All over Creation

a peace carol

Music by Ron Klusmeier
Words by Shirley Erena Murray
Tune Name: DUNEDIN

Lyrics as Poetry

All over creation
joy spills into light,
stars, candles ablaze this Christmas night;
where Jesus is sleeping,
peace kisses the earth,
O that we could know
who Mary has brought to birth!This child will bring freedom,
this child will release
wellsprings of compassion, ways to peace,
this child will bring healing,
this child will inspire
love answering love,
and spirit to Spirit’s fire.This child will befriend us,
this child will invite
all children to share his world’s delight:
this Christ will confront us
when, children no more,
we plunder our planet,
crying from want and war.Let there be a moment
held, as in one breath
when all the earth turns away from death,
peace nursing creation,
peace spreading her wing,
O that we could know
what Christmas is meant to bring!


Words by
Shirley Erena MurrayCopyright © 1996 by Hope Publishing Company
Carol Stream, Illinois • USA

Comments About Song

RON KLUSMEIER


Shirley Erena Murray wrote the text for this “peace carol” in 1995 in response to a lovely melody sent to her by her composer-friend Jillian Bray. I took the photo below of Jillian as we enjoyed an afternoon together in John & Shirley Murray’s home in Raumati Beach, New Zealand during a 2014 visit.


As I was seeking some new inspiration for the coming Christmas 2008 season, I happened upon these words in Shirley’s 1996 collection Every Day in Your Spirit (Hope Publishing Company). I introduced Shirley’s words and my new musical setting to the choir at Knox United Church in Parksville (Vancouver Island, Canada) on Wednesday evening, November 5, 2008.


A Reflection by hymnwriter
WALTER FARQUHARSON

Not then but now! That is what this carol is about. Too often our Christmas scenes and celebrations have been about then – a tableau, a window on some other, if ever, time.

This carol holds the child, a flesh-and-blood child, a holy child. There’s a moment when a child is held, wondered at, gently wept for, smiled for – kissed. In the holding of this child there is awareness that “where Jesus is sleeping, peace kisses the earth”.

When we aren’t working at being cynical or at being too pious and religious, Christmas catches us, and makes us catch our breath – God’s breath.

Christmas is about peace – God’s peace. Peace for the world, peace for every person, every child. It is promise. God’s intention meant to become our intention.

Shirley sets before us the words, promise and intention of God, so deeply imbedded in the Christmas narrative we so easily skip over, sleep through, or balk at.

“This child will bring freedom,
this child will release
wellsprings of compassion,
ways to peace.
This child will bring healing,
this child will inspire
love answering love, and
spirit to Spirit’s fire.”

What an unfolding picture of discipleship is offered us in this verse. It can become our resolution, the goal set before us, our inspiration and our source of empowerment. This child will bring freedom, freedom from what imprisons, but not just freedom ‘from’. The freedom God speaks is freedom for. Wellsprings of compassion will overflow, gifts of healing will be activated.

“This child will inspire love answering love.” Here is discipleship that is not obligation, that is not possessed or possessive power. Love answers love for the sake of the beloved, for healing, for forgiveness and for genuine community. This is the spirit and spirit force of Pentecost.

It becomes that by which I examine and correct my own discipleship and the life of the community of faith I am part of. It becomes that by which we test our mission statements and our agendas.

The magic and miracle of Christmas is in that moment, that charged moment of promise and hope when it is possible that all the earth can/will “turn away from death” and we see “peace nursing creation, peace, spreading her wings”.

This carol as a prayer:

Read verse one silently. Read it aloud. Read slowly, carefully. In a small group, have each (or a selected three or four people) read it aloud. Let each reading be followed by the next without comment or discussion. Keep a time of silence.

Repeat this reading through to the end of the fourth verse. After the final time of silence members of the group might be invited to say the words or phrases that particularly caught their attention.

                                                    Audio Sample for: "All Over Creation"

One verse
+ optional bridge
(see note below)
played on piano

At the end of the verse is an optional
5-measure section which can be used as an introduction, as an interlude between verses, and/or as an ending.
(The printed music is included
with the piano part.)

Season, Theme
or Subject

  • Birth, Birthing
  • Christ
  • Christmas
  • Compassion
  • Creation
  • God∶ love of
  • Heal, Healing
  • Hope
  • Jesus∶ birth
  • Life∶ new life
  • Light
  • Love∶ God's
  • Mary (mother of Jesus)
  • Peace
  • Violence
  • War

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