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Healing touch (the theologian's prayer)

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However consoling our beliefs, we cannot escape contradiction and loss.

Some psalms leap from hope to despair and back even in consecutive verses. Healing touch plays out this split personality, with voices of faith and doubt (the latter in italics in the lyrics) arguing it out side by side in the theologian’s head.

The song juxtaposes a "faith voice" with some of the most reassuring words from the bible (based on John 16:33, Matthew 6:33-4 and Isaiah 55:9) against a "doubt voice" with a catalogue of riddles and irresolvable paradoxes of Christian theology adapted from sonnets 14 and 15 of my poem The sailing of the ark.


(Lyrics in Roman type are first "faith" voice

Lyrics in italics are second "doubt" voice)

I can (can I?) feel the touch of your presence

I can (can I?) feel the touch of your presence

healing me,

you are (are you?) healing me

You say "The world is full of trouble
     And here's the plain good news

     if only I could understand it  

as the sun shall rise and fall

     you died immortal

          and bring peace with a sword,

but in me you have peace that passes understanding

I've overcome it all—

     you come not to judge but judge

     where first is last and poor is rich

     and fools are wise—

     yes I've overcome it all"

     speaking plainly we are freed into complete subjection

          where the only way to live is to die

I can (can I?) feel the power of your presence

I can (can I?) feel the power of your presence

healing me  (what does it mean to heal me?)

you are (are you?) healing me (nobody lives forever)

You say "Don't worry about tomorrow,
     Father, Son, Spirit, riddle of the one-in-three,

let it worry for itself

     how could you be wholly God and wholly man?

but do what is good and seek my kingdom

and all shall then be well—

     King of a world ruled by someone else,

     uniting us to live apart,

yes all shall then be well"

     you're the God whom we believe and we don't believe,

     that's the simple gospel truth.

You say "As high as are the heavens
     Still the old, familiar puzzle—

     good God and a wicked world.  

beyond your human gaze,

     Why did you choose to lose the power and control?

so far are my thoughts beyond your understanding,

     How should we comprehend this suffering God

     my ways above your ways,

     who kills us with his endless love

my ways above your ways."

          and blesses his beloved with freedom's curse,

     and the bittersweet gift of doubt?

I can (can I?) feel the touch of your presence

I can (can I?) feel the touch of your presence

healing me,

you are (are you?) healing me

Our days are like grass,

we flourish like the flowers of the field.

The wind blows over us, we are gone,

our place remembers us

Prayers in time constantly

crossing the bridge to eternity


Words and music by Godfrey Rust. Chorus lyric by Illa Poppat. The passage beginning “Our days are like grass” is adapted from Psalm 103, 15-16.


Godfrey Rust vocals

Adam Rust keyboards, synth bass, drum programming,

     electric guitar

Daniel Corbett  electric guitar

David Fitzgerald  saxophone

"Prayers in time" closing vocals Neena Caperna, 

     Laura Fontanills, Joel Rust


Recorded by Adam Rust and Godfrey Rust

Produced, engineered and mixed by Adam Rust

Co-produced by Godfrey Rust 

Mastered by Denis Blackham