Rev. Dan C. Damon, FHS, Pinole, CA, USA
“Like a child love would send to reveal and to mend, like a child and a friend, Jesus comes.” -“like a child” CCS 403
Daniel Charles Damon is an internationally published writer of hymn texts and tunes whose work appears in many hymnals. He is an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church and a jazz pianist who plays at venues in the Bay Area. In 2016 he was named a Fellow of The Hymn Society in the United States and Canada. Dan teaches church music at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. Recently, Dan and his colleague, Nancy Hall, used Community of Christ Sings as the textbook for a college course, A Cry for Justice in Hymnody. He and Nancy were interviewed for a Project Zion podcast found at: http://www.projectzionpodcast.org/episode-221-community-of-christ-sings-at-graduate-theological-union-in-berkeley-california/.
For Daily Bread, Dan was asked to reflect on his hymn, “like a child” CCS 403. He quickly responded,
“It is a pleasure to remember the writing of what has been called my ‘signature hymn'” [Singing the Faith, Soundings of Lyrical Theology in the Methodist Tradition, 2020].
I wrote “like a child” in October 1992 while under the influence of e e cummings, a poet known to avoid punctuation and upper case letters. I like to write simply. It is a deep part of my poetic voice. I was thinking in a childlike way and began to use lines with only three syllables: “like a child/love would send/to reveal/and to mend/like a child/and a friend/Jesus comes.” Once I had that pattern, I knew I would be able to write a good text.
I worked for about a month trying different lines and thoughts. I was able to express my Christology in this lyric. God, who is love, sent Jesus, not to die, but to show us the way to live. Jesus comes to us today walking with the poor and oppressed. It concludes with our response to Jesus: we receive and believe Jesus comes. This text shows my personal relationship with Jesus, formed when I was a child.
After wrestling with the text, I sat down at a Steinway grand piano in the chapel at Asilomar in Pacific Grove, California, and wrote the tune in a few minutes. I shared it for the first time that same day at the Autumn Camp Farthest Out.
“Trust what is being born.”
Jesus, the Peaceful One
We have spent this year with a guiding question: Are we moving closer to Jesus, the Peaceful One? As we near the end of this calendar year, we review how this question has been shaping and forming us. In our thoughts, words, and actions, have we been embodying Jesus, the Peaceful One? What might it look like to move closer to Jesus, the Peaceful One as we make space in our lives for Christ incarnate this Advent season?
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.