

feel so empty and untrue

Still even great commissions

seem for everyone but you

Still you hear sacred scripture

say you’re precious as a pearl

Still these promises fall silent

when our parish is our world

Still craftier than serpents

than gentle as the dove

Still abdicating mandates

to teach others how to love

Still they see the divine image

only in some other face

All while singing songs of freedom

and God’s amazing grace



Yet we still will pray the prayers

Yet we still will sing the songs

Yet we’ll bend the arc of justice

though the struggle, though it’s long

Yet we’ll see our maker’s mark

in every person’s face

Yet we’ll speak against theologies

which add conditions to God’s grace

Yet we’ll walk this narrow pathway

through this valley of dry bones

to where no one is excluded

and no one stands alone


Until there is nothing left to protest

Until there is nothing left to grieve

Until no one is forsaken

Until there is nothing to achieve

Until the weapons all fall silent

Until all the marches end

Until we till the soil with plowshares

Until there’s nothing to defend

Until they’re places at the table

in every church and home

Until justice flows like water

and all know God’s shalom

Until these ashes turn to ashes

Until our dust returns to dust

Until our lives are placed in wounded hands

of all we know and trust

Until the whole of God’s salvation

children ransomed from the fall

live side by side in perfect peace

and know that all means all.


 Doug Forrester is the lead pastor of Reveille UMC. He is a graduate of Emory & Henry College and Duke University Divinity School. He has served churches in North Carolina, Newport News, Prince George, Crozet, and Richmond, where he lives with his wife Tracy and daughters Ellen and Claire. 

Rev. Doug Forrester