Kathleen Thomerson, writer of both tune and text of HOUSTON, is Organist and Music Director at Mt. Olive Lutheran Church in Austin, Texas. She was born in Tennessee and grew up in Mississippi, California, and Texas. College music study was at the Universities of Colorado and Texas, the Flemish Royal Conservatory in Antwerp, and privately in Paris. Before retirement in Austin, she lived in Collinsville, Illinois, when her husband was a biology professor at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville.
"I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light" was written in the sweltering hot summer of 1966. Thomerson's mother came from Houston, Texas, to visit. Because an airline strike cancelled her mother's travel plans and a heat wave was making St. Louis unbearable, Thomerson decided to drive her mother back to Houston. This hymn came to her as she anticipated visiting her "brothers and sisters in Christ at the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer in Houston." It was written as a scriptural meditation and prayer and was inspired by many Bible verses, including Genesis 1:17; Isaiah 60:19; Psalm 75:16; Psalm 139:12; Ephesians 3:17; 5:8; Galatians 4:6; Hebrews 1:3; 1 Thessalonians 5:5; 2 Peter 1:19; 1 John 1:5-7; and Revelation 21:23.
Thomerson is quoted as saying, "On one, hand it may be sung as a prayer for illumination. The congregation sings "Shine in my heart, Lord Jesus." The second stanza conveys a longing to see Jesus and to be led through Christ to the presence of the Father. On the other hand, it may be sung as a song of dedication. The worshiper commits to live in the light of Christ, singing, "I want to walk . . . I want to see . . . I'm looking for . . ." And in hope and anticipation, the worshiper concludes in stanza 3, "When we have run with patience the race, we shall know the joy of Jesus."
I must admit that I didn't learn much about St. Patrick's or his commemoration day growing up. For me it was always a day to wear green, to look for a Leprechaun just in case he happened to have a pot of gold to share, and to drive over to Butte, MT. and drink green beer.
Patrick, bishop, missionary to Ireland, died March 17th, 461. At sixteen, Patrick was kidnapped by Irish pirates and sold into slavery in Ireland. He himself admitted that up to this point he cared little for God. He escaped after six years, returned to his family in southwest Britain, and began to prepare for ordained ministry. He later returned to Ireland, this time to serve as bishop and missionary. He made his base in the north of Ireland and from there made many missionary journeys, with much success. In his autobiography he denounced the slave trade, perhaps from his own experience as a slave. Patrick's famous baptismal hymn to the Trinity, "I Bind unto Myself Today" (ELW #450), can be used as a meditation on Lent's call to return to our baptism.
Two days later, on Thursday, March 19, we commemorate Joseph, Guardian of Jesus.
The gospels are silent about much of Joseph's life. We know that he was a carpenter or builder by trade. The Gospel of Luke shows him acting in accordance with both civil and religious law by returning to Bethlehem for the census and by presenting the child Jesus in the temple on the fortieth day after his birth. The Gospel of Matthew tells of Joseph's trust in God, who led him through visionary dreams. Because Joseph is not mentioned after the story of a young Jesus teaching in the temple, it is assumed that he died before Jesus reached adulthood.