ANNA’S SONG (LIFT THIS CHILD)
2. Lay this child on the ground, one with us, one with earth;
let God know in his Son
human clay, human birth.
Lay this child, lay this child on the ground.
3. Place this child in the shade, hang this child 'neath a tree; with his hand on the wood may this child set us free.
Place this child, place this child in the shade.
4. Give this child to the world, let him be common folk;
God has come to be born
as an ordin'ry bloke.
Give this child, give this child to the world.
5. Send this child down the road,
let him ride hard the track;
to be king of the bush
and the harsh world outback.
Send this child, send this child down the road.
6. Lift this child to the night,
to the Silence of God;
let this child cry for us
and the silence be heard.
Lift this child, lift this child to the night.
1981. A long story that can't be made short! Pro Hart, noted Australian painter and Christian, had begun a series of paintings depicting the story of Christmas set in the Australian Outback. His publisher, Rigby's, were at first just going to put the Bible texts with the pictures, but they decided it needed more. Mike Gutzeit, the Rigby's rep and a Lutheran, asked his pastor if he knew anybody who could do a text to go with the paintings. The pastor, Mike Hassold (later Principal of Luther Seminary, Adelaide) just happened to be doing a course under Norman Habel, and so Norman was enlisted. He did a series of poems, mostly in free form, but some, like this one, in verse. Norman asked me to put music to some of them. "Anna's Song" and "Will you be coming home this Christmas?" were two of the first to get a tune. Both tunes came very quickly, and became highlights of the show that a group of us did almost every year from 1981 to 1988 in South Australia and further afield. The book and the show, OUTBACK CHRISTMAS, are a powerful presentation of the Christmas narratives, more impressive, I think, for showing the characters to be real people in difficult situations than for being distinctly Australian, though they are that as well. For "Anna's song" Norman took customs associated with the welcoming of new children from various cultures around the world and applied them to Jesus. The song works well if it's begun and ended simply and quietly, with a gradual build-up in the song to a climax in verse 5.
Last Monday, November 19, I got back home after a 4 week trip, mostly in Queensland.Only possible because of
He's been my driver for the past 7½ years, for trips to Victoria, ACT, NSW and Queensland. He likes to label himself as 'Ray the Roadie', but he's a lot more than that. For the churches & schools I've sung at, we both set up the sound gear - the amps, guitars et al. He then retires to a back seat, while I sing & play. Afterwards, at schools, we take the gear down together. But at churches, he looks after the gear, while I talk with people & sell CDs & books. We get to stay with people most places , & we both love meeting people, enjoying their terrific hospitality.
This trip was his swan-song. I know he's enjoyed the driving & meeting people, but I still don't know how to say thank you. In his modest, self deprecating way, he'd reject the label of 'Servant of Christ', but he's been that for me, & together we've been able to serve people in many places.