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December 2012
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February 2013

January 2013

the conversation continues

I'll say it again, Andrew Peterson is one of my favorites.  I have been listening to his music for a long time.  His songs fill my iPhone and I find them to be the perfect traveling companions.  Whether I'm on a long bus ride to Seoul or on an even longer plane ride to--who knows where--I am listening to Andrew Peterson.

I'm not just listening though, I'm conversing.  Andrew's music always leads me to engage in a conversation between the song, my heart and God.  I think it's because Peterson's music resonates in the thin places where real life and God interact with and encounter one another.

Here's a song about growing up, coming of age and trusting in God.  I have been there and am doing that. 

The conversation continues.

being remembered

DSC02897In my morning reading time I came across the poem, "Death the Leveller" by James Shirley. (see below)  Shirley was a playwright who lived in the 1600s.  He is known to have had a flair for the "dramatic," but in this poem his prose communicates a very real and sobering truth.

All of us--the great, the mighty, the rich, the poor, the just and the unjust--will someday die.

The Internet tells me that 56 "famous people" died in this past year of 2012.  I will miss Andy Griffith, Dick Clark and Ray Bradbury, to name a few, but there are others, that didn't make the list of 56, that I will miss much more.  They live on in the memories of my mind and heart.

The poet reminds us that in the end we will all inhabit the grave.  But this morning I am not thinking about dying, I am thinking about living.  My name will never be found via a Google search of "famous people who died," but it just might be remembered by my family, my friends, my coworkers and my neighbors.

Death the Leveller

The glories of our blood and state
Are shadows, not substantial things;
There is no armour against Fate;
Death lays his icy hand on kings:
Sceptre and Crown
Must tumble down,
And in the dust be equal made
With the poor crookèd scythe and spade.

Some men with swords may reap the field,
And plant fresh laurels where they kill:
But their strong nerves at last must yield;
They tame but one another still:
Early or late
They stoop to fate,
And must give up their murmuring breath
When they, pale captives, creep to death.

The garlands wither on your brow,
Then boast no more your mighty deeds!
Upon Death's purple altar now
See where the victor-victim bleeds.
Your heads must come
To the cold tomb:
Only the actions of the just
Smell sweet and blossom in their dust.

James Shirley

a big choice


"You do not choose to be born.  You do not choose your parents.  You do not choose the time period in which you live.  You do not choose the country of your birth.  You do not choose the circumstances of your upbringing.  In most cases, you do not choose to die.  You do not choose the time or conditions of your death. 

Despite all the realms of this choicelessness, we do choose how we will live."

                —Robert  D. Smith, 20,000 Days and Counting

the very narrow way

DSC04488I cannot begin to understand (nor do I want to) the circumstances in which Dietrich Bonhoeffer penned these words, but I find them worthy of contemplation as I embark on and "live" this New Year. 

"We used to think that one of the inalienable rights of man was that he should be able to plan both his professional and his private life.  That is a thing of the past.  The force of circumstances has brought us into a situation where we have to give up being "anxious about tomorrow" (Matt. 6:34).  But it makes all the difference whether we accept this willingly and in faith (as the Sermon on the Mount intends), or under continual constraint.  For most people, the compulsory abandonment of planning for the future means that they are forced back into living just for the moment, irresponsibly, frivolously, or resignedly; some few dream longingly of better times to come, and try to forget the present.  We find both these courses equally impossible, and there remains for us only the very narrow way, often extremely difficult to find, of living every day as if it were our last, and yet living in faith and responsibility as though there were to be a great future:  "Houses and fields and vineyards shall again be bought in this land" proclaims Jeremiah (32:15), in paradoxical contrast to his prophecies of woe, just before the destruction of the holy city.  It is a sign from God and a pledge of a fresh start and a great future, just when all seems black.  Thinking and acting for the sake of the coming generation, but being ready to go any day without fear or anxiety--that, in practice, is the spirit in which we are forced to live.  It is not easy to be brave and keep that spirit alive, but it is imperative."