Listening to Easter: UP!

Hear the bells ringing
They’re singing that you can be born again
Hear the bells ringing
They’re singing Christ is risen from the dead

The angel up on the tombstone
Said He has risen, just as He said
Quickly now, go tell his disciples
That Jesus Christ is no longer dead

Joy to the world, He has risen, hallelujah
He’s risen, hallelujah
He’s risen, hallelujah

Hear the bells ringing
They’re singing that you can be healed right now
Hear the bells ringing, they’re singing
Christ, He will reveal it now

The angels, they all surround us
And they are ministering Jesus’ power
Quickly now, reach out and receive it
For this could be your glorious hour

Joy to the world, He has risen, hallelujah
He’s risen, hallelujah
He’s risen, hallelujah, hallelujah

The angel up on the tombstone
Said He has risen, just as He said
Quickly now, go tell his disciples
That Jesus Christ is no longer dead

Joy to the world, He has risen, hallelujah
He’s risen, hallelujah
He’s risen, hallelujah
Hallelujah
~Keith Green

 

“Let Him easter in us, be a dayspring to the dimness of us, be a crimson-cresseted east.”
― Gerard Manley Hopkins

Too often, the bright light of Easter morning dims over time
as we return to our daily routines.
In mere days,
the humdrum replaces the extraordinary,
tragedy overcomes festivity,
darkness overwhelms dawn.

The world encourages this,
we don’t muster enough resistance.
we climb right back into the tomb of our sin,
move the huge stone securely back in place,
and lie there waiting for rot to settle in.

We are not alone. We have plenty of company with us behind the stone.

The stone is pushed aside,
the burden shouldered,
the debt completely paid.

How can we allow the light to dim?

He is risen.

We are eastered beyond imagining.

 

Listening Through Lent: We Stand Forgiven

Oh, to see the dawn
Of the darkest day:
Christ on the road to Calvary.
Tried by sinful men,
Torn and beaten, then
Nailed to a cross of wood.
(Refrain)
This the power of the cross:
Christ became sin for us;
Took the blame, bore the wrath–
We stand forgiven at the cross.
Oh, to see the pain
Written on Your face, 
Bearing the awesome weight of sin.
Every bitter thought,
Every evil deed
Crowning Your bloodstained brow.
Now the daylight flees;
Now the ground beneath
Quakes as its Maker bows His head.
Curtain torn in two, 
Dead are raised to life;
“Finished!” the victory cry.
Oh, to see my name
Written in the wounds,
For through Your suffering I am free.
Death is crushed to death;
Life is mine to live,
Won through Your selfless love.
(Final Refrain)
This, the power of the cross:
Son of God–slain for us.
What a love! What a cost!
We stand forgiven at the cross.
~Keith Getty and Stuart Townend “The Power of the Cross”
I love pictures.  This hymn is full of poignant pictures.  And the music Keith Getty and Stuart Townend have written for the words add great power to these already powerful words.
Good Friday.
“It is finished!”
Hear the dying Savior cry,
the voice of love and mercy sounds aloud from Calvary.
Son of God–slain for us.
What a love! What a cost!
We stand forgiven at the cross.
Is there any better news than that?
~Barbara Hoelle

Listening Through Lent: I Will Bring You Home

Though you are homeless
Though you’re alone
I will be your home
Whatever’s the matter
Whatever’s been done
I will be your home
I will be your home
I will be your home
In this fearful fallen place
I will be your home
When time reaches fullness
When I move my hand
I will bring you home
Home to your own place
In a beautiful land
I will bring you home
I will bring you home
I will bring you home
From this fearful fallen place
I will bring you home
I will bring you home
~Michael Card

This song, sung each year at our Chapel’s Tenebrae service,
is a message long awaited
through the bright darkness of Lent
and the midnight of Good Friday.
It is Christ’s message to each of us:
when we ask to be remembered,
when we truly and wholly ask for forgiveness
for whatever is the matter,
for whatever we have done,we find our only hope and comfort is in Him.
He brings us home.
Home.
Homeless no longer, but homeful and hopeful.

 

Listening Through Lent: Like Fruit on the Vine

The cup and the loaf
You beckon me close
to commune
Like fruit on the vine
crushed into wine
You were bruised
Broken and torn
crowned with scorn
Poured out for all

Chorus:
All my sin
All my shame
All my secrets
All my chains
Lamb of God
Great is your love
Your blood covers it all

I taste and I drink
You satisfy me
With your love
Your goodness flows down
and waters dry ground
like a flood
Let mercy rain
Saving grace
Poured out for all

My sin, not in part
You cover it all,
You cover it all
Not in part,
But the whole
You cover it all,
You cover it all
It’s nailed to the cross.
You cover it all
You cover it all
And I bear it no more
You cover it all.
~Allie LaPointe and David Moffitt

On this Maundy Thursday
we are called to draw near Him,
to gather together among the
hungry and thirsty
to the Supper He has prepared.
He washes the dirt off our feet;
we look away, mortified.
He serves us from Himself;
we fret about whether
we are worthy.
We are not.

Starving and parched,
grimy and weary,
hardly presentable
to be guests at His table,
we made worthy only because
He has made us so.

 

Listening Through Lent: Even for Us

Crucifixus etiam pro nobis.
Sub Pontio Pilato, passus et se pultus est.
(He was crucified even for us, under Pontius Pilate:
he suffered and was buried.)

 

Even for us, He rode into the city under palms and a cloud
Even for us, He wept and sorrowed
Even for us, He overturns the tables of the greedy
Even for us, He teaches and prepares
Even for us, He kneels and washes
Even for us, He breaks bread
Even for us, He sweats blood
Even for us, He receives a kiss
Even for us, He suffers
Even for us, He dies and is buried
Even for us, He rises and calls our name.

Even for us, such as we are, who we are, what we are to be,
He has come and will again.

 

 

 

Listening Through Lent: Be Our Vision

Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that thou art—
Thou my best thought, by day or by night;
Waking or sleeping, thy presence my light.

Be thou my wisdom, and thou my true word;
I ever with thee and thou with me, Lord.
Thou my great Father; thine own may I be,
thou in me dwelling and I one with thee.

Riches I heed not, nor vain, empty praise;
thou mine inheritance, now and always;
thou and thou only first in my heart,
high King of heaven, my treasure thou art.

High King of heaven, my victory won,
may I reach heaven’s joys, O bright heaven’s sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
still be my vision, O Ruler of all.

This past semester I took a Marketing class. I was particularly struck by how often the conversation revolved around “getting into people’s ears and eyes and mouths and minds.” Companies want us to see their logos everywhere, to have their jingles stuck in our heads, to gravitate towards their brands when we go looking for a product. These companies are actively competing for our attention and trying to direct our desires, and more often than not, it works.

I think that God equally desires to get into people’s ears and eyes and mouths and minds, but God doesn’t use the tactics of flashy billboards or neon signs or pithy taglines. He’s not in the business of using skywriting to capture our attention, but rather quietly knocks at the door of our hearts and waits for us to open ourselves to Him. In all of the ways that American marketing is manipulative and intrusive, God’s truth is simple and patient. God persistently pursues us and is never far off, but we cannot see Him or hear Him until we choose to see and listen. The fact that God goes about pursuing us in a completely different way doesn’t mean that God desires our attention any less. God wants us to see his fingerprints in every detail of our lives, he wants us to have the psalms stuck in our minds, he wants us to gravitate towards prayer with every decision.

May the Lord be our vision. May we choose to turn towards Him, may we choose to desire Him above all, and may everything else fade into the background of His goodness and glory.
~Hilary Gibson