Thursday, July 26, 2018

Cried, and I'm not sure why

Today, as I drove to work, I listened to this podcast, Medium's Playback, "What Fullness Is" by Roxane Gay. I thought it was so interesting! As she said, Roxane Gay "wrote a book, Hunger, about [her] body.[She] wrote about being fat." I knew I had heard her name but didn't realize until now when I googled her that I have read Roxane Gay's essay collection, Bad Feminist. Very good.

Anyway, this podcast essay was about Roxanne's story of deciding to, living through, and recovering from bariatric surgery. There were so many factors to this story. Gay's writing is all about fatness -- about the way that she (and others who are fat) navigate through the world. She has to think and plan before any outing how she will fit into the space -- and even IF she will fit at all. She knows she will hear unkind remarks any time she's in public. One of the last straws before she had the surgery was when "a young man yelled at me to move my fat black ass while I was crossing a grocery store parking lot to my car." She went to her car, "drove home and went to bed, and hoped [she] might not wake up," How sad is that.

Gay also talked a lot about her depressive tendencies, not solved by losing weight. She wrote:

I had to face the extent of my unhappiness and how much of that unhappiness was connected to my body. I had to accept that I could change my fat body faster than this culture will change how it views, treats, and accommodates fat bodies. And I had to do so while recognizing that losing weight wasn’t actually going to make me happier — which may have been the bitterest part of all.

It reminded me of the books by Geneen Roth. She wrote, too, about how we often think that if we could just lose weight -- or whatever that most important thing might be -- all our problems would be solved, we would be happy, our life would be wonderful. But it doesn't work that way. I remember once my mom told me about going to a beautiful spot by a bay where my dad wondered if they could build a house, and my mom said, "You know, Lou, wherever you go, there you are." Right?! After losing the weight, after gaining that one important thing, there you still are.

As I listened to Roxane Gay read her essay and then her interview after, I thought of loved ones in my own life who are overweight, who tend toward depression, who have that "yawning cavern inside of [them]" that they try to fill with food or with money or with success or with pleasing others. Myself, too. We all have the desire to be happy.

After the podcast ended, I was close to work but not there yet. I was in heavy traffic and didn't want to futz around with my phone for another podcast, so I turned on an oldies radio station to listen to music for a while. The chorus came on:

And sometimes when we touch
The honesty's too much
And I have to close my eyes
And hide
I want to hold you till I die
Till we both break down and cry
I want to hold you till the fear in me subsides.

I know the words to this song (Sometimes When We Touch, by Dan Hill). It was popular when I was young. I sang along. But this song was never significant to me. I didn't even know its name. It had no emotional pull on me. I have no memories that it evokes. Yet, as I sang along I suddenly started bawling my eyes out. Even now, writing about it, I'm tearing up.

What is going on?? Honestly, I'm not sure. Maybe it was the association of the words of the song with the essay and interview along with my thoughts. I guess it must have been. It was pretty strange, though, crying like that and truly not knowing why or where this sadness came from.

When I think about my life, the people in my life, all of it, I don't feel sad. I feel happy that God has filled my heart so much recently, that I am able, with God's presence in me, to feel a deep contentment, to know that God loves me and he's got it, I can rest in his arms, let it go, know it's not up to me, God will do the work. I don't understand that welling of sadness that came over me, but I am grateful for the happiness in my heart.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Black & White Cows

Springtime in Ireland is always a source of joy,
as I admire the black and white patchwork that our fields start to become.
Coming from a dairy farm in rural County Meath
means that the black and white Fresian cow is a symbol
of so much that underpins who I am.

-- Padraig O’Tuoma

This quote (above) that I saw on Twitter this morning made me smile. "...The black and white Fresian cow is a symbol of so much that underpins who I am." Probably anyone reading this blog knows how much I like cows. Black and white cows - the Fresian ones - are my favorite. I had never thought they were "a symbol of so much that underpins who I am." That sounds so lofty! Seeing cows gives me a warm, comforting feeling because, when I was a kid, black & white cows in the fields outside town were the first sign that we were almost to Lynden.

Again, if you know me, you've heard this already, but I'll write about it for posterity. :) My dad was a chaplain in the Air Force when my brothers, sister, and I were growing up. We moved a lot. The moves were rather traumatic for us. (Maybe traumatic is too strong a word. Upsetting? Seems too weak.) One wonderful thing about the moves was that nearly every time, as we were driving across the country to our new home, we'd have a long visit in Lynden, Washington, where my dad grew up on a dairy farm. There were many other dairy farms in the area, hence the cows.

As we approached Lynden, we'd see (and smell) the cows in the fields, then we'd drive through two graveyard plots, one on each side of the road. And then...Lynden. For me, and I think for my siblings, Lynden felt like a little slice of heaven. My dad came from a family of 8 kids - 6 boys and 2 girls - so we had 7 aunts & uncles and around 30 cousins, most of whom lived in or near Lynden. I know I look back with rose-colored glasses, but it seemed idyllic to me.

When we first started going to Lynden, my dad's brother (my uncle), his wife (my aunt), and kids (my cousins) were still living on the family farm. My older brother and I stayed with them since the family included cousins our age. Running around outside, watching my uncle and cousins tend to the cows in the barn, visiting the calves, making forts in the hay loft -- it doesn't get much better than that for a kid. Later, when my uncle and his family no longer had the farm, Lynden still meant being with all these people who loved me! (Just the way I am, as Mr. Rogers would say.)

A favorite memory is when I was sitting on the steps to the living room at one of my aunt's houses. She was hosting the family coffee time after church. As the aunts and uncles walked by, they would reach down and rustle my hair, or pat me and say hello. That memory comes to my mind when I hear Louis Armstrong singing "What a Wonderful World." "...I see friends shaking hands saying how do you do; they're really saying I love you."

I think that feeling I get from seeing cows is the joy of belonging. I felt I belonged in Lynden. I fit right in. My brother settled there as an adult, married, and raised his children there. He told me how good it felt that, as he drove from town to his home, he waved to other drivers over and over. They knew him. He belonged.

So maybe you could say those black and white cows are "a symbol of so much that underpins who I am." I still often say I'm going "home" when I visit Lynden, even though I only lived there one year of my life. Where -- and with whom -- I belong has expanded beyond Lynden and my family there. Yet those cows are still a symbol that I belong, I am loved. Bless the black and white cows.

What makes you feel that sense of belonging? What symbolizes much that underpins you?

May you feel God’s comfort surrounding you

When I was a little girl, I was afraid of the dark. (OK, I kind of still am.) When I woke up in the middle of the night, I was scared to even put my hands outside the covers, let alone get up. To make myself feel a little braver, I would imagine God was hugging me. I could practically feel his arms around me.

It’s a good thing to imagine -- God’s arms hugging you. I pray you feel God’s comfort enfolding you like a loving, hearty hug.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
-- Psalm 23:4

What can I pray for you?

Thank you to those who replied to the first email with prayer requests. It has been my joy to pray with you.

love and blessings,

PS - I wrote a little bit about this verse on my blog some time back.

If you would like to send me specific prayer requests and are reading this as an email message, just reply. I will gladly pray with you. If you are reading this in my blog, email me at mavis at I'll keep all communication confidential.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Don't feel guilty about taking a break from the news

I read an article called "Don't Feel Guilty About Taking a Break from Trump" (could've been "...taking a break from the news"). If you're like me, you do sometimes feel guilty about not listening to the news. Sometimes I feel like if I don't think and worry about what's happening in the world I am somehow copping out, being weak and shallow. This reminded me of what Krista Tippett said on her new podcast section, Living the Questions. One way I stay grounded is by limiting my exposure to what I’m taking in. And that’s not choosing to be uninformed, but I don’t actually think we are equipped, even physiologically or mentally, to be delivered catastrophic and confusing news and pictures, 24/7. We are analog creatures in a digital world. So I don’t follow what happened in the last 20 minutes, all day long, and I think that’s actually, right now, a spiritual discipline. I listen to the BBC morning news program; not the World Service, but the BBC morning news that was on six hours ago, our time. So I know if any big thing has happened overnight, but I know, also, that whatever happened in the last few hours, I will find out about in due course. And I don’t need to feed myself a constant diet of despair. The other spiritual discipline and way to stay grounded is that however seriously we must take what’s happening in the world and what the headlines are reflecting, it is never the full story of our time. It’s not the last word on what we’re capable of. It’s not the whole story of us. And we have to take that other narrative that’s not reaching the headline point, which is a very specific bar. Journalism, the way it came down to us from the 20th century, is absolutely focused, utterly and completely, on what is catastrophic, corrupt, and failing. And then, at the same time, there are good people. There are healing initiatives. There is a narrative of healing and of hope and of goodness, and we also just, as a discipline, have to take that in, as well — not instead of, but the both/and of humanity and of our world. And I think it’s only in doing that that we keep flexing and strengthening our hope muscle. Hope is a muscle. It’s a choice. It is a vigorous choice, to see what is wrong and what needs healing and needs repair and needs our attention and also to keep our hearts and our imaginations and our energy oriented towards what we want to build, what we want to create, what we’re walking towards. Krista talks about hope, and the other article ends with: "You don’t have to save the world,” he said. “That’s someone else’s job.”

Where Krista says, "We are analog creatures in a digital world," it reminded me of yet another thing I heard someone say, "We live in a 100 mph world and worship a 3 mph God."

What good truths to be reminded of! I pray we all practice the spiritual disciplines of limiting our exposure to what we take in (without becoming uninformed) and taking in the "narrative of healing and of hope and of goodness."

Friday, July 20, 2018

(Doing) Down with the Patriarchy by Sarah Bessey

I could relate to this article (even though I don't make jam). Sarah Bessey is a fave.

An exclusive post for Field Notes subscribers
*pulls out Ye Olde Ranting Soapbox*
*blows off the dust and coughs dramatically*
*tap, tap*
Let's see if this thing still works.

This past week, I made jam. Full disclosure: I am not in the habit of making jam but my husband, Brian, is an avid gardener so we are swimming in raspberries at the moment. And I cannot - in a neighbourhood of Mennonites and lapsed Mennonites - be perceived as wasteful so jam-making it is.
When I was growing up, we used to call canning or preserving "doing down" - I've since learned that other regions say "putting up" and that juxtaposition made my day. My mother and I used to joke that there are two types of women: the women who "do down" and the women who don't. We have always been the latter.

My granny on my dad's side was a Saskatchewan farm girl. She moved to the city after the war and set up an urban homestead in their backyard that would make precious food bloggers kale-green with jealousy. She often did down with the veggies and berries left over from a summer of grandchildren snitching from the garden.

I am nearly forty and I have yet to enjoy eating anything as much as I enjoyed eating a carrot pulled out of the dirt and washed with the garden hose or a warm strawberry plucked from underneath a leaf in her garden when I was a child.

Every bite has been downhill since then.

My daughter, Anne, and I have been watching the new series "Back in Time for Dinner" on CBC this summer and it has reminded me of how my generation - raised in the 70s and 80s - were the first to receive both traditionally unprocessed food and processed or convenience foods because we were the first generation with both parents employed away from the home. We were the children of the second wave of feminism.

And what a joy that was - to be honest, I am just as nostalgic about hot dogs cut up into Kraft Dinner as I am about tomatoes from the garden.

(Side note: Almost the only people who can un-ironically talk about the good old days are middle-to-upper class white men because for the rest of us, the good old days cannot be characterized as actually "good." And I say that as a relatively privileged white woman so imagine the story for people of colour and indigenous communities...)

Seeing Tristan, the mother in the reality TV series, balanced in high heels in her immaculate 1950s kitchen after a day of housework - the epitome of the sitcom mother we seem to have confused with biblical womanhood - with a tight smile as she said through gritted teeth, "This was a horrible decade for women" was a reminder of the truth. The joy she portrays in the 70s and 80s episodes when she is finally emancipated from the requirements of exclusive labour intensive domestic life - doing-down, baking the family bread, spending 80 hours cleaning the house, washing clothes by hand, - is palpable and relatable. The advent of dishwashers, a de-centralized approach to caring for the family, the option to resume her work as a nurse, and, yes, Kraft Dinner meant that women had choice for the first time in a long time. And for that I'm incredibly grateful for the sacrifices and work of feminists.  

Christians often tell me that they parted ways with feminism during these decades of the 60s and 70s because they saw it as a “threat to the family” which I find interesting. Prior to that, the first wave of feminism was deeply devout. A lot of the women who were fighting for women's rights, for workers rights, for abolition, and so on were doing so precisely because of their deep Christian faith. These women were disturbing and rabble-rousing and disrupting because they believed the inherent value and dignity of women's lives and votes, duties and responsibilities were God-given. And there was a major second wave of feminism and egalitarianism within the Church as well in the 70s and 80s that deeply influenced me and the women who pastored me.

(Every time someone asks me about this "Crazy New Thing of Christian Feminism," it takes every polite Canadian bone in my body to not howl with laughter.)

One of the reasons I was so drawn to feminism as a young woman was because I saw so much of what I had learned from Jesus there. I saw the Gospel truth that we are all made in the image of God, that the incarnation matters, that God is as much female as male and all points between, that the spaces of the oppressed and marginalized and silenced were the exact places Jesus liked to hang out the most, that women's rights mattered to God because when the flourishing of women mattered, that Jesus thought women were people, that telling the truth was a way to be set free. I saw so much of our full humanity, long affirmed by God, finally being affirmed in a social movement. And I loved it. I still do. That's not to paint a rose-coloured brush over a complex and imperfect movement or pretend I don't have critiques but we’re deeply indebted to second wave and third wave feminism. Their radical, disruptive, counter-cultural, scary-to-the-establishment, imperfect feminism meant that girls like me - born in the 70s and raised in the 80s and coming into adulthood in the 90s - were the recipients of their labour …. one of which is choice.

We were allowed to choose. We had achieved a measure of agency for our own lives at last. We could choose to get married - or not. We could choose to have a credit card, to go to work, to stay home, to travel alone, to have sex, to have children, to talk about pleasure, to garden, to move, to read books, to go to school, to live alone, to preach, to run for office - or not. We could choose. We were not shackled to a particular path simply because of our gender.  That is not to say that it was easy: those paths were still filled with struggle and pain and effort and disruption.

But the more women walked the path and cleared the path for other women coming up behind them, the further we could walk together. (There is still a lot of road ahead here, too, because a whole other conversation I haven’t even touched on here is how that freedom from domestic drudgery was mainly a straight white women’s conversation, lacking intersectionality.) Even the women who claim to eschew feminism now benefit from the choice to do so.

We are still walking those paths, cleared for us by the women who came before us. We have been given so many gifts. Or as Eliza Hamilton might sing, “How lucky we are to be alive right now.”
All of which brings me back to the jam. (You know I’d get here eventually.)

When I post things on social media from my personal life - whether that is making jam or knitting sweaters (I'm an avid knitter) or family life with my kids - I often hear from well-meaning fellow feminists who want to correct me for my choices. They caution that I'm reinforcing heteronormative behaviour for women, that I'm not a good feminist because I am a straight married mother of four who likes to bake bread sometimes, that I’m somehow less of a feminist because now my life is perceived as palatable to the patriarchy.

Oh, there goes that "Jesus Feminist" talking about knitting and baking and her kids - again.

And I, an intellectual and deeply spiritual being with depth and maturity, respond as such: That entirely misses the point. And it is actually evidence of the powers and principalities of patriarchy we seek to dismantle actively still at work.

Because here's the thing: When I post pictures of myself preaching, I get a lot of "yaaassss, girl!" comments. And if I were to post pictures of myself doing other work that people have traditionally viewed as "men's work" such as wood-working or boxing or mowing the lawn, I'd probably also get a lot of "yes, girl, get it!"

But because I also enjoy and find meaningful work that has been traditionally viewed as "women's work" .... somehow this lacks value? These practices aren’t feminist enough? Is that what we're saying? Are we really truly free and egalitarian if we all elevate and amplify only traditionally male practices and hobbies and roles? Just as we get to choose not to do certain things or to hire them out or to purchase them, we get to choose the alternative.

Gracious, the system of patriarchy does ruin everything. Even the simple joy of making jam or knitting a sweater.

Debbie Stoller, founder of the feminist magazine BUST, wrote about reclaiming knitting as a feminist act in her book Stitch n' Bitch: "All the people who looked down on knitting - and housework, and housewives - were not being feminist at all. In fact, they were being anti-feminist, since they seemed to think that only those things that men did, or had done, were worthwhile. Sure, feminism had changed the world, and young girls all across the country had formed soccer leagues, and were growing up to become doctors and astronauts and senators. But why weren't boys learning to knit and sew? Why couldn't we all - women and men alike - take the same kind of pride in the work our mothers had always done as we did in the work of our fathers?"

It can be a profoundly feminist act to reclaim the work of our grandmothers or mothers. In fact, one of my biggest pet peeves is the colloquialism "this ain't your grandmother's _______!" I always want to ask, “What's the matter with our grandmothers?! Our grandmothers paid a price for us to stand where we stand now. Show some respect!” One of my favourite church manifestos ever includes the phrase "We ARE your grandmother's church. And your great-grandmother's church. And your great-great-grandmother's church."

That's more like it.

The notion that “real feminists don’t knit” or “real feminists don’t make jam” or “real feminists don’t stay home with their kids for a while” is inherently patriarchal because it is erasing the agency of the women who make those choices. That’s the thing, right? Choice. You get to choose now. I may not choose the same thing - I mean, I am personally not geared to be a stay-at-home-mum myself - but I sure don’t think another woman is less of a feminist for choosing that path.

This response also denigrates the work we have traditionally seen as women's work as somehow having less value. It tips our hand that we don't value domestic work or craft work, that we don't see it as valuable and meaningful.

We can find God spoken about in Scripture over and over with diverse metaphors and paradoxical phrases: God as a mother hen, God as lion, God as a shepherd, God as a great physician, and so much more. Paul speaks about himself as being a woman in labour (bless his heart). The Kingdom is like a seed, like a woman looking for a lost coin, like yeast in bread all domestic places of encounter. These are all our altars, all our ways of affirming life and joy and creation, the places of meeting with and recognizing and working with and playing with God. God is not and has never been above the incarnation, the goodness of work, the domain of women, so why are we acting like this?

And to be honest - while I"m on this soapbox, I might as well make it count -  I also find this response incredibly privileged because, hi, do you think I clean my house because I love patriarchy or am I cleaning my house because the house needs to be cleaned? It must be nice to live in a world where people clean your house for you and do your laundry and make you food but here in the Land of Grown-Ups on a Limited Income, we aren't even necessarily choosing all of the work as we are finding joy in the ordinary work of being a human being with a responsibilities to feed and house and care for others. I'm a mother of four - that requires more energy than almost anything else in my life and so of course that is a role where I meet with God. (For more this notion, you can read an essay of mine called Rice Krispies, Or My Greatest Spiritual Awakening from a few years ago.)

So I love to wear bright red lipstick and to preach. I love to read thick theology books and chick novels. I love big juicy conversations about the life of the mind and mildly gossipy chats with girlfriends. I love a sip of whiskey and a cup of tea. I love baking bread and I love McNuggets. I cook a family dinner almost every night and some nights that means buttered noodles and freezer meatballs with a can of tomato sauce while other nights are a from-scratch feast. I love women’s ministry and craft nights and I love dropping the word “patriarchy” with a smile in complementarian spaces who have invited me to "share." I love decolonization and I still read magazines about the royal family. I love choices and I love paradoxes. I love justice and I love making jam.

Work that women have traditionally done or enjoyed is not less worthy of praise or joy or meaning simply because women used to do it. In fact, that makes me love it more. I love the line that connects me to my grandmothers, to my great-grandmothers, to the women all the way back who - even without the privileges of our choices - found meaning and purpose, beauty and joy in their work. There is holiness in ordinary work - in creating order out of chaos, of feeding people, of bringing beauty, of creating beauty simply for its own sake.

Every time I pick raspberries, I remember my grandmother. I remember how she desperately wanted to go to school to be a teacher but she was required to leave school in grade 8 to work on the farm. I remember how she loved to hear what I was learning in school, how she loved to smuggle me dog-eared Jalna novels she borrowed from the mobile library that parked at the corner of 4th and McIntosh in Regina. I remember sweet peas on the chain link fence surrounding her garden, the tang and stain of raspberries in my mouth while she hummed Carter Family songs as she worked or muttered profanities at stubborn grandchildren under her breath. I think of her often when I am the only woman on stage at a church conference and when I tell an irate toddler that "No three-year-old is going to boss me" and when I stand in lecture halls before people much more educated than me and when I am the deciding vote on a matter for the board of directors and when I hear the satisfying *pop* of a perfectly sealed jam jar.

P.S. Two books I found very helpful years ago were The Quotidian Mysteries: Laundry, Liturgy, and "Women's Work" by poet Kathleen Norris and In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens: Womanist Prose by noted novelist and womanist Alice Walker. I also wrote a bit about knitting in this blog post called "Knit One, Purl Joy.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

God's love is like the sun radiating from behind the clouds.
May you feel its warmth on the outside, making you glow.
May you feel its warmth in your heart, filling you with joy.

Those sunbeams radiating to earth are not literally God's glory. What a great reminder they are, though, of the warmth, the bigness, the power of His love.

Imagine yourself standing on a sunny beach. Turn your face toward the sun. Feel its warmth. Let the heat relax your face, your shoulders, your arms, your hands, your body, your legs, your feet, and fill you. Know that God loves you.

See what great love the Father has lavished on us,
that we should be called children of God! 
And that is what we are!
-- 1 John 3:1

Is there anything I can pray with you?

Email God's love

Today I started a new thing. Here's what I mailed to a bunch of my friends and family.


Today in church I had an idea. I was thinking of some friends I want to pray for, but I don't have a specific thing to pray about on their behalf. I decided to pray that they would feel God's love.

Then I thought I'd send them an email when I prayed, so they'd know and be encouraged.

I started thinking about my many other family and friends who I would like to encourage with prayer, and decided to start this email.

Two things I'll try to do:
  1. Encourage you with a reminder of God's love. My goal is to avoid anything where the response is "I should..." Just a short reflection of God's love.
  2. Pray for you. I'll pray with each email, and please reply to me with anything you'd specifically like me to pray for you. I'll keep it confidential, don't worry..
You can opt out any time, no hurt feelings, no need for explanation, no worries. Just reply with a subject like "Unsubscribe" or "Opt out" or "No thanks" or whatever.

I'll try to give a quick overview sentence on the first line, so if that's all you want to read, you're good. I'll send the first one in a bit. I also plan to post these on my blog.

I'll try to send a few a week, but at least one a week. We'll see how this goes.

love and blessings,


Mavis Moon

c: 408 318 2037
h: 408 268 1792
w: 408 432 5658

Friday, July 6, 2018

There is a Balm in Gilead

For the past few days, I have been consumed with the word "balm." It came up in a book I was reading, and I had seen it before in some Bible readings but especially in the African-American song. I kept thinking about the words, "There is a balm in Gilead." I have found a lot of strength in the words of Psalm 46 and a verse in there that says, "There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God," which always made me think of "There is a balm in Gilead," and melted my heart. I thought that maybe it's the phrase "There is a..." that caused me to feel so much reassurance and comfort. I looked up all the verses that had the word balm, and all those with the phrase "There is a..."  I kept running into verses with questions to God that were laments, asking him why bad things happened, where to find comfort and strength, and so on. I decided to find as many verses as I could with those kinds of questions. In the Psalm below, I started with questions to God, then finished with verses of "There is a..."

There is a Balm in Gilead
A psalm of lament and comfort.
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why does the way of the wicked prosper?
    Why do all the faithless live at ease?
How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
    How long will you hide your face from me?
Why do the nations conspire
    and the peoples plot in vain?
Where then does wisdom come from?
    Where does understanding dwell?
Where does my help come from?
Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there?
    Why then is there no healing for the wounds of my people?
There is a God who judges the earth,
    Surely the righteous still are rewarded.
There is a judge for the one who rejects God
    and does not accept his words.
There is a way that appears to be right,
    But in the end it leads to death.
There is an evil God has seen under the sun.
There is a place near God where you may stand on a rock.
    When his glory passes by,
    he will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with his hand
    until he has passed by.
There is a greater power with us.
There is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries.
There is a place where someone has testified:
    “What is mankind that you are mindful of them,
        a son of man that you care for him?
    You made them a little lower than the angels;
         you crowned them with glory and honor.”
There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens.
There is a future hope for you,
    and your hope will not be cut off.
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
    the holy place where the Most High dwells.
    God is within her, she will not fall;
        God will help her at break of day.
There is a balm in Gilead
    to make the wounded whole,
There is a balm in Gilead
    to heal the sin-sick soul.

(Verses from: Psalm 22, Jeremiah 12, Psalm 13, Psalm 2, John 28, Psalm 121, Jeremiah 8, Psalm 58, John 12, Proverbs 14, Ecclesiastes 10, Exodus 33, 2 Chronicles 32, Daniel 27, Hebrews 2, Proverbs 18, Ecclesiastes 3, Proverbs 24, Psalm 46, African-American spiritual based on verses in Jeremiah.)