Pain

CS Lewis said that music is the melody of the infinite and the closest experience of the other realm to which we may aspire. It makes sense…Paul gives direction for a group of people on how to have a meeting–out of 5 suggestions, 3 are musical…on and on…the very center of Scripture is almost entirely song–the Psalms…and so too in my life right now. Song is making it all bearable. When I can’t find my own words or my own anthem for living I’m taking stock in those of others; they are my melody, they are singing my song. So…I hope that explains the new proliferation of musical or lyrical reference in my posts–thanks guys.

Here’s one from “Enter the Worship Circle“, an amazing collective of musicians and poets screaming out for divine intervention, lamenting injustice and lack of beauty, and declaring that this is the day of the Lord’s righting of wrongs…challenging, torn up, bent out of shape, broken, restorative, beautiful…majestic…that’s what these songs are for me.

This one called pain is desperately personal–may it be to you too.

My life so far has been touched by your grace but there’s still things that shake me

I grow nearly faint when I see all the pain, there’s times I wish I wasn’t so tender.

There’s AIDS in the world and cancer in my friends and I’m sick now cause I’m scared

There’re people on the street too cold to feel their feet; I’m shaking inside cause they hurt

Our kids just don’t know to live in your Love is all that we need to be saved

It is simple enough, is it just like they say? Can we call on your Name to get help?

When I hear your Voice I won’t harden my heart, I don’t want to turn away from You!

And it’s just around the corner when every knee will bow and freedom will come

And it’s just round the corner when you come in the clouds and PAIN WILL BE NO MORE!! PAIN WILL BE NO MORE!!!!

Pain

groaning the Lord’s Prayer

Father of the unknowable and the unutterable—creator of Beauty and justice/mercy and Truth

YHWH we groan for your good dream to come! (groan)

Dweller in heavenly temples shrouded behind the veil in unseen darkness—You, whose Light shines brighter than Light—Inhabitant of all that is Real and Good, Filler of effulgent Love and ineffable Peace

YHWH we groan for your good dream to come! (groan)

You heard the cries of the oppressed and the exploited in the brickyards of Egypt and overturned an empire to bring them to yourself in perfect Freedom. You brought high walls of established governments to the ground at a shout by those who needed to be reminded to “fear not”. You led men who looked like grasshoppers in comparison to the 10’ giants they faced to victory using only stone and sling. You lifted and up and tore down. You send out and you bring back. You tear down and you lift up!

YHWH we groan for your good dream to come! (groan)

Your reign of love which leaves no one hungry—where no one has surplus and one have lack, your Abba’s heart that all would enter into gentle, compassionate, restored relationship with fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers, neighbors and enemy until there is no longer any enemy but Death itself—oh death where is your sting?

YHWH we groan for your good dream to come! (groan)

We hunger for bread from heaven and then long to be satisfied with the choicest of wines—experiencing your enjoyment, newness and wine-skin bursting Life.

We acknowledge our emptiness, our lack of resourcefulness, our inability to imagine your kingdom come—we forgive ourselves…and then apply the same generosity to those around us who leave us feeling slighted, wronged, or annoyed…we extend the grace that you have extended to us.

Even though temptation comes and the fierce adversaries of affluence, complacency, laziness, and judgment battle against us—we fear no evil…oh Abba…Abba Father…

Yours is the Kingdom, and the Power, and Glory Forever and ever…

YHWH we groan for your good dream to come on earth as it is in heaven…Amen

The Kingdom of God Is Within You.

 “People who believe in a wicked and senseless God–who has cursed the human race and devoted his own Son to slaughter, and a part of mankind to eternal torment–cannot believe in the God of love.  The man who believes in a God, in a Christ coming again in glory to judge and punish the quick and the dead, cannot believe in the Christ who bade us turn the left cheek, judge not, forgive those who wrong us and love our enemies.” (Tolstoy, The Kingdom of God is Within You)

or…at least so am I beginning to wonder…you?

Dirty Little Confessions

ConfessionalMike Morrell has tagged me for a confessional meme.Per the instructions I was passed along I have three confessions. They are largely addressed to a person, a sort of faceless compilation of those I would like to repent to, and while from simply me (because truly they are very much my issues and shortcomings) they are also from all those who declare ourselves to be disciples of Christ.

1) I’m sorry that I’ve been fearful of you as if you were a disease and have quarantined you from my day to day life. I’ve isolated myself from you and what you’ve had to offer because I was afraid that you only offered something that would poison me. My world of faith was a skyscraper of playing cards teetering every so often and that meant that pulling any one card out would send the whole thing to the ground. This meant that our conversations together were at first argumentative and then at last closed off for fear of my religious meltdown.
Our friendships were, from my perspective, mission trips into filthy Tijuana and when “salvation” results weren’t to be had I crossed the border back to my safe storehouse of certainties and positive reinforcing friends (birds of a Christian feather). I’m sorry I viewed my Christianity as a fortress to hide from worldliness (and you) from instead of a stage in which to interact and engage upon. I’m sorry I treated you like an outsider who I was scared might invade my stronghold of moral living.
And I’m forced to wonder…was it you I quarantined or myself?
I wish I could have seen the Lord as a wonderful virus spreading through my system, affecting and changing me, transforming my existence from the inside out. I wish I had been infectious…contagious…I wish I had spread the amazing “sickness”…simply by living and enjoying life to the full…together with you. In the end rather than hiding from you I dream of having gotten to know you—taking a journey together with you.

2) I’m sorry I sold many of you my “baked goods” that I didn’t fully enjoy and “recipes” for success that I was uncertain of. For me, part of assuring enjoyment has always been increased and enhanced by talking about how pleasing that something is. And oddly enough part of my coming to grips with my own questions is by presenting them in terms of crushing arguments full of doctrine and dogma…certainties… For those of you who gobbled up things I reported as amazing (in order to convince myself) but then later discovered how unsatisfactory it was, I apologize. For those of you who adhered to my beliefs because I trampled yours (while simply thinking out loud) I also apologize. I’m sorry for not letting you into my room of questions and concerns. I’m sorry for presenting that “it was working for me” when really it wasn’t. I’m sorry for being afraid to show that I was fragile and didn’t have it all together.
3) I’m sorry that it’s hard for me to live in tension. Strangely I imagine most humans don’t like it either. It’s really not convenient. And while I now understand, in part, that we as Christians exist in a tension between two realms (thanks John M.), compelled to exist fully in the material and equally in the ethereal, I have publically preached and privately practiced a distinct disengage from the visible universe, and promoted a single minded staring exclusively at the heavenly “other” realm. I’m sorry for the damage it has caused in creating a duality—a duplicity—in my life and my friend’s lives. It allowed us to “focus” on pie-in-the-sky Jesus, while neglecting maintaining relationships, caring for others (in the Church and out of it), healing illness and searching for the cures to the heinous tragedies that haunt humanity, dispensing justice and mercy, and treating this universe and our environment as the good creation of a good God seeking to redeem what has fallen. I’m sorry that I couldn’t handle the strain of being whole—it’s just easier to be compartmentalized. I used to say “there’s living and then there’s Life” or “there’s dying and there’s Death” and I thought that concerning myself only with words that had capitol letters was the solution.
It let me write off a world that was crying out for a savior while I blissfully marched into the transcendent.
You were part of that world. And I’m coming to understand just how beautiful you are…once again…sorry it’s taken me this long to realize some of these things…

Well…I think that’s my confession for the day…whew!!!
I really encourage those of you who read this to consider doing the same…

The guidelines passed down to me were as follows:

“1. Apologize for three things that Christians have often got wrong. Your apologies should be directed towards those who don’t view themselves as part of the Christian community. Alternatively, apologize for things you personally have done wrong towards those outside of the church.
2. Post a comment at the originating post so others can keep track of the apologies.
3. Tag five people to participate in the meme.
4. If desired, send an email with the link to your blog post at the Christians Confess site, giving permission for your apologies to be added to the website.”

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