Under the Grace

Green hills

Today I want to showcase two older songs I have on my playlist. The first, by Phil Keaggy I had to scour the Internet for. Phil is a world-renowned guitar player but in his early years he had a couple of albums where he sang. I went on a Phil Keaggy buying frenzy a few years back and bought about 5 of his guitar CDs…..what a tremendous talent.

The second is by Wayne Watson whose music I first had on cassette (so was Phil’s actually). His music and messages are timeless though. I hope you enjoy these lyrics and I encourage you to listen to the songs on the Internet. I have listened to them countless times when I feel like I’m grappling for answers and they always give me comfort. When you are homesick for Heaven and wishing you could make everything right.

Under the Grace

Phil Keaggy

I lie awake in the middle of the night again
I try to make some sense of it all rushing in
There’s so much I feel within this heart of mine
I well up inside and my eyes, they overflow
For I know it is grace.

The look of love in the shape of your face I have known
It speaks of this deep sacrifice you have shown
And the wonder of it all is I didn’t deserve this, I couldn’t have planned it so right
And so my eyes, they overflow, let it rain, let it pour, let it go
For I know this, yes, I know, it is grace.

And the hungry in heart seeks for its place and a home, mmm
But it may tear you apart when you see what this grace here has done
Fly, fly all you burdens, go fly away
It’s here I remain, under the grace, the grace.

It seems there’s so little time to make amends here
If not for you, well, then I’m without a friend here.

And the hungry in heart seeks for its place and a home
It may tear you apart when you see what this grace here has done
Fly, fly all you burdens, go fly away
It’s here I remain, under the grace, the grace.

I lie awake in the middle of the night again, again.

Home Free 

Wayne Watson
I’m trying hard not to think you unkind
But Heavenly Father
If you know my heart
Surely you can read my mind
Good people underneath the sea of grief
Some get up and walk away
Some will find ultimate relief

Home Free, eventually
At the ultimate healing we will be Home Free
Home Free, oh I’ve got a feeling
At the ultimate healing
We will be Home Free

Out in the corridors we pray for life
A mother for her baby, A husband for his wife
Sometimes the good die young
It’s sad but true
And while we pray for one more heartbeat
The real comfort is with you

You know pain has little mercy
And suffering’s no respecter of age, of race or position
I know every prayer gets answered
But the hardest one to pray is slow to come
Oh Lord, not mine, but Thy will be done

Let it be…

Home Free, eventually
At the ultimate healing gonna be Home Free
Home Free, oh its more than a feeling
At the ultimate healing
Gonna be Home Free

 

Between Earth and Heaven

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Sometimes, there is a slice taken out of time that lets you see just a little view. Something bigger than the here and now. This afternoon it was a song that rent the sky and let a sliver of light down right in the midst of my day. I was absently thinking why I don’t cry much anymore. It’s not really for lack of things to cry about because everyone I know is going through hard things. I guess it’s because there remain so many things to be thankful for……joy is much more rewarding than the sadness that seems to spring out from every corner these days. There are times to cry, but then you get up and go on. So this afternoon when I heard the lines of the song, it was as if I was hearing an old familiar tune from long ago. Or something I knew all along but needed to be reminded of. Or how I imagine it will be when my folks pass on and I hear a song they loved. That’s what brought the tears. And it wasn’t a bad feeling, it was just the Holy Spirit reminding me He was and is still here. That’s when I heard the words from the song “Shoulders” by For King and Country”

My help comes from You You’re right here, pulling me through You carry my weakness, my sickness, my brokenness all on Your shoulders Your shoulders My help comes from You You are my rest, my rescue I don’t have to see to believe that You’re lifting me up on Your shoulders Your shoulders……

Sometimes we just need to be reminded where our help comes from, even though we know it in our hearts and minds and everywhere in between. I felt such a burden right then for everyone I saw around me. As I wheeled my shopping cart down the aisles I saw people just living life picking out items, cereal, bananas, beer, anything and everything that makes their world go round. And as I smiled at the lady in front of me at checkout I noticed that she did smile but it was almost like it pained her. More like a grimace. I wondered what burdens she carried along with her to the store.

Enough ruminating. But the whole experience changed my afternoon and evening. It was touched with Merton, I guess you could say. He said this:

By reading the scriptures I am so renewed that all nature seems renewed around me and with me. The sky seems to be a pure, a cooler blue, the trees a deeper green. The whole world is charged with the glory of God and I feel fire and music under my feet.
Just when I had this all captured after I got home, I hit a key on WordPress and immediately my whole post disappeared. So I gave up and went outside to sit with the mourning doves out on the deck. One of them, we have been watching has made her nest on top of the block wall. We hope and pray they will be hatched before the infernal heat hits.
I sat as the gray clouds whirled around me and the mosquitoes came out. Tapping out my letters I heard the whirl of hummingbird wings and didn’t dare turn my head, but only my eyes. He went to each section, every side. I scarcely breathed sitting still as a stone. It was another slice of Heaven, a miracle unlooked-for.
A reward at the end of the day. That, is really what we have. Each and every day if we can only see it. And give thanks.

When confusion’s my companion And despair holds me for ransom I will feel no fear I know that You are near When I’m caught deep in the valley With chaos for my company I’ll find my comfort here ‘Cause I know that You are near

You mend what once was shattered And You turn my tears to laughter Your forgiveness is my fortress Oh Your mercy is relentless My help is from You Don’t have to see it to believe it My help is from you Don’t have to see it, ‘cause I know, ‘cause I know it’s true

“Shoulders”

for King and Country

Why Bach made me cry this morning

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I heard the announcement for the Brandenburg concerto before it came on and I was glad. I was on my way to work, with all the people I care about swirling around in my head. Some of my best talks with God are on the way to work. I see the Ford F-150 I see everyday and I pray for my brother because that’s what He drives. I pray for my Mom and Dad who despite their advancing years, have little down time for themselves and so I pray for them too.

And I was praying for Elaine too. Today she has to deal yet again with the director of the care home her Mom will hopefully be going into soon. The truth came out yesterday after he hemmed and hawed and he said, “Well, I don’t really agree with the caseworkers’ Level 1 assessment…..and I really don’t deal with her anyway, I have my own……and actually we get less money from the state for Level 1 care…..” Really.

“Unless,” he said, “the family is willing to contribute monetarily.” So it seems it’s mainly about the money not the care, and that’s disheartening. And when I think of how much stress she is under already, I don’t know why she should have to put up with this as well.

The first strains of music started playing and I wasn’t prepared for the tears when they came. Mascara liquefied as I tried to staunch the flow.  All of a sudden, I was 18 again. It was the fall after I had purchased my first stereo, bought with my own money. When I got a real job, it was the first thing on my list. It cost me either $179.00 or $79.00, the years and inflation have skewed my memory on that one.

It took up my whole closet with big tower speakers placed strategically apart on either side of the room.  My first classical music album was borrowed from the  public library. It was Vivaldi, but one of my first actual purchases was the Brandenburg concertos by Bach. That fall I listened to them over and over.

I would gaze out my bedroom window and watch the gold leaves fluttering in the wind as I  listened to that music fill the room and those moments solidified in my mind. Anytime I remember fall back then that’s what I think of.

Right along with cracking walnuts on the garage floor, Halloween, crackling fires, flannel shirts and coconut rolls from the bakery on the corner.

My Mom would tell me to turn it off because it made her nervous. The fast parts anyway. And the slow parts she said made her sad. I think that was what sparked the tears this morning, thinking of her.  And my tears fill all over again at my desk just now, because I love her and she is much too close to Heaven for my comfort level and so is my Dad.

And I just want to tell everyone I care about right now, how I wish everything could be easier and I wish I could make it that way for them. And just when I was feeling like one of those silly sentimental people who cry at the drop of a hat I looked across the street and the silly fountain on the corner seemed to be squirting right in time to the music.

It was a Grace moment.

I have learned that God does those things all the time. We just don’t notice all the time. But today I did. He always seems to find a way to make me smile, God does.

He quiets us with singing

 
Something we can all do....
 
I was asked the other day if I thought Jesus sang…….like did He ever walk down the road and break into song? I said I thought He probably did. The Bible says He sang songs of worship with His disciples, and He was filled with the Spirit so, yes I believe there were times when He spontaneously burst into song. And the Bible says He sings over us.  Just imagining that set my mind in motion. Can you imagine hearing Him sing, or laugh? Seeing His face light up with a smile?

I think sometimes it is hard for us to think of Jesus as fully human. But I love to imagine Jesus doing the simple things of life. Walking down the road with His friends, or maybe helping His Mom with a task around the house, sitting down to dinner with His family. It is hard for us, for me anyway, to imagine Him being silly or joking around. Did He tease His Mother? Pull a practical joke on His brothers or sisters? I like to think He did. He was after all, fully God but also fully man, and fully human. 

I like to imagine those simple times when He greeted His friends with a smile or put an arm around them while walking, lifting His face to Heaven while He prayed, or sang a song, swung a child around just to listen to them laugh.

I like this form of meditation, imagining Jesus and how it was….. I think that many times He probably felt very burdened when He looked out over the crowds, at the immensity of the need, the desperation. I think it made Him sad many times, when people just didn’t get the message, couldn’t grasp His love for them.

But I also think there were times when Jesus had to lighten the mood by cracking a joke.

 
The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17