I figured I wouldn't blog again 'til next week, but I didn't know that I would wake up so inspired today. Inspired by hymn #210:
"Deck Thyself, My Soul with Gladness"
Deck thyself, my soul, with gladness,
leave the gloomy haunts of sadness,
come into the daylight's splendor,
there with joy thy praises render
unto Him whose grace unbounded
hath this wondrous banquet founded;
high o'er all the heavens He reigneth,
yet to dwell with thee He deigneth.
Now I sink before Thee lowly,
filled with joy most deep and holy,
as with trembling awe and wonder
on Thy mighty acts I ponder;
how, by mystery surrounded,
depths no man hath ever sounded,
none may dare to pierce unbidden
secrets that with thee are hidden.
Sun, who all my life dost brighten;
Light, who dost my soul enlighten;
Joy, the sweetest man e'er knoweth;
Fount, whence all my being floweth:
at Thy feet I cry, my Maker,
let me a fit partaker
of this blessed food from heaven,
for our good, Thy glory, given.
Jesus, Bread of life, I pray Thee,
let me gladly here obey Thee;
never to my hurt invited,
be Thy love with love requited;
from this banquet let me measure,
Lord, how vast and deep its treasure;
through the gifts Thou here dost give me,
as Thy guest in heaven receive me.
[words: Johann Franck, 1645;
trans. Catherine Winkworth, 1863.
music: Schmücke dich.]
As much as I love Indelible Grace (a lot), I don't think hymn #210 needs changing one bit. Well, I sing it one octave lower around the house because I can't quite reach the highest notes. But the melody is beautiful ~ you can hear it here, but just know that's a very basic midi file. Our Church is blessed with gifted musicians who create a much warmer song that makes my heart ache with joy. Yes, Johnny plays percussion, but we also have a pianist, guitarists, singers, and the like, and the music is lovely.
The lyrics of #210 are so rich, and very meaningful to me. All through these many months - my body weakened from fighting off a candida overgrowth, my adrenals fatigued, my thyroid low - I've discovered that I'm very prone to depression. It's hard for me to keep my chin up; I don't suffer well. On one such day, Johnny pointed out the first two lines of hymn #210 - "Deck thyself, my soul, with gladness, leave the gloomy haunts of sadness." And why? I read the entire hymn and nearly wept. It's the most beautiful song and this morning, I wakened w/the melody in my head. On Sundays, I'm often fortunate enough to walk up to Communion as our small choir sings this hymn. It is a worshipful, moving experience.
Today, I was also inspired by Psalm 50. Johnny & I prayed together, he read a Psalm, and I read #50 - another song in its own right. As I spoke each word, I felt my troubles slip away, one by one. The Lord is in control of every single little & big thing. Not me. Why I struggle with worry, I have no idea:
"The Lord, even the most mighty God, hath spoken: and called the world, from the rising up of the sun unto the going down thereof. Out of Sion hath God appeared: in perfect beauty. Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: there shall go before Him a consuming fire, and a mighty tempest shall be stirred up round about Him."
[Psalm 50:1-3 ~ from an old English prayer book]
That He, in all His power, awe, and beauty loves and forgives me is a humbling, peaceful realization.
Another inspiration was a Lotta mug full of Sencha green ginger tea. During the stomach bug, I didn't even want tea. Can you believe it?? Another clue I wasn't merely dealing with overzealous yeast. But today, the aroma of Sencha and the therapy of ginger were perfect.
Lastly, I've been pondering scenes from The Kite Runner. We watched it yesterday and just loved it, though there are a few heartbreaking/disturbing scenes (as in the book). But it got me to thinking. Sometimes we need to be disturbed. Our hearts need to break. These scenes were veiled enough so as not be too graphic, but they revealed enough for me to partially cover my face and say aloud, "Oh no! I forgot this part from the book. They can't do that to sweet Hassan!" But they did do that to Hassan. If you read the book or saw the film, you know what I mean. Or the contrast of Amir & Hassan's childhood Afghanistan to when grown-up Amir traveled back to his broken, Taliban-infested country. And so on. I don't want to give too much away. It is such a wonderful story, and after so much evil, there is redemption, thank God. Johnny and I were misty-eyed at the end, our hearts relieved.
As we prayed this morning, I found myself praying for Afghanistan - for the Gospel to pour over the land like honey, and rescue for orphans in similar horrific situations like the character of Sohrab. I realize it's a fictional story, but the author - Khaled Hosseini - is from Afghanistan. He knows his country, history, and current events well. As his book and movie also teach, fiction is not a waste of time. We can learn a lot from well-written stories.
This reminds me of Mars Hill Audio, volume 90. One of the interviews discussed why books and stories should be important to Christians. Have you listened to it yet? Get to it! Kate and I still want to have a discussion (right, Kate?). I'm thinking Ken Myers' intro., and the interviews with Dana Gioia and Eugene Peterson.
[photo from Time Out New York]