Wednesday evening three old friends from Texas, Arizona, and northern Illinois descended on the Shoemaker home in Urbana, IL to sing their own semi-humorous re-write of the traditional Epiphany hymn We Three Kings. They concluded by presenting gold, frankincense, and myrrh to our mutual friend Steve Shoemaker. There’s a video of the trio on Steve’s FaceBook page for those want to watch and sing along. Steve, diagnosed with terminal cancer, is feeling remarkably well – even got up to make oatmeal for the guys the next morning!
A Tribute to the Rev. Dr. Steve Shoemaker (Harry Lee Strong)
(Tune: Three Kings of Orient; John Henry Hopkins, 1857)
We three friends from north, south, and west
Gather here as your grateful guests.
Pardon our singing – gifts we are bringing,
Just hoping not to be pests.
O … Husband, father, poet, bard:
How we loathe your journey hard!
If we could, you know we would
Make this damn disease retard!
It’s so good to see you again
Here at home on your Illinois plain,
Still with humor, despite tumors,
Teaching to die is to gain.
O … Talk show host and scholar bright:
Few compete with your great height!
On the air and through your care,
Keepin’ Faith both day and night.
Only God can possibly know
How many lives you’ve enabled to grow:
Words and actions, breaking down factions,
Allowing your light to show.
O … Classmate, preacher, prophet bold:
No respect do we withhold!
From our coffers we now offer
Frankincense and myrrh and gold.
- Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, January 8, 2016. Wish I’d been there.