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It's Lent

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Okay...this may not be the normal music you would expect .  But, this video just makes me smile.  The energy and passion of Rodrigo y Gabriela leaps from my computer screen capturing my heart.  Maybe part of this is that I wish I could play the guitar like this.  Okay, I just wish I could play the guitar.  Sometimes music communicates so much without words. 

This music takes me on a journey.  A journey from excitement to silent, still moments.  As we come up on Palm Sunday next weekend, I hear in this the truth of Gospel.  I can hear the crowds who have gathered to welcome Jesus singing and shouting, "Hosanna."  I hear the intimate quiet of the Last Supper.  The powerful passion of Good/God's Friday.  Then, the triumphant joy of Easter morning.  If Holy Week could be captured in one piece of music, this might be a good example.

What do you hear in this?
What do you experience in watching the video?
Where does it stir your soul or awaken questions?

I encourage you to lis…

It's Lent

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There is something about music on a piano that is particularly meaningful to me.  Perhaps there is that wish that I had learned to play the piano.  Perhaps it is the sound that stirs within me.  Perhaps it is just the way I was made.

Today, I won't offer you a lot of words...just a piece by Phillip Wesley and a beautiful video.

I pray you find a trace of God's grace in this.

Blessings ~~

It's Lent

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In the midst of the day-to-day life, music helps to ground and guide me.  What I listen to shapes me.  What we hear impacts and influences each of us.

Music causes the neurons in our brain to spark and surge.  I feel that when I put on music to go for a run that has a good bass and beat.  I feel that when I listen to something that causes a smile to cross my face.  I feel that when a gathering of notes causes the stress in my shoulders to suddenly evaporate.

One piece of music that calm me is "I need thee every hour". 

Those five words might be the most basic prayer ever prayed.  I need God's presence every hour (actually every minute).  I need God's strength to surround me...to enfold me and hold me.  It isn't just some nicety, God's presence is a necessity.  Yet, I can find myself getting so caught up in my to-dos that I miss moments of connecting with the One who activates and animates my life.  To be sure, I sense God's presence is always there...it …

It's Lent...

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There are moments when we all have a meh day. 

Not the WORST!  DAY!!  EVER!!!

Not the Great day in the whole history of my life...no wait...the whole of human history.

Just a day when your soul feels like it is wearing your father's suit coat or the time you tried on your mom's high heels and fell flat on your backside.

A day when something is off...and if you could identify what it was maybe you could do something about it...but the something is elusive and evasive.  The "something" keeps fluttering around like it is playing a game with you.  The "something" is like a housefly buzzing around.  You swat at it.  You try to ignore it...but it keeps whooshing past your ear.  So, you decide the only logical thing to do is to sell your house that way the fly will bother someone else!  (I am totally kidding, but there are days the thought has crossed my mind).

It is on those days when my soul is restless that music is soothing and settling.

There are many, many …

It's Lent

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One last time...let these words sing and settle and sink deep into your soul.
Let these words hold you close to God's presence.
Let these words invite you into a deeper sense of who and whose you are.

Please pray with me...

Still speaking, singing, swirling, and softly stirring God...thank you.
Thank you for ways You move in our midst.
From the first moments the sun peaks, peers over the horizon...
To the night time when we lay our heads down from a day filled with experience and encounters.
You are woven into our lives.

Thank you for this moment right now.
Here.
For the ways You saturate and soak right where we are as we read these words.

We do lay everything into Your hands.
We lay our thanksgivings for friends, family, moments of laughter, silent joys, and peaceful reassurances.
We lay the brokenness...the sharp shards of the shadow...and the comforts of sameness even when it hurts and harms us.
We lay the words we spoke that made a different.
We lay the words we said that we …

It's Lent

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Listen again for one new word or phrase or part of this piece of beautiful music that moves your heart today.


I want to dive and dwell in the refrain of "You Say" that goes:

The only thing that matters now is everything You think of me
In You I find my worth, in You I find my identity, 
You say I am loved when I can't feel a thing
You say I am strong when I think I am weak
And You say I am held when I am falling short
When I don't belong, oh You say that I am Yours
And I believe (I), oh I believe (I)
What You say of me (I)
Oh, I believe

To find our identity in God's grace is a life-long; day-by-day part of faith.  Faith not as intellectual assent or affirmation; faith as the daily practice of seeking out meaning and living out of the truest part of ourselves (you are a beloved child of God).  Daigle gives voice to that shadow side of ourselves that wants to say we are weak...falling short...alone...isolated...broken.

Unfortunately, the history of the church is that we di…

It's Lent

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This week we will focus on a more contemporary piece of music.  The video above has both the song and words together.  I invite you to breathe in slowly and exhale.  Center your hearts.  Listen to this piece of music as if God is singing these words to you.



For me, the heart of Lent is being honest about who we are.  I find Lauren Daigle's words profoundly powerful.  She sings:
I keep fighting voices in my mind that say I'm not enough
Every single lie that tells me I will never measure up
Am I more than just the sum of every high and every low?
Remind me once again just who I am, because I need to know 
You say I am loved when I can't feel a thing
You say I am strong when I think I am weak
You say I am held when I am falling short
When I don't belong, oh You say that I am Yours
And I believe (I), oh I believe (I)
What You say of me (I)
I believe

First, how many of us relate to the voices that clamor within us that say we don't measure up?  We look in the mirror and we see th…

It's Lent

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Listen again and afresh...
Listen with a wide open heart to uncover one word, one phrase that has been lurking hidden the whole time this past week.
Listen with imagination to see in your mind's eye these words come to life...

Now read these words with YOUR voice enlivening and embodying them.


Your great mistake is to act the drama
as if you were alone. As if life
were a progressive and cunning crime
with no witness to the tiny hidden
transgressions. To feel abandoned is to deny
the intimacy of your surroundings. Surely,
even you, at times, have felt the grand array;
the swelling presence, and the chorus, crowding
out your solo voice. You must note
the way the soap dish enables you,
or the window latch grants you freedom.
Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity.
The stairs are your mentor of things
to come, the doors have always been there
to frighten you and invite you,
and the tiny speaker in the phone
is your dream-ladder to divinity.
Put down the weight of your alon…

It's Lent

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The great thing about poetry is that you can return to a poem time and time again, each time it will shift or something in you has shifted...or the way a word suddenly appears although it was always there. 

Listen again...anew...afresh to David Whyte read his poem...letting the melody of his sing-song voice minister to you.

Lend your voice again by reading aloud David Whyte's words:

Your great mistake is to act the drama
as if you were alone. As if life
were a progressive and cunning crime
with no witness to the tiny hidden
transgressions. To feel abandoned is to deny
the intimacy of your surroundings. Surely,
even you, at times, have felt the grand array;
the swelling presence, and the chorus, crowding
out your solo voice. You must note
the way the soap dish enables you,
or the window latch grants you freedom.
Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity.
The stairs are your mentor of things
to come, the doors have always been there
to frighten you and invite you,
and the t…

It's Lent

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Sometimes hymns come in other ways than with the melody of music.  If we take the definition of hymns that, "To sing is to pray twice," (often attributed to St. Augustine), then for me there are other ways to enter the song of God's presence.  Poetry is one such invitation.  David Whyte's voice is as melodic and hauntingly beautiful as some of my favorite church hymns.  Listen to Whyte read his poem by clicking the video above.

Sit with it.

Now lend your voice by reading the words aloud:

Your great mistake is to act the drama
as if you were alone. As if life
were a progressive and cunning crime
with no witness to the tiny hidden
transgressions. To feel abandoned is to deny
the intimacy of your surroundings. Surely,
even you, at times, have felt the grand array;
the swelling presence, and the chorus, crowding
out your solo voice. You must note
the way the soap dish enables you,
or the window latch grants you freedom.
Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity.

It's Lent

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Save us from weak resignation to the evils we deplore; let the gift of your salvation be our glory evermore. Grant us wisdom, grant us courage, serving you whom we adore, serving you whom we adore.
There is one part of the rhythm, refrain of this hymn that deserves special attention: Grant us wisdom,grant us courage.
Those six words are a profound and powerful prayer.  Grant us a wisdom, deeper than what humans currently have.  Grant us courage to realize/recognize we don't know everything. Grant me wisdom to not be such a bonehead today, and the courage to live the ethic of Jesus' love.  Grant me wisdom to see clearly, speak plainly, and then listen patiently.  Grant this, O God, because I need a strength that is bigger and bolder than my own.
Where do you need wisdom right now?
Is there a decision you are facing? Is there a problem that sits uneasy in your mind waking you up at 3 a.m. to chat? Is there a tension on your shoulders or stress in the pit of your stomach? Where i…

It's Lent

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Cure your children's warring madness; bend our pride to your control; shame our wanton, selfish gladness, rich in things and poor in soul. Grant us wisdom, grant us courage, lest we miss your kingdom's goal, lest we miss your kingdom's goal.
Just when you thought it was safe to return to this blog...
Just when you thought, "Oh Wes will totally post something more uplifting this time."
Just when you thought, "Lent is about as exciting as a root canal."
We get this verse.
Which is good because we cannot think that one day of naming our wounds/wants/where it hurts and everything will be magically better.
I don't know about you, but my shadow side does not, "go gently into that good night."  My shadow side really likes its power and position.  My shadow side keeps finding evidence to divide the world into people like me and those people.  My shadow side keeps interrupting and disrupting the ways I long to live the love ethic of Christ. 
I app…

It's Lent

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We continue to let the melody, music of hymns guide us this Lent.  Lean in and listen to the second verse of "God of Grace and God of Glory":

Lo! the hosts of evil round us scorn the Christ, assail his ways! From the fears that long have bound us free our hearts to faith and praise. Grant us wisdom, grant us courage for the living of these days, for the living of these days.
So, I get it if your first response to this verse is, "Gee, thanks for that, Eeyore. Next you are going to tell me how using my cell phone can cause cancer.  I get that watching cat videos on YouTube is way more enjoyable way to spend your time.
Yet, in the world we inhabit, rather than being cynical and sarcastic...perhaps we could be more confessional.  Rather than shrugging our shoulders and staying silent on the sidelines, could we all start by saying that we don't get it right.  I don't have all the answers.  There are evils around us and within us.  Evils that cause me to lose my temp…