"God's Beloved Thief Approaches"

Here’s a hymn inspired by Matthew 24:36-44. It is written in 8.7.8.7 D and, while it can be sung to many tunes, BEECHER is recommended. Matthew 24:36-44 shows up in the Revised Common Lectionary for the 1st Sunday of Advent (Year A).

Permission is given for use in congregational worship.  Please give the following credit:  "Copyright 2019 Stephen M. Fearing | www.stephenmfearing.com"

Click here for a pdf of this hymn using BEECHER.

God’s beloved thief approaches in the unexpected hour.
Night or day, we know not when, but he will come in grace and power.
We endeavor to protect from thieves that come to violate.
There’s no need to stop this burglar; he breaks in to liberate.

Maybe he will free us from the fears that feed on human sin:
Those that help elect the racists, fears that let the cruelty in.
Maybe this beloved thief will rid God’s children of their hate,
And replace their fighting folly with the love that cannot wait.

Maybe he will steal corruption, that which sows the seeds of greed.
In its stead he’ll grow God’s justice, plants that feed the ones in need.
Maybe this beloved thief will carry off our selfishness,
Ban our policies of violence, end our sinful negligence.

Maybe he will take our weapons, making plowshares from our guns.
Preaching peace to all the nations, saving God’s most precious ones.
Maybe this beloved thief is someone we should welcome in.
Fling the doors between us open! Tell the world that love will win!

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Stephen Fearing

Stephen was born in 1988 in Cookeville, TN, where his parents met whilst attending Tennessee Tech. Shortly after, they moved to Dalton, Georgia where they put down roots and joined First Presbyterian Church, the faith family that taught Stephen that he was first and foremost a beloved child of God. It was this community that taught Stephen that it was OK to have questions and doubts and that nothing he could do could every possibly separate him from the love of God. In 1995, his sister, Sarah Kate, joined the family and Stephen began his journey as a life-long musician. Since then, he has found a love of music and has found this gift particularly fitting for his call to ministry. Among the instruments that he enjoys are piano, trumpet, guitar, and handbells. Stephen has always had a love of singing and congregation song. An avid member of the marching band, Stephen was the drum major of his high school's marching band. In 2006, Stephen began his tenure at Presbyterian College in Clinton, SC where he majored in Religion and minored in History. While attending PC, Stephen continued to explore his love of music by participating in the Wind Ensemble, Jazz Band, Jazz Combo, Jazz Trio, as well as playing in the PC Handbell ensemble and playing mandolin and banjo PC's very own bluegrass/rock group, Hosegrass, of which Stephen was a founding member (Hosegrass even released their own CD!). In 2010, Stephen moved from Clinton to Atlanta to attend Columbia Theological Seminary to pursue God's call on his life to be a pastor in the PC(USA). During this time, Stephen worked at Trinity Presbyterian Church, Silver Creek Presbyterian Church, Central Presbyterian Church, and Westminster Presbyterian Church. For three years, Stephen served as the Choir Director of Columbia Theological Seminary's choir and also served as the Interim Music Director at Westminster Presbyterian Church. In 2014, Stephen graduated from Columbia with a Masters of Divinity and a Masters of Arts in Practical Theology with an emphasis in liturgy, music, and worship. In July of 2014, Stephen was installed an ordained as Teaching Elder at Shelter Island Presbyterian Church in Shelter Island, NY. Later that year, Stephen married the love of his life, Tricia, and they share their home on Shelter Island with their Golden Doodle, Elsie, and their calico cat, Audrey. In addition to his work with the people who are Shelter Island Presbyterian Church, Stephen currently serves as a commission from Long Island Presbytery to the Synod of the Northeast and, beginning in January of 2016, will moderate the Synod's missions team.