Saturday, December 26, 2015

Saturday Post: Gospel Song with Reminiscence

(Reclaimed from Blogjob. Tags: Bad Poetrydoers of the wordfolk gospel songlife and teaching of Jesusme me me me meold Spanish missions of the Southwestern States,Seventh-Day Adventist.)

I wrote this specimen of Bad Poetry a few years ago. Inspiration came from a gospel-folk song I'd heard, but not actually learned, in grade five. It's about the life rather than only the birth of Christ, but it seems to fit.
To meet the length requirements for this blog, I'll reminisce a bit about the circumstances under which I heard the tune. At the end of their nomad phase, when we finally inherited a home of our own, my parents were in California again; this time it was Sacramento. My brother and I had been enrolled in the Southgate Mission School.
Southgate was in the process of getting a face-lift but it was a very rough neighborhood. Drunks threw glass bottles at our bicycles as we pedalled to school in the morning. One afternoon my brother actually wanted to support a protest some older teenagers were doing, and a couple of big boys--who looked to us like men--knocked my brother off his bike with their picket signs. In September Anglo-Californians usually thought we were Mexicans. Never trust anyone who tells you there's no race hate in California. There was plenty. In Southgate, outside the Mission School, there wasn't much else.
But the Seventh-Day Adventist Mission School was a pleasant place, probably the most racially integrated place in Sacramento. Nobody asked us what race we considered ourselves to be. Nobody, for that matter, gave us any grief about not being allowed to indulge in fashion fads, or about having "health food" packed in our school lunches. Each day's lessons started with an hour of "Bible Class," ended with an hour of "Gardening Class," and seemed to squeeze in all the other classes from public school, with time to spare, because time wasn't lost to displays of rebellion--everyone wanted to be there. We actually found time to study geography.
We had music classes, too, every day. On Fridays we marched up the street to demonstrate our progress in those music classes by singing at the nearby nursing home. Nobody brought a banjo, but a couple of teachers did carry along a fiddle and guitar to keep us on key. And that was where I realized that, although everybody feels tense before they sing on stage, I enjoyed actually being on stage.
Anyway, grade eight sang a song with a tune that was somewhere in between the one I use with this song, and one of the tunes printed in Advent Youth Sing. Grade five sang "Amazing Grace," "The Old Rugged Cross," and "Faith of Our Fathers."
Feed My Sheep
As a Shepherd Jesus came,
Saying “If you want to use My Name,
If you love Me, then My commandments keep.
Feed My lambs, feed My sheep.”
As a Teacher Christ did walk,
Called for work, not only talk.
“Learn to do the things you have heard.
Not your feelings; heed God’s Word.”
As a Healer Christ went forth.
“Love all people, south or north.
Let Love flow from tongue or hand
To all people, to the land.”
As a Savior Jesus rose.
“Use the time before it goes.
Fields are ripe, and workers few.
What you say you will, then do.”
As the King He will come again.
“Teach salvation clear and plain.
If you love Me true, My commandments keep.
Feed My lambs; feed My sheep.”
(Graphics from Kconnors at , and I recommend looking at the picture there--many details are lost in compression.)