Sunday, March 25, 2012

Good Vibrations

I was having a hard time with the Sunday lectionary readings as I sat with them last night.  I think my mind was too stuffed with working on a friend's project, processing through the roller coaster I have been riding this week with the whole Episcomeltdown on the Pride interfaith service, and then the relief and the excitement that came from the defeat of the Anglican Covenant.  That, at least, left me with hope that reason can still prevail in the church every so often.  At any rate, all the distractions made it impossible for me to pull together something coherent on the readings.  Let's see what I can come up with now! :)

At the end of the service this morning, the organist began her Voluntary.  It was "From deepest woe I cry to Thee," BWV 686 by J.S. Bach.   I was in a pew toward the back of the church looking up at the enormous pipes of our organ.  The sound of the piece was stirring within me.  I felt connected to the vibrations of the notes and found myself humming quietly along as she played.   It was gorgeous.   And it seemed so expressive of where my heart, mind and soul had been for a good deal of the service: in deepest woe.

To say that the past week was a hard week would be a gross understatement.  The angst stirred up over an interfaith service for the LGBT community was leaving me with doubts again about where I fit in to my Episcopal community.  Coming into church this Sunday made me realize how much what I needed from the service had very little to do with the people who call themselves Christian or Episcopalian even.  It has everything to do with this tango that I am in with God and the dance music hasn't stopped yet.  My lead won't let me retreat from the dance floor and we will do these steps... even if it means that I have to do them backwards and in high heels!

What Wond'rous Love is This isn't exactly an Argentinian song, but it's lyrics are among my most favorite in the hymnal:

What won'drous love is this
O my soul, o my soul
What wond'rous love is this
O my soul, o my soul
What wond'rous love is this
That caused the Lord of bliss
To lay aside his crown
for my soul, for my soul
To lay aside his crown
for my soul, for my soul.

To God and to the Lamb I will sing, I will sing;
To God and to the Lamb I will sing;
To God and to the Lamb,
Who is the great I AM,
While millions join the theme, I will sing, I will sing,
While millions join the theme, I will sing.

And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on;
And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on.
And when from death I’m free
I’ll sing His love for me,
And through eternity I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on,
And through eternity I’ll sing on.

I have this song chosen as among the collection that is to be sung at my funeral.  And that was an interesting thought to have in mind as I sang and prepared my ears and heart for what I heard in the Gospel of John. 

"The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.  Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.  Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.  Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also.  Whoever serves me, the Father will honor." --John 12:23-26

I seem to be reminded constantly during this Lent that I am called to follow Christ, and in doing so, I must die.  This death is not an actual, physical death.  Instead, it is dying to ways in which I have previously used to identify myself that are no longer accurate for who I am and who I am becoming in Christ.  Exactly what must die now, I am not entirely sure.  And what will be birthed out of this?  Well, I am even less sure of that.  But part of having to trust the one leading me in this dance is to believe that my lead won't trip me as I am trying to move in time with this music.  I don't know all the steps to the dance, but at least I am getting a sense of the rhythm.   It reverberates in me the same way the notes of the music in the church were doing today.

Dying to old habits or ways of living that are not useful can sometimes feel like pulling a splinter out of your thumb.  It stings initially, but the ultimate result is that your thumb isn't irritated and sensitive any more and you can use your thumb again.  But there has to be a willingness and a recognition that the splinter needs to come out.  Sometimes that's half the battle.

As I keep up with my dance partner, I am thinking what else may need to go in order for me to be the dancer I need to be.  How about you?  

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