Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Found This On My iPad - Who WROTE This Excellence?!?

I just ran across this sonnet that's been hanging out in my iPad's Notes app since June 5, 2013. I looked at it and read it and pondered it and had NO IDEA where it came from.

But I did know that it needs to be shared with more than just me.


Cannot the clay be crushed while on the wheel,

Canvas be slashed before the paint is dry?
Can't faulty stitch be ripped by knitter's zeal,
Phrase erased which fails to satisfy?
The carver, wise and skilled, has perfect right
To scrap the flawed and twisted piece of wood.
The poet stops his fledgling work mid-flight
Because it isn't singing as it should.
But we, the Potter's marred, unlovely jars,
No masterpieces...He elects to wet
His hands and work us new. God, who names stars
And knows each sparrow, hasn't finished yet...

Till we are fit for our unveiling day,

Our Maker  -  loving, faithful  -  shapes our clay.

Truth is...A search for the first line took me to the blog-post source and I was reminded that this was penned by a dear friend, Lauren Nichols. To see the original and some words about its origin, click here.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Church Is Like Jazz

Playing jazz can be a pretty individualized effort. MY artistic vision as I shape the melody and caress the chords.

But the real magic happens when musicians interact with each other. When talented artists play together...and I don't just mean play instruments, but actually play, as in, "to exercise or employ oneself in diversion, amusement, or recreation."

Chick Corea is a great jazz pianist/keyboardist who, early in his career, played with the legendary trumpeter and band leader, Miles Davis. The following are the words of Chick, quoted in Bob Gluck's book, The Miles Davis Lost Quintet and Other Revolutionary Ensembles:

Miles ... was a chemist -- a spiritual chemist -- as far as putting musicians together, because he himself didn't really compose tunes that much, although he developed styles and arrangements but he chose musicians that went together a way that he heard and that he liked. And he went from this piano player to that piano player or from this drummer to that drummer -- he chose these guys so that it went together in a way that he heard it. And I guess that's leadership, you know, it's like the choosing of the way and the treatment of the group.

With Miles' band we were all allowed to play what we wanted to play and shaped the music according to the group effort and not to the dictates of Miles, because he really never dictated what he wanted. I try to do the same thing with my group. I think it serves this function that I just mentioned ­-- that everybody feels that they're part of the product, you know, and not just contributing something to somebody else's music. They may be my tunes, but the music belongs to the guys in the band. They make the music -- it's not just my thing.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

So what's that got to do with the "Church" mentioned in this post's title?


God's plan has never been about saving you so you could be saved, but saving you so you could be part of His unbelievably huge plan...bringing all of creation back into harmony with Himself.

Harmony. Ha! Musical term.

Truth is...He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love. (Ephesians 4:16 NLT)

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The Lens Through Which I See Everything - Be Thou My Vision Prosified

The original words of the hymn, Be Thou My Vision, were written in Ireland in the 6th century by one Dallan Forgaill, then translated into English by Mary E. Byrne in 1905 and versified in 1912 by Eleanor H. Hull.

And now, in 2016, the process is reversed, as I prosify the metaphor-filled text...

I declare You as the Supreme Ruler of the core of my being and ask You to not only give me sight but to embody my ability to see. Everything else in the world means nothing to me, compared to You being with me and having You as the focus of my thoughts. All day and all night, whether I'm awake or asleep, your presence sheds light on my path

I need You to replace my limited knowledge with Your limitless wisdom. Let every word I say be Your words of truth. May I be like Jesus in always being with You and You always being with me...You being my Heavenly Father, and I being Your son...You living in me to the point of the two of us being one

If I was a soldier, Lord, you would be my defensive vest, my offensive weapon, my body's protection, and indeed, my strength to fight the fight. My soul finds shelter in You, like a castle's tower. You raise me up and give me strength

I pay no attention to worldly wealth or earthly recognition. Each day of my life, I look forward to You as my eternal inheritance. You, and You alone, are number one in my heart and the Supreme Ruler of Heaven. You are what I treasure more than anything. 

And when it's all over...when the battles of life are done being fought...then, my King and light and warmth...then I trust You will open all the joys of Heaven to me! Whatever happens, Lord Jesus Christ, You will always be my Ruler and the lens through which I see absolutely everything.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

Truth is...It's so easy to let the temporary sights of Planet Earth steal my attention away from the things that are lasting.

Thanks to Be Thou My Vision.com for some historical insight.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

If You're at the End of Your Rope

Ever wonder "When is this all going to end?!?"

Replace "this all" with whatever your current turmoil is. For those who miss sunshine and warmth, it might be as simple as "winter". For others, it might be "my pain" or "loneliness" or "grief".

Whatever it is, hear me clearly...there is hope.

If you're feeling like one of the walking wounded, listen to Randy Stonehill's song, Hymn.

In this land of the walking wounded

In this desert of countless sorrows
I will cling to his hand today and fear not for tomorrow

In my heart I have made this promise

With this song I declare my choice
I will walk where the shepherd leads and heed no other voice

In the chill of my darkest hour

I am saved from my deep despair
For the father who loves his children hears my trusting prayer

In my soul there is one light shining

From the flame of my true belief
And its embers cannot be quenched or robbed by any thief

In the end we are not forgotten

And our journey is not in vain
For the master who brought us here
Will lead us home - lead us home again
©1985 Stonehillian Music

Truth is...setting the video on the last night of World War I, with the soldier not KNOWING it was the final night of fighting, increases the impact of this thought: Don't give up. You never know how close your rescuer/redeemer is.