Archives For February 2016

One of my theology teachers once told me that his lecturer would kick start their history class by singing an old hymn.

He was so impressed by it, that he borrowed the idea. Consequently, our history lessons began the same way.

And as one does, I figured we could do the same. Singing just the lyrics.

The song choice wasn’t hard. ‘Be Thou My Vision’ has been on the top of my list since the late 90’s. Where I encountered an appreciation for it from my boss, an 84 year old Scottish lady named Irene, who also happened to like some of the more modern heavier stuff I’d recommend to her. Our kids also like the song, so I decided to spend a few hours putting together my own version of it.

As a song, the melody lends itself to almost any beat. As a prayer, it stands alone in its category.

LYRICS

Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art
Thou my best thought by day or by night
Waking or sleeping Thy presence my light

Be thou my wisdom and Thou my true word
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord
Thou my great Father, I, Thy true son
Thou in me dwelling and I with Thee one

Be Thou my breastplate, my sword for the fight,
Be Thou my armor and be Thou my might.
Thou my soul shelter, and Thou my high tower,
Raise Thou me heavenwards, oh power of my power.

Riches I heed not nor man’s empty praise
Thou mine inheritance now and always
Thou and thou only first in my heart
High King of heaven my treasure Thou are

High King of heaven my victory won
May I reach heaven’s joys, O bright heaven’s Sun
Heart of my own heart whatever befall
Still be my vision O Ruler of all [i]

 


[i] Circa. 8th Century, author unknown. Trans. Mary Byrne, 1905; Eleanor Hull, 1912

Arrangement and image are mine.

Shimmering Descent

February 23, 2016 — Leave a comment

Moon Set RL2016

With a slow slide,

          the fading mirror yawns.

          This morbid lamp,

with precision

         releases its dim handshake.

 Pointing towards time,

          announcing the fulfillment of promise;

life-giving light,

                fresh mercies

and a new

                 blazing dawn.

Into the West,

          the lunar sets,

And this pilgrim rides

                 its shimmering descent.


(RL2016)

Yours Sincerely

February 22, 2016 — Leave a comment

 

 

‘When politics is
            given over to the Devil,
with the diminishing authority
                              of any entity
that can be called “Church”
        in relation to the state,
                one ought not be surprised
that the Devil overtakes politics.’ [i]

 

Dear User 5

 

‘Finally be strong in the Lord
and in the strength of His might.
              Put on the whole armor of God,
that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.
               For we do not wrestle
                                     against flesh and blood,
but
                                     against the rulers,
                                     against the authorities,
                                     against the cosmic powers
                                                     over this present darkness,
                                     against the spiritual forces
of evil in heavenly places.’ [ii]

 


Source:

[i] Elshtain, J.B 2008 Sovereignty: God, State & Self, Basic Books, (p.79)

[ii] Paul, Ephesians 6:10-12

[recommended reads]

The Empty Side of Grief

February 19, 2016 — Leave a comment

Pic 12

Dynamic is the melody;

a bruised life;

frustrated forgiveness –

the empty side of grief.

The melody reaches for a resolution.

Like dry tears that lock up a grieving heart.

The melody is chained.

It struggles to flow;

to find wings beyond itself;

to be found by the enigmatic glow.

By beat and roar heaved towards foe,

the voice resolves,

its freedom aided by the simplest groan.

Answered by way of the smallest tone.

By grace it slows,

and

by these commanding whispers,

it soars above its woe.

‘Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.’
– (Paul, Romans, 8:26)


(RL2016)

Words and music are my own.

A Slow Turn To Starboard

February 18, 2016 — 1 Comment

Clouds

The cannon

                         is just out of range.

Each thunderous estimate hits the waves,

            vibrating thuds pound through each nerve.

Rushing anticipation fills quick responses,

veins full of anxiety, function on the fumes of exhausted expectations,

to out run,

to out bid,

to out smart,

the great descending grey.

Too busy to breathe,

                       too

                       tired

                       to argue.

Answers to this loud inquisition are setting up to prove

the illegitimacy of their own walls of certainty.

Their models

                  never suggested a night

        of waves and squalls.

Unceasing in their quest,

         unanswered by the answer they want to hear.

Refusing to pull into the safe port long known and visited by ancients,

  reason is employed to ignore reason.

Its existence rejected,

                              recycled as intellectual fodder,

                              for far superior moderns.

Faith,

   that jarring inconvenience,

           is bound and silenced.

The self-evident truth still confronting their understanding is thrown overboard.

The old answer that was once spoken authoritatively before them,

                                                                               sinks;

a metaphor for the shattering conclusions

soon to be witnessed from shore.

Their rest,

a slow turn to starboard,

yet,

the ship still steams on.


RL2016

Selling Out Header

If looked at hard enough Spurgeon can be seen to be correcting some of the more over-the-top Valentine’s day perspectives:

“The story goes, that the Roman Senate, hearing of the miracles in Judea, decreed divine worship to Christ; but Tiberius the emperor crossed it, when he heard that He would be worshipped alone.
There is the edge of the controversy between Christ and the world.
The Christian religion interferes with no man’s liberty, but leaves every conscience free and accountable only to God; and yet it has no tolerance for false doctrine, and enters upon no compact or truce with error. It does not claim to be one form of truth which exists side by side with a dozen others, but it reveals Christ as “the truth.”
We do not believe in many ways to heaven, for we know that there is only one way, and we do not acknowledge two foundations for faith, for we know Christ to be the one and only foundation, and we dare not say otherwise.
Christ is not one among many Saviours, he is the only Redeeemer of humanity. The popular fiction of “comparative religions” is a delusion; there is but one truth, and that which does not agree with it is a lie.
In my heart, great Lord, many lords have had dominion aforetime, but now thy name alone shall bear rule over my nature. Let me never insult thee by enduring a rival; let me never ruin myself by dividing my allegiance.[i]

If listened to carefully enough, Cooper’s lyrics are a warning:

If applied, Jesus’ words call for a revolution that is informed by both :

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
– (Jesus, Matthew 6:24, ESV)

Source:

[i] Spurgeon, C. H. 1883 Flowers from a Puritan’s garden, distilled and dispensed: The Roman Senate and Christ. New York: Funk & Wagnalls.  (pp.176–177).

Ash & Ambrose

February 10, 2016 — Leave a comment

Cross Ash Wednesday Word Art