I’m joining Darcy Pattison’s Random Acts of Publicity Week with this post about children’s author and poet, Tony Johnston.
I discovered her haphazardly during a college visit with my youngest son. The college recruiter showed us a copy of The Harmonica because one of the professors there (Ron Mazellan) had illustrated it with beautiful mixed media. I later purchased it to give my son inspiration-towards-college. Only then did I read it and discover her evocative voice. Wow.
Later, while browsing through my favorite online charitable bookstore’s bargain bin, I found a title by Tony Johnston. It was a no-brainer to click “buy” for that one. And when the book arrived, my instincts were proven correct. Once again, her evocative voice shone through with a message of peace and hope. This book was called Voice from Afar: Poems of Peace. One of my favorite lines is, “Broken child in a broken land, I dream you a safe shore.”
Coincidentally, or providentially, soon afterwards we were asked to put together a worship service on peace. I used five of Tony’s poems as a framework for the service. I heard the poems brought forth some tears. I’ll list the poems here in case anyone wants to use the same framework for either a worship service or a peace gathering. There is no specific God language (other than the language of peace), so it would be acceptable in a public school setting as well.
For the call to worship or the beginning of the gathering: “Let Us Weave,” page 32
Before lighting of a peace candle: “Among the Sequoias,” page 23
Before prayer or statement of confession: “Belfast,” page 22
Before a time for children: “Voice from Afar,” page 5
As a Benediction or ending of gathering: “If Only,” page 28
Go in peace!