Monday, April 30, 2007

Lift Up Your Head, O Worshiper

The phrase, "Let the redeemed of the Lord say so," has been in my mind a lot lately. I got to thinking about the old song that many of us know that repeats the words over and over again. Its funny how childhood works it's way into our adulthood.

Psalm 107:1 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. 2 Let the redeemed of the LORD say this—those he redeemed from the hand of the foe, 3 those he gathered from the lands, from east and west, from north and south. [a] 4 Some wandered in desert wastelands, finding no way to a city where they could settle. 5 They were hungry and thirsty, and their lives ebbed away. 6 Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. 7 He led them by a straight way to a city where they could settle. 8 Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men, 9 for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.

We all come before the Lord thirsty and hungry. Each one of us is filled with the Cup and the Bread that satisfies our whole being for all time. Each one that partakes. Since I have been redeemed, I will glory in His name. It is in the nature of the redeemed to worship the Redeemer.

Before the rocks cry out,
Before the rocks cry out,
Lift up Your head, O worshiper,
The King of Glory comes.

Grace and Peace,

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Once Upon A Time

Growing Pains: Just a couple of years ago (when I was much younger:) I had a strong opinion about my calling for ministry. I felt strongly that I was not supposed to work in a local church. In fact, I believed my only connection to the local church would be one of support from the church, without me doing anything in return (other than attaching my ever so prestigious name to it). I'm sure many of my motives were pure and honest. I know many of them weren't. Its hard to get famous leading worship in the same congregation each week. The Preceptor sat and waited patiently, for years really, for me to 'grow up' (my own words). Thinking about ME two years ago makes me scared of what I'll think of the current ME two years from now.

Conversion: Before I married I took a position as a worship leader in a part-time capacity at a church. I married during my time there. My wonderful wife and I spent a lot of time frustrated with "church." Things just didn't gel. It was supposed to be glorious. It was meager at best for our paradigm. But subtly a shift took place inside of me. I started to lose my thinking of how church is 'supposed' to look. The global Church became more important to me. I started to see the local church as part of the global Church. All Creatures Of Our God And King, Lift Up Your Vioce And With Us Sing. What I've found is that the more I care for the global Church, the more important the local church is to me. The Body is made up of many members: great and small.

God-Sized: I get tired of these hook-phrases. Some friends of mine and I were on our way back to the Rock from Hot Springs after driving to a church, only to find that the worship event we were supposed to lead in had been canceled. All of our gear was in the back of a Ford f-150 pickup, no tarp, it was rainy. We were thrilled to say the least. Out on I-30, between Malvern and Benton we were passed and splashed by a huge RV pulling a large trailer. The trailer and RV had matching flashy paint jobs with some fancy, new-wave Christian symbolism (definitely not against symbolism, just let me finish the story). The text on the side of the RV read: "Doing God-Sized Things." As you may imagine this started a bit of a discussion in the cab of the truck. The rain kept coming. The gear was fine when we got home though. Thanks be to God.
  • A water jug
  • Five loaves, two fishes
  • Gideon's army
  • David, before he was king
  • Moses'/God's rod
  • Thorns and nails
  • Pierced flesh
  • "Let the little children come unto me..."
  • A young virgin
  • A carpenter
  • Saul/Paul
  • A cross of wood
  • The early church
  • St. Patrick
  • Lottie Moon
  • St. Francis
  • Zacheous
  • A heart, willing to worship in obedience

I am having to learn to lay aside what I think is God-sized, and learn that in God's Kingdom, and in God's hands, the weak are made strong through His power and for His purpose.

Grace and Peace,


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

O lux

This evening I attended a Ouachita Singers concert in Arkadelphia, AR. I had a lot on my mind as I made the one hour drive from Maumelle to Arkadelphia. I was torn inside with disappointment, joy, anxiousness, conviction (that from the Spirit), and my lunch from the Chinese buffet. I'm learning to never ask the Lord to teach me patience. It's too unnerving.

After arrival, greetings, introductions, secret cringes and tears, I sat down with a dear friend to enjoy the concert. During the first half these words kept appearing and re-appearing: O lux. The first song, O lux beatissima, is one that I sang when I was in Singers. I had forgotten it until the first note. Then I was lost in it. O Light most blessed, fill the inmost heart of all Thy faithful. Without Your grace, there is nothing in us, nothing that is not harmful. "Nothing that is not harmful." I thought about all that is in me, and that which has come from me, that is nothing but harmful. Blessed be the Light that gives us grace. I recieved the Father's grace tonight.

The only song on the program that wasn't performed is called, O nata lux. I really wanted to hear it. Here's why;

O born Light of light, Jesus redeemer of the world, mercifully deem worthy and accept the praises and prayers of Your supplicants. Thou who once deigned to be clothed in flesh for the sake of the lost ones, grant us to be made members of Your Holy Body.

Worthy is the Lamb that was slain for the Lost Ones.

grace and peace,

Cantate Domino

Psalm 96:1 says to "Sing a new song to the LORD; sing to the LORD, all the earth." The Psalmist commands us to sing a new song four different times. Isaiah gives the command one time. Four other passages (twice in the Psalms, twice in the Revelation) the Bible speaks of a New Song either in our hearts or on our lips.

Grace and Peace,