When Our King Calls Us Home

Another song I hope to record one day:




When Our King Calls Us Home.
 
Our squabbles over pottage bowls,
That we disguise as higher goals,
Are worthless when our life unrolls
And our King calls us home.
 
The bitter words we spoke in rage
Can haunt us when we reach old age;
We’re grateful for a fresh, new page
And long to be called home.
 
Kindness shown in little ways
Will sparkle like the sun’s pure rays
When we’ve reached the End of Days
And Our King calls us home.
 
The treasures that we store with Him,
That far outweigh our sufferings,
Will cause our hearts to soar and sing
When our King calls us home.
 
When troubles come and blows we take,
When we feel our hearts will break,
We grow in glory for His sake,
Until He calls us home.
 
So now I make a daily choice,
In the chaos and the noise,
To listen for that still, small voice
When my King calls me home.

Perception

Perception

You might think you’re just a tiny speck within a raging storm,
A thousand different voices screaming at you to conform,
To give up hope, blaspheme your God, and join the vicious mob;
Or stand aside, at least, and let them do their hatchet job.

Defeat is unavoidable, what difference can you make?
What kind of fool would stand there when the dam’s about to break?
Then time itself stands still and you are swept before the Throne,
And He reveals you are in fact a vital cornerstone

To peoples you have yet to meet, besides the ones you know,
Your influence, for good or bad, eternity will show.
A thoughtful act can redirect a life that’s gone astray,
Bring broken souls back from the brink, unfounded fears allay,

Give strength to those so weary from fighting the good fight,
Grant the lame the grace to dance, give back the blind their sight,
As they perceive the holy war that’s waging for their hearts,
Step out from the audience and dare to play their part

In the thrilling drama that decides so many fates,
And takes them in directions they cannot anticipate,
Drawing others heavenwards with every step they take
Along the narrow path, leaving blessings in their wake.

Winter Musing

I wrote most of this this while on a walk yesterday:

Winter Musing

When snowy fields at sunset have turned the world to gold,
Remember truths you must pass on before your heart grows cold:
An empty soul cannot be filled with momentary joys;
A broken heart cannot be fixed with parties, tricks and shiny toys.

Don’t entertain yourselves to death, but reach for higher things,
You do not need to be struck blind or hear an angel’s wings
To witness glory all around in little acts of love,
Appreciate a kindness shown when push has come to shove,

Let the lonely child know there’s a place where he belongs,
Offer words of hope to those whose faith is not as strong:
When darkness overwhelms you and your path is all but gone,
The shadow’s but a passing thing, and you are not alone.

The one who knows your heart and pain,
Who knows your will to rise again,
Who calls the storm cloud and the rain,
Is closer than you know.

So lift your head up strong and proud,
And when before the madding crowd,
Be not afraid to shout aloud,
“In His steps I will go!”

Should they choose to run you through
For staying faithful, pure and true,
Then heaven’s door will be in view,
And joy will overflow.

People Filled with Fear

This is a song that I wrote in April in a doctor’s waiting room, and one that I hope will soon become very dated. It is sung approximately to the tune of ‘When Daddy Let me Drive’ by Alan Jackson.

People Filled With Fear

Sitting in a room of people filled with fear
Don’t want to let their masks slip or get too near.
Everyone so closed off, it’s no way to live;
Welling up inside me, I want to reach out and give

A little gleam of hope, a little glimpse of truth,
There’s more to life than dying once you lose your youth.
You were made to love, you were made to thrive,
I’m determined to be joyful every day that I’m alive,
There’s no need to despair now, the Father is in charge.

So when the news is scolding us that we’re all doomed,
Remember that our Saviour didn’t stay in his tomb.
Whatever life may throw at us, we have at our side
The mighty Lamb of God who chose us as his bride;

We are filled with hope, we all know the Truth,
We’ve found a secret greater than the fountain of youth.
There’s no need to run, there’s no need to hide,
We have founts of living water welling up inside,
So be bold and courageous, with the Spirit as our guide.

My First Online Concert (inc. Without Love, There is No Life)

Two weeks ago, I took part in the fourth Visible Music Weekend at the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Prague, in which the topic was live performances and livestreaming music performances, which culminated with a livestreamed music concert featuring songs by all of the participants in the weekend, together with some prerecorded videos, a short sermon and adverts for the two schools involved to give the live participants time to reorganize the stage between performers. The vast majority of the video is in Czech, so might not be of interest to the majority of my readers. (Some technical issues resulted in just under the first 40 seconds of the youtube video being blank). One of the prerecorded videos is a slightly tweaked version of my “Silent Night” video from several years back (21 minutes 23 seconds in), I feature in the backing choir in one song (39 minutes 37 seconds in), and my live section (starting at 56 minutes 26 seconds) is comprised of a bilingual reading of my Bohemian Advent poetry series, followed by the debut performance of a song I first wrote over a decade ago, but whose musical accompaniment was only finalised an hour before the livestream started, then finishing off with A Hope That Burns.

Through a combination of extreme nerves and no chance to rerecord things, I made a number of errors during my live performance, Over the coming weeks I will attempt to record a better quality version of Without Love, There is No Life for you all to enjoy. Here are the lyrics:

Without Love There Is No Life

(spoken)
Love is full of purity,
It shows patience and humility.
Love is not a selfish lust;
Instead, love gives a grounds for trust.
Love gives a child security,
Love gives a thing its beauty;
Because, without love there is no life.
(music begins on life, the rest is sung)

Love is a many-splendoured thing.
Love gives a broken man new wings.
It perseveres, no matter what the cost;
If you have love, you’re never truly lost;
Love, seeing all my flaws,
Love, guided by higher laws;
You know, without love there is no life.

Love simply wants to hear the truth.
Love, it is not eternal youth.
Love is more than soothing noises,
‘Cause love steps up and makes hard choices.
Love lasts through the ages,
It’s written on all life’s pages.
You see, without love there is no life.

It makes the ordinary great,
Won’t mind if you are late,
Won’t leave you to your fate,
This is love.

Love puts you in harm’s way,
Though you try, you can’t always save the day;
Love is there to share your pain,
To weep and help you on your feet again,
Love is a healing flow,
Love gives you room to grow.
You know, without love there is no life.

Love looks you in the face;
Love helps you find your place.
With love, you can forgive the past,
Move on and build a peace to really last.
Love is where you find your worth;
If you’re loved, you’re more precious than the Earth.
You see, without love there is no life.

It shows you you belong,
It admits when it is wrong,
It’s majestic and it’s strong,
This is love.

But love is not every time returned,
Love is not something you have earned,
Sometimes our care isn’t even prized;
Instead our thoughts are utterly despised.
True love goes on caring anyway,
Even when we walk the other way;
It knows that without love there is no life.

Love is how your soul can truly shine,
Through love I am yours and you are mine,
Love expressed is such an open book,
A life of love is worth a closer look,
Can it be, that here is love for me?
Come explore this greatest mystery,
And see that without love there is no life.

When the People Saw Their King

When the People Saw Their King

When the people saw their King
And shouted praises in the streets,
Laying cloaks as offerings
Before the donkey’s humble feet;

The nation’s healing was at hand,
Vain men dared not stem the flow
Of joy their pride could not withstand,
For fear the people might outgrow

Their iron grip upon the minds
Of the faithful, good and true,
And leave their twisted souls behind,
As God poured out blessings new,

And heaven would come down to earth;
All their hopes would be fulfilled.
All would see their own true worth,
Broken lives would be rebuilt.

As He revelled in the cheers
That greeted Him along the way,
Perhaps He shed an inner tear
At what awaited in five days.

The Day is Coming

Another song I might record one day:

The Day is Coming

My friend was mentioned on the news,
Misrepresenting all his views.
As they piled up lie on lie
I shook my head and gave a sigh.

Sometimes it seems like the devil is winning,
But I know in the end that he won’t be grinning

Oh, the day is comin’
So no, I won’t be runnin’.
I’ll stand, not hide or cower,
‘Cause my Lord, He has the power.

The innocent are torn to shreds
Some in the womb, some in their beds
And in the streets as their blood flows
Some celebrate this horror show

They love the darkness, despising the light
But that won’t be me, ‘cause I know what is right

Oh, the day is comin’
So no, I won’t be runnin’.
I’ll stand, not hide or cower,
‘Cause my Lord, He has the power.

In the kingdom that’s to come,
We’ll see the glory of the Son;
With justice that his foes all fear
And mercy for his bride so dear

United in joy that mere words can’t describe
‘Cause He cleared the Way thought His great sacrifice

Oh, that day is comin’
So no, I won’t be runnin’.
I’ll stand, not hide or cower,
‘Cause my Lord, He has the power.

When it Seems…

Another song I might record one day:

When it Seems…

When your nation’s soul is crumbling
As its purpose slowly dies;
A man of principle can’t find
A sight to soothe his eyes.

All around are trace reminders
Of the way things used to be
When honour, fortitude and trust
Were found abundantly.

Now the enemy is laughing
And his power seems secure,
Your allies are collapsing
And it seems you can’t endure:

There’s a hope that will never fail
There’s a power that’s above the sky,
You are part of a wondrous tale
Of love that simply will not die.

When the sickness overwhelms you
And your body’s wracked with pain;
The strength that always got you through
Has been completely drained,

There’s a truth that keeps you going
Through the fury of the storm;
There’s a kindness overflowing
That will all these woes transform

Into scars of pride and glory
In the kingdom that’s to come
As we witness the full story
Of the Father and the Son:

There’s a hope that will never fail
There’s a power that’s above the sky,
You are part of a wondrous tale
Of love that simply will not die.

And Yet…

And Yet…

When faced with a true master,
My words fall flat as stone;
No great deeds they accomplish,
No great sins they atone.

And yet a simple glimpse of truth
Is all a dark place needs
To show the walls are crumbling,
To plant some healthy seeds

That sprout and grow so strong they change
The world in ways profound;
Such as when a shepherd shod
His shoes on holy ground.

So take that little step with me
To truthfulness and light;
Who knows where that tight path will lead,
What otherworldly sight

Will greet us on the noble way
To love beyond our ken,
Where treasured souls we thought were lost
Shall reunite again?

There He who wipes our tears will smile
With arms thrown open wide,
Show us to our special place,
And welcome us with pride.

A Hope That Burns (Finally Recorded)

A Hope That Burns

As I indicated back when I first posted this, I hoped to participate in a local training weekend for musicians and sound engineers in collaboration with Visible Music College in Memphis, Tennessee, that included the professional recording and mixing of songs that we the participants wrote (one each), as well as basic instructions on techniques, tricks and resources for mixing and producing music professionally.

That recording went well (though it very nearly didn’t happen at all*) and in due time I received a mixed and raw multitrack version of the song, so I could practise the mixing techniques I’d been taught. I then had some vocal instruction from the amazing Moira Greyland Peat, who’s strength, grace and generosity of spirit despite a truly harrowing childhood is an inspiration to many, and resung an improved version of the vocals at home, then mixed it together to produce this final version that I hope will be enjoyable and uplifting.

For the rest of this month it will be available via the CD Baby store for the princely sum of 99 cents, (all other outlets are the same price, but the CD Baby store link above gives the best royalty per sale). Clicking on the image below shows all the outlets where you can stream or download the song.

A Hope That Burns

Melody and Lyrics by Ben Zwycky, accompaniment by Tomas Pavlicek

Vocals Ben Zwycky, keyboard Tomas Pavlicek, guitar Michal Petras

(*I completely lost my voice a week and a half before the weekend, only heard its musical accompaniment for the first time about an hour before we were supposed to demonstrate our songs to show that they were worth recording, while my voice was still shaky, and a scheduling conflict meant that we ended up doing our full recording half an hour after the window for recordings was supposed to close.)