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Sunday, December 28, 2008

It is Well with my Soul

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Refrain

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

Refrain

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

Refrain

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

Refrain

But, Lord, ‘tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh trump of the angel! Oh voice of the Lord!
Blessèd hope, blessèd rest of my soul!

Refrain

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

words from http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/i/t/i/itiswell.htm

Recently as I was snooping around on Amazon.com looking for good hymns I found an album by the Celebration Choir of England. If you like old hymns with good choirs, check it out. There was one song in particular that caught my attention, the one I posted the words to above.

Many of you are familiar with the story of how the author of the words lost his children at sea, and when he passed by that spot later he wrote the hymn. Truly, most of us have not suffered anywhere near that level. May we all be well if that day comes for us.

There were two verses to the hymn that I wasn't familiar with.

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

This verse captures what it means to be a Christian - to live or die, we live and die to Jesus. We place our confidence in him.

But, Lord, ‘tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh trump of the angel! Oh voice of the Lord!
Blessèd hope, blessèd rest of my soul!

Unlike some, we have a hope. Unlike those who place their hope in this life, our fate does not end when our eyes close for the last time. We wait for Jesus to come and claim us. The grave will claim us all, but the grave is not our ultimate fate.


amen and amen!!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Spiritual Coldness

This is a season for beautiful music. Some of the most beautiful music ever composed was written for this season. This morning our church had our annual musical presentation for Christmas. The closing piece was the "Hallelujah Chorus."

I am reminded of a time about thirty years when I was in college and I slid into a spiritual depression, a real cold time, one of the worst of my life. I couldn't shake it. I don't remember everything that I did, but nothing changed.

It was early December, and I attended a full choir, organ, and orchestra concert of Messiah. The beauty of the words and the music had been with me for years, but that year the music and the words broke the coldness and brought my heart back to warmth.

Enjoy the beauty of the music this Christmas season. God gave it to us to enjoy and to warm our hearts. Set aside the time to listen to all of Messiah. The music and the words will revive your hearts and I hope bring you to a greater love and appreciation of our Lord.

Monday, December 15, 2008

O come, All ye faithful

God is not ashamed of human flesh

1. O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye, to Bethlehem.
Come and behold Him, born the King of angels;

Refrain

O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

2. True God of true God, Light from Light Eternal,
Lo, He shuns not the Virgin’s womb;
Son of the Father, begotten, not created;

3. Sing, choirs of angels, sing in exultation;
O sing, all ye citizens of heaven above!
Glory to God, all glory in the highest;

4. Yea, Lord, we greet Thee, born this happy morning;
Jesus, to Thee be all glory given;
Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing.
(words from http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/o/c/ocomeayf.htm)

Thoughts:
Verse 2 recently struck me. The first line celebrates the divinity of our Lord. The second line celebrates the humanity, and the third the relationship of the second person to the first person of the Trinity. The line in verse 2 of interest to me is this: "Lo, He shuns not the Virgin’s womb."

We live in an age where women are routinely valued (?) for their bodies - for their sexual appeal and reproductive parts or they are denigrated for their bodies and reproductive parts. Rarely are women in general in our society valued and honored for their unique ability to give of their bodies to produce a new generation - our gift to the future. Yet God himself is not embarrassed to develop inside a woman's reproductive organs and be delivered through her birth canal with the fluids, pain, hope, fears, and joy that comes with birth.

God has honored women forever by choosing to develop and be born in and through one.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Fixing things

Yesterday I visited the library and was struck the number of magazines that had in their titles something about "fixing". How do we fix the schools, the economy, the world were some of the topics covered?

To me "fix" means to set right with no or few problems. However, I would argue that many (most?) of the things that are wrong in the world are so complicated and/or so messed up that there is no way that we can "fix" them. Instead, I believe, we should set our eyes on how we can "improve" or "manage" these problems and learn to live with them. Perhaps we should be satisfied with improvement over fixing. The best is often the enemy of the good. We often don't know what the "fix" would be in any case, but we often have an idea about how to "improve" the situation.

So, perhaps we should set our eyes on improving what we can and managing what we can and not be deadlocked by aiming for what we may not be able to achieve - fixing the problems, whatever they are. For those of us who follow Jesus Christ there is no permanent "fix" this side of the Second Coming and the Resurrection. At best we can but "improve" and "manage" the problems and situations in life.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

First posting

Here's my first post. I plan on posting some thoughts here in the future. Topics will include genealogy, theology, politics, economics, current events and anything else that might grab my interest.