Posts Tagged 'thanksgiving'

God, how we thank you … surprise: another praise song!

Hi. I can only put it down to being a “God thing” but here I am, mid 60’s, less than eight months to retirement, have written 400+ songs in my lifetime … and I’m suddenly writing praise songs. 99% of that 400+ have not been praise songs. My previous song a month ago: Make it Joyful! was a praise song too.  What’s happening here?!  Why’s it taken so long.  Has the pandemic journey I’ve been on (i.e. we’ve all been on) drawn something new out of me, alongside affecting me deeply.  I guess it’s a bit of both.  So here’s a new song: God, How We Thank You

leadsheet mp3 backing

In the last week or so I’ve been reminded again and again about not only the place but the necessity of gratitude – showing our thanks, showing how are grateful we are for all that’s good, fruitful, refreshing, life giving for us.

This COVID-19 season has had its moments for all of us … I’m no exception. I’ve found myself melancholic again and again these past months. Yes,I’ve had my up times, let’s be clear, but  I’ve had my share of down times … my well-being and most likely yours has been impacted.

Quite unexpectedly, the songwriter in me has found myself journalling through this crazy season … not so much in words but in one short instrumental piece after another. They’re on YouTube if you’re interested. Occasionally a piece with both tune and words. Probably their short titles say it all: FALL, SACRIFICE, CRAZY, RESTLESS, THE LONG ROAD, RESILIENCE …

Then God’s Spirit prompted me recently about gratitude.

  • When I sat in my front lawn under a sunny blue winter sky, freshly brewed coffee in my hand, I found myself so grateful – thank you God.
  • When I walked through that national park, heard the sounds of bush, air and ocean … I found myself so grateful – thank you God.
  • When I found myself playing that Indigo Girls song with its exquisite harmonies over and over again … I found myself so grateful – thank you God.
  • When Dale and I shared four lovely days with special friends from Cairns … I found myself so grateful – thank you God.
  • When I found myself in stitches such was the banter in a recent church ministry team meeting … I found myself so grateful – thank you God.
  • When I was reminded of God’s amazing, faithful, never-ending love for me in Jesus … I found myself so grateful – thank you God.

In the Bible we find verse after verse about gratitude… about thanksgiving …

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. God’s love endures forever. Psalm 136:1

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” Colossians 3:15

Always be joyful and never stop praying. Whatever happens , keep thanking God because of Jesus Christ. This is what God wants you to do.   1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

One catalyst for gratitude for me was a blogpost from noted Lutheran pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber, called

Give Us This Day Our Daily Gratitude

God was able to use that blog for God’s purposes!
Nadia Bolz-Weber writes …

I swear to God, exercise and gratitude are like, God’s own anti-depressants. In this time of loss and suffering and turmoil, when not one of us is spared of sorrow, this morning I made myself list some things I am genuinely grateful for right now, today, in this very moment. And it made me feel better.
Give Us This Day Our Daily Gratitude

So, the song, based closely on scripture has these lyrics:

God, how we thank You
God, how we thank You
Your mercy, compassion
it never ends
We sing out our praises
Your grace beyond gracious
God, how we thank you
your boundless love

Love ever steadfast
Mercy unending
New every morning
Your way of love
Love ever faithful
calls from me, “grateful”
Lord, be our worship
You are our love

God, how we thank You
God, how we thank You …

David MacGregor © 2020 Willow Publishing


Make it joyful!

Once again, playing catch-up to Facebook posting, so here’s a longer version to what I’ve recently posted there.

I don’t write many praise songs.

I’ve often wondered why down the years. Is it because I’m less than praiseworthy in my spirit, somehow lacking in my adoration of God? Maybe. Is it because of my longstanding restlessness about the way so many churches (not only the Pentecostal/evangelical) seem to base so much of their musical repertoire on songs of praise and avoid (or at least fail to recognise) the place of songs of lament, confession, mission, justice, discipleship, community, and so on? Maybe.

Amid this strange and tragic and agitating pandemic season, the melancholy side of me has certainly come to the fore. That’s me. That’s life. That’s been my journey, which I’ve been sharing in song, patient that you are😀

However, I found myself woken in the early hours of the morning yesterday with my namesake’s wonderful words from Psalm 100. Yes, I was surprised. A praise song at 2 am?. Sleepy-eyed … wanting so, so much to get back to sleep, I took my iPhone and noted the chorus words and wrote alphabetical letter names about many of the words so I’d remember the melody.

As it turned out, I actually remembered it when I woke many hours later. Always a good sign for a song if the tune stays with me. This is my hopefully-uplifting take on it.

Dale and I have just done a multi-part vocal! Eventually I want to score this one in SATB. Maybe choirs could use it. It’s one of the least syncopated songs I’ve written for a long, long time … unusual for me .

Anyhow here’s my new unsyncopated song of praise:
MAKE IT JOYFUL! Hopefully I have.

score lyrics 
mp3 backing
mp3 vocal [E]

Make a joyful noise to God (make it joyful)
Make a joyful noise to God (make it joyful)
Make a joyful noise to God (make it joyful)
Come worship and be glad!

Come before him with praise, thanksgiving
God has made us and we are God’s
We are God’s people
Embraced in love
Come bless, come bless the Lord

Make a joyful noise to God (make it joyful) …

For the Lord is every goodness
And God’s love is steadfast, sure
From generation to generation
God’s faithfulness endures

Make a joyful noise to God (make it joyful) …
… Come worship and be glad! (make it joyful)
Come worship and be glad !(make it joyful)
Come worship and be glad! (make it joyful)

David MacGregor
© 2020 Willow Publishing
from Psalm 100

A place at God’s table – Communion liturgy & song

Communion at tableHi. This post won’t be for everyone, so thanks for your patience.

Over 10 years ago, I served in a chaplaincy-type role at the then Forest Lake College, and also The Springfield College, two Anglican-Uniting P-12 day schools in SW Brisbane, Australia.  This was a challenging, yet enriching experience. A fond memory of my time there was working with my Anglican colleague Rev Dr Greg Jenks on an ecumenical communion preparation program with our Year 3 students, teachers and families.  We great leadership from Greg, an extensive 30-page booklet called A Place at the Table (preparing children for the Supper of the Lord) was prepared.  This was a wonderful journey, though I suspect, it never quite got implemented.  Someone please prove me wrong … please.

Anyhow … I wrote a “child-friendly” Communion song called Find your place around God’s table.    score   lyrics  

I’ve used it in three suburban Brisbane congregations since.  I’ll do so again in two days time. However, ever since writing it, and using it in and around a communion liturgy, it’s never fitted well. So, I’ve written one.  Access it via this link.

In short, there are parts for the presider to say, and in three ‘chunks’, four verses for the congregation.  Feel free to use it, and let me know how it goes.  I suspect there will be some ongoing refining.

Cheers – David

Find your place around God’s table
Bread and wine – God’s gifts we share
As we eat and drink together
Jesus Christ is present here

Gather round, as we remember
Jesus taking wine and bread
‘My body, blood – it’s given for you’
Sacrament – as souls are fed.

 Take your place around God’s Table
Taste and see that God is grace
Be encouraged, loved, forgiven
Among God’s family, find your place.

We take our place around your table
We taste and see that you are grace
We go encouraged, loved, forgiven
Among God’s family, find our place

 David MacGregor  © 2004   Willow Publishing


when you take


Last Sunday in worship – first Sunday back after the start of the 2012 school year, Dale led an important section of worship (it took the the place of the sermon) in which Godly Play-style, she unpacked The Service of the Lord’s Day. She highlighted the twin aspects of Word and Table really, really well.

This Sunday, in true first-Sunday-of-month style we as church will gather at the Lord’s Table to remember, give thanks, anticipate, share community and acknowledge the presence of Christ with us in a real yet mysterious way.

So … I’ve written a new communion song.  It’s probably the third written over the years:

  • Remember Me back in the early 90s
  • Eat this Bread just a few years back at a National Youthworker Inservice week  and now
  • When you take
I felt a nudging to – in a sense – put into music form (singable by the people) the “Words of Institution” from 1 Corinthians 11 usually used in the lead up to the sharing of communion.  So, I’ve written this song. Now – having written it, I thought to myself: “O no – it’s got some similarities … some chord sequences and one melodic phrase to another communion song by a UK writer.  Do I go back to the drawing boards?”  No – I’m not going to.
I’ll leave this song with you.  Feel free to use as you see fit.  Music score   backing track.   Lyrics below

When you take

Take this bread
Bread of life
This: my body
all for you
When you take
When you eat
… remember me

Take this cup
Cup of life
New communion in my blood
When you take
when you drink
… remember me

 Holy, holy, holy Lord
God of pow’r and might
Heaven, earth they glorify
They praise your holy name

Hosanna in the highest place
Blessed, the One who comes
Blessed, the One who comes to us
in the name of the Lord

 We take this bread
Take this cup
declare Christ’s death until he comes
We bring ourselves
in sacrifice
Made worthy by his love.

 David MacGregor
© 2012  Willow Publishing 1 Corinthians 11:23-26

M.M. -1

M.M. = Memorial Mass


After a quite busy but somewhat sedate few days, it’s been full-on the past 24 hours or so. Dale and Dad drove into Akron-Canton airport (ab0ut an hour away) late Thursday morning to pick up Donna (0ne of Dale’s two sisters) as well as Tina, her Mom’s half-sister.  Does this make Tina ‘half an aunt’ to Dale.  mmmmmmmmm.

some Butrick family arrivals

As it turned out, this became a marathon effort due to late plane arrivals on two separate flights.  They got home 8 hours later, by which time Danny and I together or separately had finished cleaning, vacuuming, sweeping, cleaning patio furniture, hanging pot plants. I managed to cook a really tasty chicken thighs in capsicum/onion sauce, baked potato and tossed salad meal for our hungry returnees.

Dale and I have made so, so many trips to Goodwill or recycling with no-longer-needed clothing, books and other household items.  An emotional experience as you might expect.  I’ve scanned a several dozen photos both of Mom in her youthful days, Mom along with a very young Dale, Donna & Diana and some photos of our own boys with Mom & Dad in their earlier Australia visits.  All sorts of memories.

Today, more rellies have arrived, some whom I have never, ever met previously.  Arriving today were Danny, wife B.J. and daughter Dana (Dana is Nathan’s age) from West Virginia; Dale’s brother Jimmy and wife Karen from Florida and Dad’s brother Woody and wife Rose from Missouri. Donna and Tina who arrived yesterday are from Texas.

Dale (Schumaker) MacGregor rides on!

Dale even managed some rider-mowing.  This is such a huge property to maintain. Five acres?

Well – tomorrow is the biggie.  The Memorial Mass at St Ambrose Catholic Church at 10 am (Ohio time), followed by a reception/meal at the church.  After this, immediate family and a few others will continue the remembering and thanksgiving back here at 12308 Fenstermaker Road. Who knows whether we’ve bought or prepared enough food.  The local United Methodist Church had its annual Bake & Rummage Sale today so we bought up big on pies etc.  Meanwhile at base camp, about 8 pumpkin pies have been made.  OK – I understand if you don’t drool at the thought.  The best pumpkin pie for me is the sort that’s about 4 parts ice-cream, one part pie; but I’m getting closer to appreciating the stuff.

If you’re reading this prior to the 10 am service (about 1 am Sunday … Brisbane time), say a prayer please.  Emotions will be high.

Mom & Dad Butrick (Berrie & Bud)

Mom (Berrie) was the sort of person who was a real larger-than-life person. She had her fingers in so many pies – beading (especially), lapidary work, music, local church … I could go on for some time!  It’s going to be a service without any sort of eulogy but apparently that’s the way over here – at least at the local Catholic Church.

I have no doubt that Dale and I made the right decision to be over here for this — including me coming.  Thanks to all who have supported us in any way so far.



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