16 April 2009

Sometimes I See New, Sometimes I Cry (or, For the Love)

Sometimes, while driving around town, I listen to music and it makes me see with new eyes. Take this morning, for example. I locked away Daphne and Gracie, hopped into the Jeep after stashing all the work necessities in the back (and a few non-essentials, such as the disc golf discs), and pulled away to go to the office. As I reached the highway, I realised a song my heart wanted to hear, and clicked the wheel round til it reached Rich Mullins. One button-push later, "Calling Out Your Name" begins to hammer out the speakers...

Well, the moon moved past Nebraska
And spilled laughter on them cold Dakota hills
Angels danced on Jacob's stairs--
Yeah, they danced on Jacob's stairs

There is this silence in the Badlands
And over Kansas the whole universe is stilled
With the whisper of a prayer
The whisper of a prayer

And I see the hawk burst into flight
And in the east all the horizon
Is in flames
I hear the thunder in the sky--
See the sky about to rain--
And I hear the prairies calling out Your name

Listening to this as I flew past familiar hillocks and grass leant on by the old Tennessee wind, knowing they were not the prairies described, yet they felt new. And it made my heart breathe deep.

Sometimes, too, the music makes me cry. When the first song ended, I paused the music to revel for a few minutes before starting another song by this, probably the greatest poetic lyricist I've ever heard...

Aidan, you're young
But, Aidan, you're growing
Me and your mom and all the love we have
We can only take you so far--
As far as we can--
But you'll need something more
To guide your heart
As you grow into a man--

Let mercy lead
let love be the strength in your legs
And in every footprint that you leave
There'll be a drop of grace
If we can reach beyond the wisdom of this age
Into the foolishness of God
That foolishness will save those who believe
Although their foolish hearts may break
They'll find peace
And I'll meet you
In that place where mercy leads

Oh, this song made me cry! Only a few small tears, but cry I did. Cry for the beauty of a foolishness which saves by the awesome power of God. Cry for the mercy which ought to lead us, step by step, to overcome the world. Cry for the church which contents itself with the wisdom of this age--with its tactics of complaint and resistance and advertisement, rather than sacrificing, enduring, overcoming, winning. Tears for the peace of Christ, which He gives, so unlike the peace of this present, dark world; for less activism and more grace-persistent, loving activity; for foolish hearts to break, for my foolish heart to break.

They were but a few tears, but they were enough to move me. Add a cup of hope, stir, and such moments can move many, many more, I do believe.

12 April 2009

The Recreation (An Easter Story)

(reprinted from Easter 2006, by the author)

The echo still resounded, "Let there be Light!" This Light beyond all light which transports the soul from the black of evil to the bright shine of goodly glory had come, had spilled all over the earth and over the hearts of men, exposing all, radiating all, loving all, burning all. Some seared souls arose against that Light and resolved themselves that this Light would have no part of them! They shook angry fists to the heavens from which that great Light shone; they spewed blasphemous rage. They sought to destroy the Light.

With a sigh, the Light absorbed their derision and rejection. The Light faded with the weight of infinite sorrow shrouding its glory moment by moment. At last, the very Daylight died. There was morning and there was evening: the first day.

Rage. The earth itself did tremble and rupture, and the dead began to crawl from their graves. Look! Look to the heavy curtain of the universe, veiling all things from the unapproachable Light which would consume them! The glorious Light, the Holy of holiest Light, which men could not enter lest they die--the marvelous Light did not kill the foolish trespassing Man, but true to the nature of Light, it only exposed the reality: that the trespassing Man was already dead! The curtain sways as all things slip into tumultuous darkness, heaving groaning despairing dark. The curtain sways, and suddenly is torn! Men avert their eyes, lest they too die...fall to their knees, grieving that they should stand so close to the Holy Room...and then they raise their eyes. They look, in faith, they look and can see as the Light wills them to see!

Silence elsewhere. Men strike hands in sinful pledges, women seduce, children revolt, parents despise, fathers abuse, mothers tantrum, sons lust, daughters envy. It is as any other day. There was morning and there was evening: the second day.

Night passes and begins to ebb away. A slow blue burns the edge of the horizon, burning itself into a watery light which creeps farther and farther heavenward, ascending as only the Light can ascend! At the same moment, watery tears yet fall from the cheeks of those precious few who loved the Light which left them two days hence. Will they be left alone in darkness? Darkness still within them, darkness all around--O, will the Sun also rise?

Unknown to them, the earth again moved--this time, but a single great boulder, a stone which stood before the shadowy cave. A hundred men who doubted the Light (but also doubted Death enough to stand as guards against the imperishable Light) look in awe for a moment and are struck down. They lie as though dead.

It is the breaking of the Dawn! Light passes among them, and among many more, thousands upon thousands more, Light passes among you and I...the Light burns on, loves on, restores on, proclaims on, satisfies on, sears on, frightens on, rages on! The Light remains and darkness cannot overwhelm Him! O God! What Light!

It was morning and it is forever morning: the Third Day.

03 April 2009

On Point

Click the title above to check out our new website. Why Know is no mo', our new name is On Point. Not bad (smile).

Last night, we held our annual banquet here at the Chattanooga Trade Center, with this year's speaker, Dr. Benjamin Carson. Dr. Carson did a wonderful job--he communicated much wisdom learned both from his childhood struggles and from more modern trials in the operating room. A very nice man, he.

While he shared much I could reflect upon (and probably will), I was musing over one tidbit just now: Dr. Carson's mother, in case you do not know, decided to kill their TV and require her two sons to read books (2 per week) and write reports on each book. Little Ben hated this at first (he joked last night that he and his brother called it "child abuse"), but within a few months he loved reading. And he said his morale was boosted greatly as he began to earn things that none of his classmates knew. He said he realised this impact from his reading, even as a young boy.

I loved to hear the simplicity of that, that kind of honest pride in knowing things. While it can lead to gross pride, the simple desire to learn and know more can be simple, pure, and sweet--it's something we are made to do (John 10:10). But I think about our culture today, with its countless media sources and outlets from televisions to theaters to cell phones and computers, and I wonder if we haven't grown into a culture where young people don't care about knowing more (or even just other) things than the next person--to them, it's more important to know exactly what everyone else knows. How many conversations are begun, "Hey, did you hear..." How many times I have observed young people hear the first few seconds of a popular song, and turn to look at one another for that glance of recognition: "You know this song, too? Oh, I know this song--in fact, I can sing all the words, watch this." They are content only to know the same gossip, rumors, speculations, and useless superficial knowledge that their peers possess.

But do they love learning? Do they dig deep into knowledge? Most importantly, do they know, do they press on to know the Lord? For in the light of Him, knowledge knows its limitations and is humbled. But who will show this generation how?