Our God is God Canticle of Hope Who are the Brave?

"It was inspired by Job and all he went through with this three "friends" who gave him
advice and told him "what they thought God thought." How wrong they were
to speak for God. I was just reminded of how far God is above us and how His
thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways.

It also bothered me that so much scripture in Isaiah and many other Old Testament books
is about the making of and worshiping idols. New Testament, too. So I wanted to make a
strong statement about the foolishness of any other god.

The actual scripture reference is mostly taken from Isaiah 40 which deals with
the greatness of God. What a great chapter. Most people read and know Isaiah
40:31 which deals with "mounting up with wings as eagles" but that last verse
is set up by the entire chapter. Read Isaiah 40:12-28 and you and your choir
will get a glimpse of the inspiration of Our God is God."

—J. Paul Williams
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"Four days after the bombing in Oklahoma City, I received a call from Joe Martin asking me if I would write something for the Oklahoma City bomb victims. I told him I just couldn't; it was too close to me. Joe said okay but asked me to fax him the complete text for "Lord You Are God"; a text on which he was currently working. He had the music finished but had lost the copy of the text. I faxed it on to him and about ten minutes later he called again and asked me to talk to his wife. It seems she had taken the text off of the fax and read it; and was now weeping and telling Joe that this text must have been written for the people of Oklahoma City, my hometown. I did have a Capitol Hill High School classmate killed in the bombing and one who was spared, although Joe’s wife did not know that. Suddenly cold shivers went down my spine as I remembered exactly when the text was written.

I had been on my way to Austin in March of 1993 to write with Joe and was driving thru Waco when David Koresh was on national radio from KRLD in Dallas. Everyone knew he was not going to surrender himself or his followers and many were greatly disturbed. Joe and I discussed this later that day and week as we wrote together in Austin.

Once I got back home I had trouble sleeping because of a deep distress and helplessness felt by myself and many others. One morning I got up about three and was asking God to give me some kind of peace about the situation. We all knew Koresh was not coming out peacefully. I was reading Isaiah and as I got to chapter 25 read about God restoring Israel, and realized whatever happened God would bring restoration. I wrote the text that morning and was able to go to sleep, finally. I sent it on to Joe later that week. Joe had put it in his sketch book that April of 1993; two years before the April 19th, bombing in Oklahoma City. I realized it was no accident that Joe called me that Saturday and no accident that his wife took it off of the fax and read it. She was right, although Joe and I didn't know it at the time. It was written for Oklahoma City, two years before the bombing.

We do not pretend to know why God chose to let us be a part of this but are deeply grateful. We have received calls and letters from across the USA (including Oklahoma, Jonesboro, Columbine and now, 9/11 and Katrina) about "Canticle of Hope" bringing comfort and hope to many in their grief. Joe and I say thank You Lord!!!!"

—J. Paul Williams
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"The bravest person I ever know is my hero, Charles Ray Poor. He contracted polio at age seven and began life in a wheel chair after having healthy legs and body those first years. Charlie was 14 and I was 12 when we met.

Charlie has spent his life helping others. Everyone loves him. When he rolls into a room the whole place lights up. He attained university degrees that led to him becoming a licensed Psychologist. He always had responsibilities ministering to people. He recently retired from serving as Minister of Counseling at Houston’s First Baptist Church after 18 years of service (he still serves as a consultant at First Baptist Houston on a part time basis).

There are people who are lonely, who suffer, who are struggling with great sorrow or problems others do not know or even suspect; those who are unknown, who live each moment with great effort. These too, are the brave.

In January, 2001, the Singing Cadets of Texas A&M University sang “Who Are the Brave?” at the dedication of the Presidential Library in College Station , Texas at the request of President George H.W. Bush’s request. Yes, the brave are those who serve mankind, regardless of their circumstances or situation. It takes real bravery to serve others while one is intimately suffering. Who are the brave? The universal language of love is transmitted by the brave, “those who serve mankind.”

—J. Paul Williams
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