Monday, February 28, 2011

Desert, 3.

5. Resolved, to sing to the LORD a new song, for My Help and My Deliverer drew me up from the desert pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a solid rock, making my steps sure; He put a new song in my mouth and He will surely always renew the song of the redeemed.

Desert, 2.

The North American Review, January 1834, remembers William Cowper's bouts of temporary insanity:
"Spent in heavy insensibility, ... he felt for himself a contempt not to be expressed or imagined ... he felt as if he had offended God so deeply that his guilt could never be forgiven... Madness was not far off, or rather madness was already come."
The article ultimately described not the poet's madness, but how God prevented Cowper--from destroying himself (Psalm 124).

It would hurt to get disciplined by this desert branch.
It would prob draw blood.
Photo taken in Arizona, February 2010.
Among William Cowper's first compositions after his first descent into despair was "There is a fountain,"  which celebrated that, and how, God could remove the stain of even the guiltiest sin.

there is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel’s veins.

and sinners plunged beneath that flood
lose all their guilty stains!
lose all their guilty stains!
lose all their guilty stains!
and sinners plunged beneath that flood
lose all their guilty stains!

Desert, 1.

My desert valley dried my bones and drove me to a spring.

In foolish desperate hopes that there even was a fountain,
I'd have settled for muddy water, or laudanum.

I'd have settled for water, but He poured out His blood.

There is a fountain.
Praise for the Fountain Opened

the dying thief rejoiced to see that fountain in his day.

and there have i, though vile as he,
washed all my sins away!
washed all my sins away!
washed all my sins away!
and there have I, though vile as he,
washed all my sins away!

Click to listen.  Aretha Franklin does it good.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Foundations, 3.

Stand firm and root deeply in the promises of God:

Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen and help thee, and cause thee to stand
Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.

When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of woe shall not thee overflow;
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

When through fiery trials thy pathways shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.

Because of who You are,
Because You loved me first,
all things (must) work for my good.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Foundations, 2.

How firm a foundation ye saints of the Lord
Lord the ground is shifting beneath me
Rugs, ashes, tile, asphalt
Crawl, tear, and tangle like stormy waves

is laid for your faith in his excellent Word
but Your Word o Lord stands forever
my heart is willing
Your directions feel far

What more can He say than to you He has said?
hide me in all that cannot be sifted or shaken
that I might hear
the deafening still silence of Your Godness

to you who for refuge to Jesus has fled
that I might fear You
sleep soundly in You tonight
love You into tomorrow
every day
until the day
and every day

Friday, February 25, 2011

Foundations, 1.

a church cannot be built on a rug.
you know, the one we hide the inconvenient messy truth under.
a rug is not a firm foundation.

to members of the household,
to all who gander at stagnation and stunted potential,
like a band-aid for a gaping wound
was the unbearable filth hastily swept beneath a rug
to those who preferred the silence of the lamb
and that the dog would sleep
who let lies stifle the terrible swift sword--
that immortal, double-edged sword.

a church cannot be built on a rug
the casualties obscure the cost
of Christ Jesus himself

the cornerstone in whom
the whole (non mortar & brick)
structure being joined together
into a ἅγιος temple in the LORD.

anyone who hears these words
and does not do them,
foolish man.

for the fear of the LORD--
is the foundation of wisdom.
see.  fear.  return.

*holy, venerating, reverent, sacred,
not to be profaned
from Greek ἄγος:
an awful thing.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Let us not reckon without our Host.

In each of my friends there is something
that only some other friend can fully bring out.
By myself I am not large enough
to call the whole man into activity;
Congrats Norman and Steph!
I want other lights than my own to show all his facets...
Hence true Friendship is the least jealous of loves.
Two friends delight to be joined by a third, and three by a fourth,
if only the newcomer is qualified to become a real friend...
Of course the scarcity of kindred souls--
not to mention practical considerations about the size of rooms...
set limits to the enlargement of the circle;
but within those limits we possess each friend not less but more
as the number of those with whom we share him increases.

In this, Friendship exhibits a glorious "nearness by resemblance"
to Heaven itself where the very multitude of the blessed
(which no man can number) increases the fruition which each has of God.
For every soul, seeing Him in her own way,
doubtless communicates that unique vision to all the rest.
That, says an old author, is why the Seraphim in Isaiah's vision
are crying "Holy, Holy, Holy" to one another (Isaiah VI, 3).
The more we share the Heavenly Bread between us,
the more we shall all have...
robot twin Friend!!
The Friendship is not a reward for our discrimination
and good taste in finding one another out.
It is the instrument by which God reveals to each the beauties of all the others...
Like all beauties, derived from Him, and then, in a good Friendship,
increased by Him through the Friendship itself,
so that it is His instrument for creating as well as for revealing.
At this feast it is He who has spread the board
and it is He who has chosen the guests.

// C.S. Lewis, "Friendship," The Four Loves.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I took the stars from our eyes

and then I made a map, and I knew that somehow I could find my way back. then I heard your heart beating, you were in the darkness, too. so I stayed in the darkness with you. // florence & the machine.

I got off the phone.

And fell apart. Thought it wouldn't have been fair or efficient to let you know how I loved you. How devastating and terrifying this step was... So I just kept telling myself to be brave a little while longer. But how much longer? Sang "Think of Me" from Phantom through the tears until I sank into sleep. Will you stay true and kind? Will you stay at all? Will you remember? You have a big heart. I know it. I lived there like it was a mansion. But I need to go for now so I can return. Will you watch on the road for me? Will you open the door for me?

Even if he should leave, You will stay. If he turns me out, if he forgets, still You are mindful.

Jesus, be True North. I can't get where I need to be without You. I can't let him go without You. I can't get Home without You. I can't be without You. I don't know how long the road will be. You must light my way and lead me as I go... Lamp unto my feet. Courage. A day at a time. Always with You. Shepherd my heart. Steward my pain.

Grant Your peace for the days of testing, Lamb of our Lenten wanderings.

Til I only dwell in Thee.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Behold the Man, 3.

I protested.

It's the trick of the serpent,

One of the fundamental diseases
of the relationship between man and woman--

The Genesis 3 problem.

Blame is not responsibility.

That is why, Esther, as a woman, one way to die to yourself
is to receive the man's death.

While I was yet protesting,
Christ loved and gave himself up for me.

Behold the Man, 2.

As we crossed the green bridge from Kuramae exit A7 back to Asakusa,
he broke the comfortable winter silence:

You know, if you ever got too sad &
decided to jump off this bridge
I'd go in after you and try
and swim you to safety.

You can't see it from here,
but there's a ladder there out of the water.
I saw it the other day as I was thinking about this,
crossing the bridge with you.

Wow, jeez.
-- what morbid chivalry --
-- do i look like a dying, distressed damsel? --
You sure think about this kind of thing a lot.

I have to.  
It's the gospel.

That the man should die for the woman if--
Well, it's not even a matter of if.
When. When it came to--

-- well aren't you sexist --
I'm not sure that's a gospel I've ever received.

I know.
That's why I need to tell you.
It's good for you to hear.

That's why I sit facing the door,
so if anyone came through it...
That's why I try to make sure that
and ask in every way if
you're okay.
If your ears are warm,
how's your cough,
your toenail,
you hungry?

Well then... aren't we all called?
To lay down our lives, one for the other?

Yes, in different ways.

Women through... childbirth?
--Seriously. Who do you think you are.--

He laughed.
Sure, I guess that's one way.

Behold the Man, 1.

As we waited for the JR from Akihabara to Ryogoku,
he broke the comfortable winter silence:

You know,
if you were to fall between the tracks,
I would try to save you.

And if I couldn't get you out of the way in time before the train came
I would try to stick you in that space between the tracks and hope
that the space above you would be enough clearance.

And if not, I would fling myself over your body,
so that when the train came, it would slice through me
and hopefully spare you.

Really? Hmm... umm...
That's very... sacrificial.


i was taken aback. confused.
a bit annoyed, actually. offended.
how condescending. how paternalistic.
how marvelous! how wonderful!
what was he trying to prove?
his manhood?
my guilt?

behold the Man upon a cross
my sin upon his shoulders
ashamed i hear my mocking voice
call out among the scoffers

Monday, February 14, 2011

Love of a jealous kind, 8.

7 6 5 4 3 2 1

The Spirit follows us unwaveringly through all.
He is not driven away because we are sinners. He comes to us because, being sinners, we need Him.
He is not cast off because we reject His loving offices. He abides with us because our rejection of Him would leave us helpless...
When He sees us immersed in sin and rushing headlong to destruction, He does not turn from us, He yearns for us with jealous envy.
It is in the hands of such love that we have fallen.
And it is because we have fallen into the hands of such love that we have before us a future of eternal hope.
When we lose hope in ourselves, when the present becomes dark and the future black before us, when effort after effort has issued only in disheartening failure, and our sin looms big before our despairing eyes; when our hearts hate and despise themselves, and we remember that God is greater than our hearts and cannot abide the least iniquity; the Spirit whom He has sent to bring us to Him still labors with us, not in indifference or hatred, but in pitying love.
Yea, His love burns all the stronger because we so deeply need His help: He is yearning after us with jealous envy.
From B.B. Warfield as quoted by Justin Taylor.