January 22, 2016, the Year of Our Lord

Pastor Carolyn Sissom


Our Passion Flowed Like Rivers Through the Sky


This past Christmas Shanna and Claire were doing a “spoof” singing MacArthur Park.  I had never heard that song before.  It was first released by Richard Harris in April 1968 the year Shanna was born.  From 1968 forward through the 70’s, I was so busy raising my children and being “super mom,”  I was oblivious to the music culture or any other culture that didn’t include children’s activities.  Also being the “good Christian woman,” that I was, the lyrics of this song at that time would have sounded to me like someone on drugs.


So, when Claire and Shanna were clowning around singing old songs at Christmas, I was arrested by the lyrics to the song.  I am sure to their polite surprise; they thought I was a little strange because I was drilling down on them to tell me about the song.  I knew I was being quickened by the Holy Spirit, and was trying to make the connection. 


Finally, because they weren’t satisfying my intense curiosity in the song, I went to the computer to research it.


As all my “savvy” readers will already know, it is a love song of a break-up of a romance where the two lovers met regularly at MacArthur Park and actual scenes of the surroundings.



There will be another song for me

For I will sing it

There will be another dream for me

Someone will bring it

I will drink the wine while it is warm

And never let you catch me looking at the sun

And after all the loves of my life

…You are still the One…


 MacArthur’s park is melting in the dark

All the sweet green icing flowing down

Someone left the cake out in the rain

I don’t think that I can take it

Cause it took so long to bake it

And I’ll never have that recipe again…”



I have been blessed in my life with love.  I was loved and sheltered as a child and as a young adult.  That love and respect extended from the community where I lived. Then I fell in love with Don Sissom and left everything behind for him.   I loved Don and he loved me (though there were bad days and turbulent days---the dance of love).  The love we had for each other kept us together for 48 years.  I fell “in love” with my babies, and then felt the pangs of a broken heart as they fought their way to independence into their own identities.  The broken heart healed as I grew watching them come first into residential independence in the college years; then financial independence and emotional independence as they each became their own woman.  The hardest part was the teen years when they began the fight to break out into their independence and their own identity.


I don’t have any unresolved love relationships from my family of birth or from my immediate family. I walk in the faith of the love of God, “There will be another song for me, for I will sing it.  There will be another dream for me, someone will bring it.  I will drink the wine while it is warm…” the devil will not catch me crying---faith always leads us forward, and onward. 


 I have fallen “in love” with my grandchildren.   I have the privilege of watching them grow and loving them without the emotional pangs of parenthood.


But another romance slipped into my life in the winter of 1999.  The setting is east Texas on an old Texas ranch and a Little White Church, long abandoned by the community it served.  The ranch had a small herd of longhorns, but mostly the family had moved west to larger ranches, away from the Houston metropolis.


The story of Little White Church out in the prairie of Katy, Texas is as big as the Texas sky that it sat under, and goes back 100 years before our occupation.  Some say, “This is God’s country.”  I called the ranch where the church sat “Glory-Land.” 


I fell in love as I walked toward the weather-worn, shabby, unkempt structure. The screen door was hanging loose. There were more shingles missing than were on the roof.  Some of the window panes were broken.   When I stepped on the porch, the Holy Spirit spoke to me.  I opened the door.  I knew I was to move into the church. Tears came to my eyes.  I knew the Lord had connected this woman preacher with another love in my life.


The following 15-year journey was one of great adventure, great Glory and great Love.  It was truly a labor of love.  There are those who would say, “Why did you put so much money and labor into something you didn’t own?”  I was always shocked at that question.  You see, the Lord owns all the cattle on a thousand hills and the church building belonged to Him and His Kingdom.  The Lord has need of it.”  He just allowed us to use it for His Glory.  It was not any trouble.


We have wonderful stories of cowboys, ranchers, coyotes, wild hogs, deer, egrets, and wolves (not to mention the longhorns worshiping with us as we sang!)  The ranch was much like a beautiful park, which actually backed up to George Bush Park. 


It was in the winter when the Big City took over the ranch. The Little White Church moved to a new location. It is being restored, loved, and continues to be used by the Lord by another lover.


Spring was never waiting for us, girl 


Though I loved the church, my romance was with my first love, Jesus Christ, and His Presence which covered and filled every service.  Meeting after meeting, we experienced the glory of the Lord as He brought in singers, preachers and saints.  We loved the Lord our God and one another.


  Our passion flowed like rivers through the sky.” 


Just before we had to leave the church building, the Lord checked my heart.  He spoke to me, “Do you love me as much as you loved Don when you left everything and followed him?”  The Lord was calling me to account as to the true love of my heart, whether it was in Him, or in the church (not just the building, but the whole dynamics of the congregation, location, Worship team, and leadership). 


Hindsight tells me the Lord was telling why He was going to test my heart.  At the time, I thought the Lord and I could settle that question in a few conversations.  Not!  All of the above mentioned dynamics have been through the fire.


It has been two years now since we moved out of the church.  The Lord has continued to bless us with His Presence.  With all the shakings, He has not taken His Holy Spirit from us.  As a remnant, we have processed our grief, stopped the bleeding and continued forward with our heart and eyes focused on Jesus.  I have been watching Jesus as He is bringing the congregation and His church through transmutation.  This was not my first “rodeo.”  The Lord has re-invented me and tested my heart many times in the past 75-plus years.  My faith and love is and has been in Jesus Christ for the journey.  He has never released his Hand on me, nor has He released His Hand on Eastgate Church.


Many judged me that the “rivers of passion of the Holy Spirit” within the Church would best be redirected to another lover.  Many were waiting in the wings to be the lover.


This past Sunday morning on the way to Church, the Lord spoke to me.  He said, “You are establishing a new church in a new community.  Light bulb—Yes!   He spoke to me shortly after we moved into Willow Fork, “the people here are your congregation.”   Eastgate Church has changed.  We are evolving.  The spiritual dynamics have changed.   At first we were looking for property to recreate our “Little White Church” romance.  No!  We were to move on.  We are in a new day.  We can fall in love again!


The rain of the Holy Spirit has washed away that day.  The Holy Spirit alone had the recipe to create the “setting” of our romance.  I followed the lead of the Holy Spirit as He revealed the recipe, “As we followed in the dance” of the romance of the Holy Spirit.


This Tuesday morning, on the way to Bible study, I was reminded of the lyrics to the song, MacArthur Park.  Of course, that explains why the song was quickened to me to reveal the “dance of the romance.”  And to differentiate between the romance that is over for that season of life, and the present season of a new day and the anticipation of a new love.  And I’ll never have that recipe again”.  It is O K!!! 


Like all the other loves of my life, that time and place was a wonderful romance with no regrets.


  During those 15 years, my grandchildren were born.


 In the winter of 2010, Don went to Heaven.  Spring was never waiting for us, girl.”


 Shanna found a new love.  Her wedding in the spring was at the church the last year we were there.


  The wonderful people who have flowed in, through and sometimes out of my life are a river of love. “And my passion flows like rivers in the sky.”


There will be another song for me

For I will sing it

There will be another dream for me

Someone will bring it

I will drink the wine while it is warm

And never let you catch me looking at the sun

And after all the loves of my life

Jesus you are still the One.


I am excited in the anticipation of spring that the thrill of “love” again awaits and my “First Love, Jesus Christ” has a new recipe for a new church more exciting than anything we have ever experienced before.  We have “followed in the dance” of the Holy Spirit and we “were pressed.  Oh, but the joy unspeakable of greater rivers of love are before us as we follow in the dance.


When the Lord asked me the question of the condition of my heart, my response to Him was Lord, “Only you know…if I don’t love you that much, help me to love you perfectly.”


What will be the fruit of this test of the “dance of the romance”?  I cannot say!  I only know that through all the loves of my live, “My passions have run like rivers through the sky”.  


1 Co. 2:9: “It is written, eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love Him.  God has revealed them to us by His Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, yea, the deep things of God.  For what man knows the things of a man, except the spirit of man which is in him? Even so the things of God know no man, but the Spirit of God.”


Spring was never waiting for us, girl

It ran one step ahead

As we followed in the dance

Between the parted pages and were pressed

In love’s hot, fevered iron


MacArthur’s Park has melted in the dark

All the sweet green icing flowing down

Someone left the cake out in the rain (rain of the Holy Ghost)

I don’t think that I can take it

Cause it took so long to bake it

And I’ll never have that recipe again


I will put my life into Your hands, and You can use it.

You will have the worship of my eyes, and never lose it.

You have all that I desire.

And my passion flows like rivers in the sky

And after all the loves of my life”

Jesus you are still the One.”


Carolyn Sissom

Lyrics from MacArthur Park written by Jimmy Webb.

Comments and conclusions are my own as led by the Holy Spirit and do not reflect the views or the intent of Jimmy Webb.   I don’t want to take away from these beautiful lyrics.  I felt the anointing on the lyrics and music. 



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