Friday, 10 May 2013

Where to Turn

Today marks the end of my current collection of worship songs. I hope to have more songs to share in future - some old, some new. I believe the "Subscribe to: Posts" button at the end of this page will "feed" you any future posts.

And today I return to my two favourite sources of inspiration - the psalms and the prophets.

Psalm 36: "For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light."

The Fountain Of Life. This is the reason I write and present these songs. This is the reason I press on through limiting resources and skill and give what I have to give. It is for God. For with God is the fountain of life. And I desire to live in this ever flowing water. This ever flowing light. Nothing hidden, nothing held back. Drinking from the river of delights. Worth pressing on for!

Perhaps the prophet Jeremiah pressed on for similar reasons, with the hope that Israel would feast on the abundance of God's house. His ministry became one of lamentation for a people who would not turn to God.

Jeremiah 25:7 - "Yet you did not listen to me, says the Lord, and so you have provoked me to anger with the work of your hands to your own harm."

Turn Now, Jeremiah continued to cry, but the people continued to choose their own way.

Thanks for joining me on this little journey through song. It was nice to have your company.
Where to turn now?


Thursday, 9 May 2013

Mercy and Wonder

Psalm 57:1 - "Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, until the destroying storms pass by."

This was the song of my heart early this week as I tried to rise up from the remains of a weekend headache and record some challenging songs - ones hard for me to play free of stumbling fingers. Be Merciful would have been a nice plea to God, compared to what did come from my mouth. At times like this I could easily doubt the effort and discipline that has gone into the production of this song blog. A task that really began back in 2010 when I first picked up the guitar for a second go at being a professional songwriter. Has there been any benefit? Will there be a reward?

Psalm 119:82 - "My eyes fail with watching for your promise; I ask, “When will you comfort me?"

It's not always easy to see God's hand in the tasks he calls us to. Even less apparent is the good result we hope to come from our efforts. I think of the mother's who pray year after year for their children, and of those who are faithful in seeking the "promised land", yet continue in poverty.

There is good news. Everything will be all right. Stayed tuned to hear the happy ending to a mournful song. 

I have returned again and again to my imagination for a glimpse of those hoped for outcomes - a vision of prosperity, a joyous celebration, a thought of love. Sometimes God will meet me there with a vision of his own. I love those moments and that place where creation begins. A place to dream and contemplate Wonder.

God imagined... God created... and new life began.


Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Heavens Chorus

The leaves are making their first appearance here in NS. Spring has sprung. It's a good day.

It will be a wonderful day when we hear the heavens praising God. If the sound is anything like the night sky or the morning sunrise, or the first signs of spring, we are in for a treat. It will certainly be a taste of his glory.

Psalm 89:6 - "For who in the skies can be compared to the Lord?"

Let The Heavens Praise. And when the heavens begin to praise, we will join with them in song. It will be a great chorus.

Psalm 68:32 - "Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth; sing praises to the Lord".

There are some who have heard this chorus - angels joining with them in worship. There was one time in worship during a Gathering of the Watchmen For The Nations in Gander, NL, that I had a sense of being surrounded by a choir of angels. I've yet to hear them with physical ears, but I'm always open to that. It will surely be a sweet moment when I do. In Gander, I remember slipping off my shoes because it felt like I was standing on holy ground.

Psalm 68:33 - "O rider in the heavens, the Ancient Heavens; listen, he sends out his voice, his mighty voice."



Tuesday, 7 May 2013

In God's Sight

I Peter 3:4 - "... the Unfading Beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit... is of great worth in God's sight."

This was the quote of the day on the October 17th calendar page from 2007, shown here with a matching leaf I had picked up that same fall.

On the evening of the 16th, we had a missionary, Alan Baker, visit our home group. He had prayed for many of us and in his prayer for me, he had blessed my "gentle spirit", saying it would be effective in ministry. My friend Lisa, discovering this bible verse on her calendar the following day, passed it along to me. It came as an encouragement and confirmation of the missionary's prayer.

Hebrews 13:20-21 - "Now may the God of peace... make you complete in everything good so that you may do his will, working among us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen".

This prayer was written on the journal page from where the leaf and calendar page had been safely tucked away. It seems to fit with this blog post, focusing in on God's sight.

I depend on God's sight. My own sight is limited. I have very narrow vision. Near sightedness. And I don't always see beauty in a gentle spirit. It can often feel more like weakness and over-sensitivity to everything around me.

Psalm 16:11 - "You show me the path of life. In your presence there is fullness of joy; in your right hand are pleasures forevermore."

I need God to show me life through his eyes! Evermore.


Monday, 6 May 2013

Wait and Rest

Wait. Rest. Two words that appear over and over in the bible. And two actions that are required over and over in life. They must be important. Impatience, though, has a way of superseding everything in its path. We're in a hurry to get wherever it is we think we're going.

Psalm 130:5 - "I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope".

Waiting can be agonizing. For me it's been hard to know when God means for me to stop - stop and wait - and when he means for me to be patient and wait - hold on a little longer. Some will say it's more the latter, but in my experience it's been to stop. Stop what I'm doing and wait for the next step. Stop working. Stop being busy. Wait. Take some time to tune into God. Be still. Be quiet. So... My Soul Waits.

Resting is a little easier to understand, but I would say, just as hard to do. I have spent too much time being restless - believing there was more I needed to be doing or more that I needed to be. Unsettled and unsatisfied with myself and my circumstances. I can see the importance of rest. All around me, the world speeds by. People hardly stop to notice their bodies and souls crying out for rest. Simple physical rest.

Psalm 42:8 - "By day the Lord commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life."

I believe God's song is always, Rest Now My Beloved.

Resting now.


Sunday, 5 May 2013

Taizé Worship

The Taizé style of worship is quiet, reflective, and meditative in nature. It takes a simple line of scripture and repeats it over and over. It was first introduced in the Taizé Community, an ecumenical monastic order in Taizé, France. The community was founded by Frère Roger Schutz in 1940. "He pondered what it really meant to live a life according to the scriptures and began a quest for a different expression of the Christian life." - Wikipedia

I didn't set out to write Taizé style songs, but as I was writing the two songs here, I recognized the influence. At St. Thomas' Church in St. John's we would have a regular evening service dedicated to this style of worship, using the songs written by Frère Roger. I also came across a service one Friday evening strolling along a street in Victoria, BC. A nice find. I asked if they did this every Friday evening. They did not.

Psalm 97:11-12 - "Light dawns for the righteous, and joy for the upright in heart. Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous, and give thanks to his holy name!" Light Is Dawning

Psalm 139:18 - "I come to the end - I am still with you." I Come To The End

These lines of scripture are capable of standing alone in songs of worship. I didn't have any inclination to add or subtract from them. Sung over and over, they surely bring one into the presence of God, and into the peace that one finds there.

This is where I want to go in worship.


Saturday, 4 May 2013

All About You

If I remember correctly, the first line of the bestselling book, The Purpose Driven Life, by Rick Warren, is, "It's not about you." So I need to tell you that today's post is not about you either. Sorry.

The "you" that it is all about is God.

Psalm 104:1-4 - "O Lord my God, you are very great. You are clothed with honor and majesty... you stretch out the heavens... you set the beams of your chambers on the water... you make the clouds your chariot... you ride on the wings of the wind... you make the winds your messengers".

It's All About You.

Now this next part is for you... and the question comes to you, If You Could Have Anything, what would it be? Would it be me? - Not me, Elizabeth. But me, Jesus. Confused?

What would it take for us to choose Jesus over all else and in every circumstance? The moon and the stars to proclaim his name? The wind whispering our name, beckoning us? The birds singing God's praise? Your heart responding to God's song? I think maybe all these things happen if we're willing to stop and listen, stop and recognize Jesus in all these things.

Turn around and see... me.