Ineffable

Woman, Girl, Freedom, Happy, Sun, Silhouette, Sunrise

Pixabay

Speechless, in awe, too much to take in

Overwhelmed by the glory radiating from Him

So many sights and blessings witnessed each day

In nature, or human kindness

We encounter along our way

Sometimes it’s a sunrise, bright beams of gold

Sometimes it’s a whispered “I love you”

When that’s what you need to be told

Ineffable, in awe, too much to take in

The blessings daily flowing from Him

 

Padre

Weekend Writing Prompt #130 – Ineffable Ineffable in 70 words

 

 

 

 

Tsunami of Fire

Fire, Beautiful, Flame

Pixabay

Pastor Vince this week spoke of a vision of a wave of revival coming over the church and the land.  He noted that for such a revival to come, God’s people need to be focused on Him, not their own agendas.  He went on to say that it is through praise that we can find that focus.  When we offer our praise and thanksgiving to god, He responds with even more blessings.  The pastor on several occasions reminded us that as our praise goes up, His blessings come down.  What a mighty truth!

Psalm 71 reminds us of the place of praise,

“As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more.  My mouth will tell of your righteous deeds, of your saving acts all day long— though I know not how to relate them all.  I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, Sovereign LordI will proclaim your righteous deeds, yours alone (verses 14-16).”

Note that in praise we have hope, and as we have God’s mighty acts to proclaim, He will show us even more of them to praise.

But such praise is not a solo act if we want true revival.  A revival that will sweep over the land like a tsunami.  It is an act of praise that is unified, and of common purpose.  Psalm 133 reminds us,

“How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down on the collar of his robe. It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore”

Notice that in unified purpose (v 1) that God bestows His blessings (v 3).   Compare that to the words of Matthew 18:19 “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.”

So what is the nature of such unified praise?  The Psalmist states it clearly in the 100th,

“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God.  It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.  Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.  For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;  his faithfulness continues through all generations.”  

It’s as simple as that, praise Him as our creator, our shepherd, our faithful provider.  Praise Him for His love.

 

Such praise will change the land.  It will “sow seeds” of righteousness.  The harvest of which will be of fire, the fire of the Spirit.  As in Acts 2 when the flames of the Spirit came like a mighty wind, not a drizzle but a storm. 

Hosea 10:12 tells us, 

Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground;  for it is time to seek the Lorduntil he comes and showers his righteousness on you.”

Okay, some mixed metaphor but truth all the same.  When we prepare the unplanted land of our praise.  When we till and prepare the soil of our hearts, then he will shower (even pour down) His righteousness on us.

Do we want revival?  Look at Matthew 13: 18-23,

 

 “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means:  When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy.   But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.  The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful.  But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”

In our acceptance of God’s word, in our thanksgiving for His gifts, in our praise of Him for His goodness, we prepare the soil.  We break up the hard ground, we remove the rocks and weeds.  We in short fulfill Hosea’s words, and in so doing we can await the tsunami of fire, the revival of the land!

Padre

 

 

Stillness in the House, Stillness of Heart

Dianne as teen

Young Dianne

My wife, Dianne was a talented musician.  She was a classical pianist, played for worship at several churches, and scored and accompanied amateur singing and dramatics groups.  During her illness she continued to practice, but as her energy levels waned, she dedicated herself to making recordings of her work so that I would not be without her “pretty noises,” as I called them once she was gone.

The recordings are precious to me, but as of yet, I have not begun to play them.  But I shall.  For now there is stillness in my house.

Having come from a religious tradition of A Capella music, it took me some time to truly come to appreciate the praise that musicians can shower on the Lord.  Dianne taught me that making harmony in one’s heart is just as much harmony with the glorifying of God as it is with that of other worshipers.

Music is indeed an aspect of our human experience.  It can move us, lift us, humble us, and encourage us.  There is a theological concept called numinous, “having a strong religious or spiritual quality; indicating or suggesting the presence of a divinity.”    I have felt this presence of God on several occasions in my life.  The earliest memory was a vespers service at a Benedictine house when I was a teenager.  The Spirit of God sent shivers through my body, and the devotions of the monks were life changing for me.  Later, I had a similar experience during a particularly powerful acapella worship in Tennessee.  Most recently, not long before Dianne’s passing, I again felt it during a Pentecostal service of praise and worship.  Dianne used to sit quietly during such periods of worship, not singing, but mediating upon the Spirit’s washing over her, and through the congregation.   Her praise (despite being a musician) was at those times was meditative, and personal between her and God.

I have come to truly value the act of praise, and I hope that my heart’s reaching out to God is more complete than just what I can offer with my voice.  But I can also, as Dianne taught me through her example, just “be still in the Lord.”

Padre

 

Praise to the Three in One

Trinity

 

Hallelujah, to the Three in One,

hallelujah –

 

Blessed be the Alpha, in whom at the beginning all was made

Blessed to the Emmanuel who came to walk with us

Blessed be to the Omega in whom it was finished on the cross

Blessed be the Comforter who with us stayed

 

Hallelujah, to the Three in One,

hallelujah –

 

Praise to the Father – On His throne

Praise to the Spirit who guides us amidst life’s strife

Praise to the Son who for us did atone

Praise to the Three in One that gives us life

 

Hallelujah, to the Three in One,

hallelujah –

 

Trinity a word in the Bible not to be found

But single terms of reality are not the test

But God’s three part nature in that book does abound

And at Jordan River all were manifest

 

Hallelujah, to the Three in One,

hallelujah –

 

Praise to the Father – On His throne

Praise to the Spirit who guides us amidst life’s strife

Praise to the Son who for us did atone

Praise to the Three in One that gives us life

 

Padre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Mistake

Anton, the maitre d’ was a stickler for decorum. So it should have been of no surprise that he had a fit when Simone came across as rude to the Taylors, regular Friday night customers.

It wasn’t that she had been blatant in her disapproval of the couple’s public embrace.  Her mistake was more of the “clearing of her throat to get their attention” kind.

Nevertheless, the damage had been done. It looked like she would be back to night shift at McDonald’s come Monday.

Padre


Secret Keepers Weekly Writing Challenge

(5) Words: | KIND | RUDE | FIT | EMBRACE | MISTAKE |

 

 

 

 

Advent: The Coming . . .

Advent is “the coming of a notable person or thing.” It is the expectation of something spectacular, and spectacularly the world is transformed. Lights, lights, and more lights mark the expectation. Quiet suburban streets are transfigured into something resembling a Tokyo business district, a world of incandescent glory.

But what is the great expectation for? Is Black Friday a term packed with more meaning than first meets the eye? Is it a season bereft of any spirit other than hype?

Yet, in our churches, the very place where the true “Light of the World” is proclaimed, a ring of four simple candles, one lit anew each week marks the coming of “a notable person,” one whose arrival was first marked by a single star.

Padre


 

Inspired by Weekly Prompts: Advent

Visage

images (2)

Visage

I stare at an image greater –

Than Homer’s “Rosy Fingered Dawn.”

A vast illumination –

The very face of God.

 

Was this the self-same scene –

That met the eyes of Saul,

On the fateful journey  –

On the road to becoming Paul?

 

Glorious shining visage –

A light beyond compare;

What should fill me with trepidation,

Instead removes my every care.

 

So, I’ll stare at the image greater –

Than Homer’s “Rosy Fingered Dawn.”

And hold in my heart forever  –

The very face of God.

 

Padre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Taylor (Tailor)

97191022-999f-467c-aaac-5c0d7b208826_570.Jpeg

Artwork: Ludwig Johann Passini

This is an adaptation of a poem I wrote some years ago to honour a really inspirational man I had known as a teenager.  Brother Dominic was a truly humble man with a heart for God.  In this rendering of the poem, I have used the name Mattheus rather than the original Dominic, as I have recently used that name Dominic in a short fiction piece.  This is not to diminish the debt I owe to the example of Dominic in my own spiritual development.

Dom Mattheus is his name,

T’is twenty years since first he came,

To live his life by the Rule,

A threaded needle as his tool.

 

Repairing habits, sewing seams,

With lines as strait as any machine,

Each stitch an act of divine devotion,

By a humble man who sought no promotion.

 

To pray and stitch, was his daily task,

The chance to serve was all he asked,

Small tasks unnoticed, seen by few,

But by Him above, it is He who knew.

Padre

 

 

Praise God All Nations

Psalm 117 is the shortest of the tehillim or praises. In the Christian Bible it is the shortest chapter, and centre most chapter in the scriptures. Despite its brevity, it is a powerful statement calling the entire world, and not just Israel, to praise the Creator.

In the NIV version it is worded, “Praise the Lord, all you nations; extol him, all you peoples. For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever Praise the Lord [Hallelujah].”

In two short verses, we are called to praise Him, and to recognise His love for us. It further emphasises his unwavering care and concern for us, even when we are less that perfect in our fidelity. To such a God praise should be unreserved. Hallelujah!

Padre

Easter – April 1st

He is risen! The day which remembers the pivotal event of history has come.  Jesus had been laid in the grave on the Friday, and His disciples were in hiding.  Many believed that Jesus had failed and that “It was all over.”

It is therefore interesting to note that this year, Easter (Resurrection Day) falls on what many see as “April Fools Day.”  Psalm 14:1 tells us “The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” This coupled with  (the oft misunderstood) Nietzsche statement that “God is dead,” shows that the psalmist knew the minds of men.  For, when Jesus was buried, evil believed it had triumphed, but evil were wrong.  He rose!  They that believed Jesus had failed were shown to be fools, and they who proclaim the death of God this April Fools Day, are just as erroneous.

Below are two of Carman’s pieces that speak to this theme of evil’s premature assumption of victory.

 

This ultimate victory of Jesus over evil, sin, and even the grave is what we celebrate today.

I remember when I was working in the Chaplains’ Corps, that one of the chaplains captured the despair of Good Friday, and the victory of Easter through a symbolic, and absolutely moving pair of services.  On Friday the congregation held candles as darkness descended in the evening. The scriptures relating to the crucifixion, death and burial were read.  After each reading a row would blow out their candles.  Darkness was symbolically falling on the worshipers.  In the end, only a single candle was left burning in the altar area. The congregation departed, and waited just outside the door (as the chapel had symbolically come to represent the tomb).  Just as the final candle was extinguished inside, the doors of the chapel were pulled shut, and symbolically sealed from the outside.

On Sunday morning, before dawn the congregation returned to the doors, and as daylight began to creep over the chapel, it was seen that the seal was broken.  The chaplain then joined the worshipers outside (the doors still closed), and pushed open the unlocked doors.  Inside the entire church was lit with dozens of candles.  Light was everywhere, He was risen, victory was won!

The tomb was not the end.  “Fools” proclaim it to be so. But Jesus (and the Father) are not dead, but reign forever.

Padre