Friday, December 15, 2006

sing your song

Lately I’ve been fighting off feelings of discouragement, with varying degrees of success. Just how crazy am I to be doing what I’m doing? What good is another song, anyway?

But I’ll tell you what… reading the “Christmas story” in Luke 1-2 is enough to make me think there are, and have been, plenty of folks just as crazy or crazier than me… living lives and singing songs and trying to make sense of it all…

Take this teen-aged girl, for instance. Pregnant without being married, told she is “favoured” by God, and that her being “favoured” in this way is going to turn the whole world upside down… and she says “…OK…”

And after a bit of time to digest the news, she does what any sensible teen-ager would do who’s learning to play guitar and facing an existential crisis… she leaves the house… and belts out a song… riffing off a song from her tradition that she obviously knows well…

It starts out innocuously enough - “my soul is filled with joy” and so on - but then… Whoa! This girl is singing revolution! God stopping by, messing things up, bringing down the powerful and lifting up the flattened, stepped on, run over… does she have any idea what she’s singing? What kind of cause she’s signing (singing) on to? How HUGE this is…?

And then she goes and has her baby.

And this old man in the temple who’s been waiting all his life for things to change… when he sees this little baby, wouldn’t you know it, apparently he’s a singer too…

His song is even stranger. “At last,” he says, drawing on the old songs that he also knows, “my eyes have SEEN the salvation of my people…”

Huh? Look around you, man. Give your head a shake. Last I checked, things haven’t changed much since last week… or last year… I can understand your “poetic license” and “artistic vision” and all… but do you really see that…? in THIS little baby…?

And how about this one. I think it’s my favourite. There’s big news to announce. A new king is born. Massive changes are on their way. Finally.

Send out the news releases. Talk to the media. Call in the army.

Yes, the army (or “host”, as in the “heavenly host”). The great heavenly army is mustered and deployed… sent out to storm the capital… well, at least to seize the … or invade the… to eliminate the…

Well, actually, they’re sent to a bunch of shepherds. On a hillside. Outside of town. And they… umm… (how embarrassing)… sing a song.

One short tune. Glory to God, peace on earth. And then they pack up and go home.

God, what are you doing? What a waste of heavenly resources, hard-earned heavenly taxpayer dollars! To mobilize and equip the armies of heaven… to go through all the effort and expense – not to mention staff time - to get them to their “theatre of operations”… at a time of such urgent need, such desperate injustice, such oppression and terror…

For what purpose? For what mission, exactly?

To sing a song.

Something big is going on here. There’s a whole lot more than I can see or understand. A revolution is under way, with tactics that are way beyond what I could ever strategize or plan...

So who am I to be discouraged? I guess I’m in good company. God is up to something, and it’s not up to me to make it happen… but maybe, like that teen-aged girl, that old man, and that heavenly army so strangely deployed, I can remember the old songs, and sing my little song too. And trust that change is coming - it's here now - and God can work even my song into the story somehow.

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At 11:44 AM, Anonymous Jon Nofziger said...

Bryan, You have rendered a curernt application of an old story - a story of hope. Your words also drew to mind an 'old' folk song titled How Can I Keep From Singing.

My life flows on in endless song
Above earth's lamentation
I hear the real though far off hymn
That hails a new creation
Above the tumult and the strife
I hear the music ringing
It sounds an echo in my soul
How can I keep from singing.
(Pete Seeger lyrics)

Thanks for encouraging each of us to keep 'singing' (HOPING)


At 1:20 AM, Blogger JRL said...

This moved me.

At 8:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is exactly what I needed to read tonight - it's rekindled the hope I feel has been lacking in me lately and given me a renewed perspective that God is at work in ways we often can't (and may never)see or understand. But God is present with a plan, 'it's' about something much greater than we can grasp (and that's probably a good thing) Thanks Bryan! may you be encouraged in your journey as well...

At 10:38 PM, Blogger Colleen Taylor said...

Thanks, Bryan. It's an "old" post but it's a helpful perspective. To echo Jon, "How can I keep from singing?" Indeed.


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