14 February 2015

Red Bird at the Monastery

I laid me down and slept until
the monastery bell
summoned us to prayer.
I awoke
for the Lord sustained me.
A red bird tapping
tap tapped on the sunrise
matin psalm chapel window.

O Lord
how manifold are Thy works.
A red bird
followed me to Vespers.
In wisdom
hast Thou made them all.
Flap flap
colliding again
into darkening chapel window.

The abbot explained—
red birds
their own reflection.
The sacrifices to God
are a contrite spirit…
I lit a candle—
A contrite and humble heart
The Lord will not despise.

Before sleep
I bowed before icons—
I pressed my lips
to the windows of heaven—
like a little red bird.

© 2005 David Samuel Thomas

27 November 2014

GPS (Case of the Missing Jesus)

This Year's Christmas offering is a song I first conceived about six years ago but finally can deliver to the world. A story about baby Jesus being stolen from a town Nativity inspired it. I kept with my original vision of a folk style song with Southern Gospel harmonies. It's available for download as a single at CD Baby or as part of my Christmas album "Kresh" at Noisetrade.

We put a GPS in our baby Jesus

Mary and Joseph and shepherds
in a stable with cows and sheep near
while a baby lays in the straw
He's the fourth one we put out this year
Some vandal keeps stealing our Jesus
from the manger in our city square
to keep our Navidad feliz
our chief of police
vowed to solve the caper this year

We put a GPS in our baby Jesus
for the next time they steal Him in the night
the Wise Men followed a star to find Him
but we'll have three satellites

Just after one in the morning
the burgler appeared in the park
we watched on the security camera
to see who was lurking in the dark
the thief who was dressed up like Santa
threw baby Jesus on a sled
to keep our Noel joyeux
our officers pursued
the beacon in the baby's head

We put a GPS in our baby Jesus
for the next time they steal Him in the night
the Wise Men followed a star to find Him
but we'll have three satellites

The blip on the screen stopped moving
our SWAT team converged on the spot
they found a stash of Jesuses (or Jesi?)
in a van behind the old Dairy mart
But we never caught the perpetrator
though we solved the mysterious theft
we kept out Natale buon
though the suspect is gone
baby Jesus is back in the creche

We put a GPS in our baby Jesus
now everything is alright
the Wise Men followed a star to find Him
but we'll have three satellites
We put a GPS in our baby Jesus
Merry Christmas to all and goodnight

© 2014 David Samuel Thomas

21 April 2014

Baptism in the Holy Spirit Video

This is an awesome video that explains the history of the Charismatic gifts in the Catholic Church and specifically the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. With Pentecost coming up, I recommend it to all who want a deeper relationship with Jesus and empowerment for holiness and service.

19 March 2014

Sweet Sacred Heart -- New Recording

It seems like every Lent and Advent I record some new songs. This year is no exception. Here is a free download from Soundcloud of "Sweet Sacred Heart". The lyrics are from a hymn by A.E. Tozer with original music and prayers from the Litany of the Sacred Heart.

When all the day of toil is done
and twilight spreads her purple wing
when starry vigils have begun
before the Eucharistic King

In light or darkness, life and death
In time and in Eternity
Devoted heart with trusting faith
we consecrate our all to Thee

In joy or grief, in hope or fear
In sin, in suffering and distress
behold a refuge ever near
to heal, to comfort and to bless

In light or darkness, life and death
In time and in Eternity
Devoted heart with trusting faith
we consecrate our all to Thee

When softly dawns the golden light
and shadows melt oer land and sea
O sweet and sacred heart of Christ
We consecrate our souls to Thee

In light or darkness, life and death
In time and in Eternity

Before Thine altar's holy throne
Where we now humbly kneel and pray
we bring to Thee, to thee alone
the offering of the newborn day

In light or darkness, life and death
In time and in Eternity
Devoted heart with trusting faith
we consecrate our all to Thee

07 January 2014

Building a Prayer Chapel

"But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet..." (Matthew 6:6)

Throughout history people set aside sacred space in the home for prayer. This can be found in all the great religions. Growing up Protestant we would pray at the dinner table or the side of the bed, but the attitude was that you can pray anywhere so why build a specific place. 

My interest in sacred space began when I became Eastern Orthodox. I ran out an bought some icons of Christ and the Theotokos, then our patron saints. Later I entered Communion with Rome and married a sweet Catholic girl so we added some statues to our prayer corner. We gather there for prayer at least every night and other times too.

We moved into a rental that didn't have a good corner to put our chapel in. The solution was to get a bi-fold closet door at the Habitat Restore for $5. 

One side was against a wall and the other side was by the front door. The great part about this is that I was able to mount a shelf and coat hooks on the back side.

I added hooks to the side for Rosaries and chaplets. The small decorative shelf made a nice place for candles, Holy Water, and other "prayer-a-phenalia".

The arched frame and shelf for the Divine Mercy image I found at a rummage sale. It has a nice shelf on it for candles. Originally it was a mirror. Some black paint made it coordinate with the cross and shelf.

A rounded corner shelf made a nice table when I put a table cloth on it. This gives extra storage underneath for books and seasonal items for Lent, Pascha, Advent, and Nativity.

When it came time to move I searched for ideas for the new chapel, saving them to a Pinterest board. Since this was another rental I wanted to prevent putting a million holes in the wall, so the bi-fold doors could be used again. Unfortunately a smoke detector meant that I needed doors that were smaller and narrower. On my trip to the Habitat Restore I found a roll of wallpaper that would work perfectly.

I scored some glass corner shelves at the Flea Market that could hold the wait of a statue when mounted using hollow wall anchors. Again I used the corner shelf and table cloth.

Here are some more pics of this chapel:
Top of the chapel
Middle of chapel

Bottom of chapel
Though I had ideas on what I wanted to do, part of the design and development occurred through prayer and asking God what He wanted the chapel to look like. I also asked the Blessed Virgin Mary to assist me. I truly think they directed me. When I finished building it my 11 month-old son came out of his room, looked at it, and knealt down for several minutes. I guess he approved.

23 March 2013

We are Pascha People: New Music

Just in time for Holy Week and Pascha I give a musical project called "We are Pascha People" recorded under the moniker Roodscreen. Recorded during Lent 2013, this album takes you into the contemplative desert of Lent, the institution of the Eucharist on Holy Thursday, mourning with Mary at the Cross, lamenting at the tomb, into Hades on Holy Saturday, then to the empty tomb on Easter Sunday.

Some of the songs will appear on the Roodscreen album "Calm of the Stormdriven" later this year. Like all Roodscreen projects, it will be a thematic album, this time about our Blessed Lady Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary.

Desert Darkness (words& music by David Samuel Thomas)
Ave Verum Corpus (translated by Edward Caswall, music by DST)
Mourn with Me (words by Fr. Frederick William Faber, music by DST)
The Earth was Cold, the Night was Dark (words & music DST)
He Descended to the Dead (assembled by DST)
We are Pascha People (words & music DST)
Regina Coeli (translated by Edward Caswall, music by DST)

Produced by David Samuel Thomas at Green Desk Studio--Ypsilanti, MI

11 December 2012

New Music for Advent & Christmas

Dark and dreary is the Michigan December. Snow (which we haven't had much of this year), ice, fog and short days lead to seasonal affective disorder. Yet on the darkest days of the year we celebrate the coming of Christ, the light of the world. 

I just finished recording the final songs for my EP "Kresh" and it is available as a download from Noisetrade. This project is my meditation during the Advent season--a time of reflection and repentance wrapped in joyful expectation. 

Savior of the Nations Come is based on "Veni Redemptor gentium" by St. Ambrose of Milan. The heresiarch Martin Luther translated it into German. An American, William M. Reynolds, later translated it into English in 1851. The tune is "Nun Komm" by Johanne Walther. When I heard it sung at Mass one year I imagined it as a garage band song.

My Soul in Stillness is based on the "O Antiphons" of Advent. I'm not usually a fan of Marty Haugen songs (let's just leave it at that), but this one is a winner. I decided to do it as a chillout techno song to fit the expectant mood of the season. 

Puer Natus is an Introit for Christ-Mass, the Solemnity of the Nativity of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I sang the 1876 translation by Hamilton Montgomerie MacGill to a Norwegian tune I heard on an album by Bukkene Bruse

Shepherd Song is my own translation of the Czech carol “Pásli Ovce Valaši”. I play dulcimer on this one.

Gaudete! dates back to at least the 16th century. Steeley Span's recording of it in 1973 made the British top 20, but my favorite version is by the Mediaeval Baebes. For my recording I gave it a techno spacey vibe.

Glory, Glory comes from a poem by Christina Rossetti who is better known for her popular "In the Bleak Midwinter". When I read the first line it sounded like a blues tune, so that's what I did to it.

Chill December is a strange hymn written by Norval Clyne from Scotland. I love the imagery and the key shift from minor to major in the tune. Did this one techno with all kinds of phase shifting to create a wind effect.

Technical: I used Audacity for recording and mixing and MuLab for sequencing "My Soul in Stillness" and "Chill December".


09 December 2012

What am I doing on this blog?

"I freely confess, accordingly, that I endeavour to be one of those who write because they have made some progress, and who, by means of writing, make further progress."
~ St. Augustine of Hippo, Letter #143 (AD 412)

My purpose is to share things I find on my journey. Sometimes personal thoughts, other times prayers or quotes from spiritual writings. Since I love music, I throw in a hymn now and then. In addition I like to point out important feast days and saints. Charismatic, Byzantine, and Anglican Use Catholics will all discover things of interest here. You never know what you'll find, so keep coming back and be sure to check out the archives.

A little about me:

Raised in the Assemblies of God, I held ministry credentials and served as an Assitant Pastor during which time I also travelled as an Evangelist. Feeling a call to the Ancient Church of the Apostles, I became Antiochian Orthodox in 1995 and was tonsured a Reader in 2001.

After moving to Denver in 2005, I tried many of the Orthodox parishes in the area but didn't feel at home in any of them. I often attended a "Western Rite" Orthodox Church in the Anglican tradition and discovered the beauty of the West. Gregorian and Sarum chant was easy to learn and I found it very edifying to sing the Psalms to those modes. Then I started praying the Rosary during Lent of 2007, walking with Mary and developing a deeper love for the Most Holy Theotokos.

By Pentecost I longed for a "complete Orthodoxy" that embraced both Eastern and Western devotional practice and Liturgical variety. Was the Church Universal? Yes! Wait, isn't the Greek word for universal "katholikos"? What about my Pentecostal roots? I spoke in tongues and saw the Gifts of the Spirit in action. Shouldn't the power recieved at Pentecost by the Apostles be active in the church they established?

The Immaculate Conception of Mary, original sin, and purgatory were easy to understand and accept. It took some prayer and study to admit the authority of the Pope of Rome over the Universal Church--I asked "what if it's true?" and the Holy Spirit answered "Yes it is!" Well then, I must be part of the Church led by the successor of St. Peter, the leader of the Apostles.

I made the Profession of Faith and came into Communion with the Roman Catholic Church in September 2008 through a Ukrainian catholic parish. Currently I attend a local Latin Rite parish, but occasionally attend Byzantine Catholic and Melkite parishes.

I consider myself a Charismatic Byzantine Anglo-Catholic. That pretty much covers it all. Thanks to Vatican II a Catholic can find a place in the Church that fits who they are. One doesn't need to become a 19th century Russian Peasant to draw close to God.

"May God in His mercy grant that every day we may be troubled, tried, disciplined, or make some progress." ~ St. Augustine

07 December 2012

(Immaculate) Conception of the Theotokos

"O Virgin, you gave birth to the Giver of life; from sin you delivered Adam, while to Eve you have rendered joy in place of sorrow. He who was from you made incarnate, God and man, has directed to life him who fell from it." 
(From Matins for the Feast of Conception of St. Anne, Mother of the Most Holy Theotokos)

The Feast of the Conception of St Anne, celebrated on December 9th in most Orthodox Churches (and December 8th by many Eastern Catholics) is an ancient celebration of the Church. It reflects the stories found in texts that are outside the canon of the New Testament though part of Tradition and the belief of the Church itself that Mary's Conception was sanctified and holy.

In the Roman Catholic Church December 8th is called the feast of the Immaculate Conception. In the Constitution Ineffabilis Deus of 8 December 1854, Pope Pius IX pronounced and defined that the Blessed Virgin Mary "in the first instance of her conception, by a singular privilege and grace granted by God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the human race, was preserved exempt from all stain of original sin."

Orthodox Christians do not have a doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, even though they refer to Mary as Immaculate, without spot, undefiled, Panagia (All-Holy) and Most Pure. This is because Orthodox Tradition identifies original sin as physical and spiritual death, not as the inheritance of Adam's guilt or sinfulness. Yet, the Canon for the feast of Mary's Nativity calls her sinless from her conception and the kontakion by St. Romanos blunty says: "Delivered from the guilt of sin, thy people keep the feast as they sing unto thee." Also, consider the Matins Sessional hymn for the feast of Mary's entry into the Temple: "To the divine temple thou art brought, thyself a Temple, truly divine, innocent from the time thou wast a babe."

Regardless of the different views on original sin, let all Christians of true worship celebrate the feast. Let us thank God for the miracle that began our salvation--the Mother of God in the womb of a barren elderly woman.

Father, the image of the Virgin is found in your Church. Mary had a faith that your Spirit prepared and a love that never knew sin, for you kept her sinless from the first moment of her conception. Trace in our actions the lines of her love, in our hearts her readiness of faith. Prepare once again a world for your Son who lives and reigns with your and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen  
(Catholic prayer for the Solemnity Of The Immaculate Conception)


05 December 2012

Requiescat in Pace Dave Brubeck

One day short of his 92nd birthday, jazz piano legend Dave Brubeck died of heart failure. In 2009 I saw him perform at the Detroit Jazz Festival, and at 89 he still had the same speed and precision.

Many people aren't familiar with his choral and liturgical music, including a Mass setting. Our Sunday Visitor commissioned him to compose the Mass setting in 1980. At the time Brubeck only had a vague belief in God, but hadn't really considered a relationship with Jesus. But while composing the last song for the Mass  he had an experience that brought him home: "I dreamt the entire 'Our Father' and jumped out of bed and wrote down as much as I could." Brubeck said, "It's pretty close to the dream, and after that dream I decided I would become Catholic."

Popular belief is that they play harps in heaven. Perhaps the newly departed Dave Brubeck will hear this when he enters the City of God. Or if he's tired of hearing the song (which Paul Desmond wrote and performed with Brubeck) he'll have to listen to this version in Purgatory. You decide

May his memory be eternal!

30 November 2012


I figured it was time for a blog makeover. After not posting for a long time I figured a remodeling of the site may give me the momentum I need to get back into the swing. New look = new material.

If you've been here before you know I originally had the blog under the banner of the Theotokos and the title "Sub Tuum Praesidium Confugimus". My devotion to the mother of God is stronger than ever, but I decided to change the name to reflect my "Mister Corduroy" persona and the word play on "Misericordia", the Merciful Heart of Jesus.

I dedicate this blog to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

29 June 2012

Sts. Peter & Paul of Rome

St. John Chrysostom, whose Divine Liturgy is used throughout most of the year in Orthodox and Byzantine Catholic churches, wrote something very interesting in his Homily 32 on Romans. Since this is the Feast of Saints Peter & Paul I though I'd pass it along:

"I love Rome even for this, although indeed one has other grounds for praising it, both for its greatness, and its antiquity, and its beauty, and its populousness, and for its power, and its wealth, and for its successes in war. But I let all this pass, and esteem it blessed on this account, that both in his lifetime he (St. Paul) wrote to them, and loved them so, and talked with them whiles he was with us, and brought his life to a close there. Wherefore the city is more notable upon this ground, than upon all others together. 

And as a body great and strong, it has as two glistening eyes the bodies of these Saints (Peter and Paul). Not so bright is the heaven, when the sun sends forth his rays, as is the city of Rome, sending out these two lights into all parts of the world. From thence will Paul be caught up, from thence Peter. Just bethink you, and shudder at the thought of what a sight Rome will see, when Paul arises suddenly from that deposit, together with Peter, and is lifted up to meet the Lord. (1 Thess. 4:17) What a rose will Rome send up to Christ! (Is. 35:1) what two crowns will the city have about it! What golden chains will she be girded with! What fountains possess! 

Therefore I admire the city, not for the much gold, not for the columns, not for the other display there, but for these pillars of the Church. (1 Cor. 15:38.)"

Kontakion, Tone 2

Today Christ the Rock glorifies with highest honor the rock of Faith and leader of the Apostles, together with Paul and the company of the twelve, whose memory we celebrate with eagerness of faith, giving glory to the one who gave glory to them!