Tag Archives: sara groves

it begins with a baby God

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I remember well sitting on the long and curved wooden benches that creak with every move at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville several years ago. I was frantically scribbling lyrics of a song, the chorus ringing in my ears and head and heart for weeks to come. The phrases I remembered out of order I now know, of course, were these:

It’s true, kingdoms and crowns
a God who comes down to find us
and angels sing through the night
Hallelujah.
It’s true.

I’ve later memorized the lyrics from the album which later was released by Sara Groves. But I notice every Year that the album has become a part of my Christmas rhythm.

A few days ago, on a  couple-hour drive back from training, I found myself with blurry vision singing loud and raspy with teary eyes and a heavy heart. Don’t act like you’ve never done it. A lyric from the song I didn’t scribble down that night has come to bear much weight for me and all I find myself working on and with and through toward God’s kingdom come on earth as in heaven.

Heard it told, you think it’s odd
The whole thing fraught with complication
The play begins with a baby God
And all his blessed implications

I find myself in board meetings and counseling sessions, in conference rooms and churches, in arguments and gripe sessions, at parties and dinners,  I find myself noticing over and over again in multiple contexts that in following suit with the prayers we are bold to pray, Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven, we are more often than not called to play the game by wholly other, ridiculous rules.

Let’s address systemic sin, injustice, oppression, blindness and heartbrokenness with a baby God.
Let’s address self-centered, self-righteous, power-mongering and king-complexes with humility.
Let’s address loneliness, addiction, anger, despondency and bitterness with unconditional acceptance.
Let’s address greed, materialism, xenophobia, racism and ignorance with generosity, hospitality and forgiveness.

It’s makes no sense.
It feels all wrong.
It sounds as good a plan as the whole story beginning with a baby God.
And yet, when we hold our breath and close our eyes and take our steps
in wholly other and wholly odd directions with wholly other rules
kingdom comes, just like it crashed in
when the play boldly began with a baby God.

It’s true.

djordan
Pine Tree

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a promise to wait

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there is a  love that never fails
there is a healing that always prevails
there is a hope that whispers a vow
a promise to wait
while we’re working it out
so come with your love
and wash over us
make us whole.

– sara groves

I’m reminded of the inherent power
in waiting
beyond our anger
beyond our grief
beyond our excitement
beyond our joy
beyond our anticipation
about the way things could be
or about the way things should be
or about the way things might be

Holding onto the hope of
what it means
to wait it out
to work it out
to watch as the waiting and the working
redeems anger and grief and even excitement and joy and anticipation
to push us into
something truer.

something that takes waiting on.
give us the strength to make the promise.

djordan
Pine Tree

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pain is no measure of his faithfulness

Reflecting one year later on a great deal of change and uncertainty, loss and newness, anger and sadness, knowing and knowing nothing, I’m reminded by a friend tonight of the words below. On the eve of the homicide-loss support group beginning again, and the ways we try to hold the pain of great loss and injury saying both that it should not have been this way and yet somehow hoping God is still faithful, I’m reminded of these words. When I curl up on a couch with a neighbor and hear of wrestling with family and wrestling with heartache and wrestling with what we thought would be versus what actually is, and then wrestling with how to look a neighbor in the face and tell the truth about it all–– and ultimately how we try to make sense of God in it all––I’m reminded of these words.

And more than anything, I’m reminded that I need not push so hard to try to force something meaningless to make sense; to try to force something heartbreaking to be lovely; to try to force a fix on anything that is broken. I can, however, say that the heartache and loss and grieving and wrenching and uncertainty are no measure of his faithfulness. And so we fight not to make sense of it, not to make it prettier or easier to share over a game of bridge or a glass of wine, not to make it a lesson for Sunday School class that ties nicely into felt and boards. Instead, we fight only to manage to open our hands, and open our hearts, and do our best to remain open to what waits ahead. We wrestle to remember that the mess is no measure of his faithfulness.

Especially one year later.

So to my friend, thanks for the reminder.

djordan
Pine Tree

I believe in a blessing I don’t understand 
I’ve seen rain fall on wicked and the just 
Rain is no measure of his faithfulness 
He withholds no good thing from us 
No good thing from us, no good thing from us 

I believe in a peace that flows deeper than pain 
That broken find healing in love 
Pain is no measure of his faithfulness 
He withholds no good thing from us 
No good thing from us, no good thing from us 

I will open my hands, will open my heart 
I will open my hands, will open my heart 
I am nodding my head an emphatic yes 
To all that You have for me 

I believe in a fountain that will never dry 
Though I’ve thirsted and didn’t have enough 
Thirst is no measure of his faithfulness 
He withholds no good thing from us 
No good thing from us, no good thing from us 

I will open my hands, will open my heart 
I will open my hands, will open my heart 
I am nodding my head an emphatic yes 
To all that You have for me 

No good thing from us, no good thing from us 
He withholds no good thing from us 

I will open my hands, will open my heart 
I will open my hands, will open my heart 
I am nodding my head an emphatic yes 
To all that You have for me

+ Sara Groves, “Open My Hands” from Invisible Empires

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pain is no measure

I believe in a blessing I don’t understand
I’ve seen rain fall on wicked and the just
Rain is no measure of his faithfulness
He withholds no good thing from us
No good thing from us, no good thing from us

I believe in a peace that flows deeper than pain
That broken find healing in love
Pain is no measure of his faithfulness
He withholds no good thing from us
No good thing from us, no good thing from us

I will open my hands, will open my heart
I will open my hands, will open my heart
I am nodding my head an emphatic yes
To all that You have for [us]

I believe in a fountain that will never dry
Though I’ve thirsted and didn’t have enough
Thirst is no measure of his faithfulness
He withholds no good thing from us
No good thing from us, no good thing from us

I will open my hands, will open my heart
I will open my hands, will open my heart
I am nodding my head an emphatic yes
To all that You have for [us]

No good thing from us
No good thing from us
He withholds no good thing from us

I will open my hands, will open my heart
I will open my hands, will open my heart
I am nodding my head an emphatic yes
To all that You have for [us]

+ Sara Groves, “Open My Hands”
from  Invisible Empires

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no time to grab a camera

There’s this clunky urge in me to always take a picture.

To try to capture a moment so that I can remember the smells and the moods and the words and the looks tied to it.

I’ve done it before in all kinds of places and at all kinds of times. The moment seems so absolutely perfect that I start fumbling through pockets or bags to find the right camera with the right setting at the right time in the right light to get it captured––stored––for later use.

It feels clunky. Like I’m crashing through the moment with some back-to-the-future kind of gear in an effort to trap its perfect mystery.

So that I can pull some more of the energy from it later on. Or the smell. Or the mood. Or the words and the looks.

But they were tied to the moment. And as the moment goes, so they go.

Quickly.

And then I find myself, after the moment…maybe days or weeks or years…wishing I had stopped my clunky fumble for a camera to capture something fleeting, but rather sat and enjoyed its fleeting nature when I realized the kind of moment I was in.

There’s a danger to trusting this kind of thin space, the moments when time and heaven and earth not so much collide together, but rather when our eyes suddenly notice that they’ve always been dancing together. In trusting the thin space, we have to only take from it what it offers us.

We have to trust what it will leave in us.

What it will do to us.

What it speaks to of a kingdom future for us.

There’s no trapping it for more of anything.

It comes.

And it goes.

A tide.

I had one of those moments last night: Sitting in the back yard eating a community-made meal, catching up over good wine with stellar people. I fought the grab-my-camera urge for about thirty minutes, and then the freedom of trusting the thin space found me.

I had one of those moments a week ago: Sitting on the stairs in a home eating a community-made meal, catching up over good wine with stellar people.

There are no pictures to take me back to either.

But both moments are faithful in what they have graciously offered to leave behind for me.

And I will trust that it was worth not grabbing the camera.

djordan
Cape Town

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