"As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame; / [ . . . ] Each mortal thing does one thing and the same: / Deals out that being indoors each one dwells; / Selves -- goes itself; 'myself' it speaks and spells, / Crying 'What I do is me; for that I came'." --Gerard Manley Hopkins

20 November 2008

Charlie Peacock

This week we’ve had a star on campus – singer, songwriter, pianist, producer, author, and more. Yet you wouldn’t have known it to see him walking the campus in jeans and sneakers, and a sweatshirt to hold off the sudden cold, with a quiet word and a warm smile for anyone who greets him: self-effacing and God-honoring, humble – and yet confident in his identity as a child of the Father called to be a musician for His glory in the created world.

I’ve appreciated Charlie’s wisdom these past three days. I hope to give more specifics when grading subsides (or I give up pretending that I might get caught up), but one thing I especially appreciated is his emphasis on story. The gospel, of course, is a story, from Genesis – “I am making all things” – to Revelation – “I am making all things new.” Can you tell this story, beginning to end, he asked us – with or without reference to Scripture – to anyone? Can you apply the story to the world – all the world? because the Creator is interested in everything He has made, contemporary church life, yes, but all the rest of His world just as much.

Creativity is a spiritual labor, Charlie reminded us: submit your creative work to the Holy Spirit and tell the story to point people to the truth, to leave the world a better place than it was when you arrived. He spoke of this gospel story as the “controlling story” of the world, of our lives, and reminded us to wake each morning with thankfulness for His new mercies, then step into the story and live out our roles, wherever God has called us.

I kept thinking of the Willow Tree angel
LuCindy gave me, the one holding a book, called the angel of learning. But LuCindy wrote this for me on the accompanying card: “She’s called the angel of learning, but to me she is a constant reminder [. . .] to turn loose and trust my Abba to write my story, moment by moment, in faith that He will make it more light-filled and wondrous than I ever could.”

So a bonus blessing from Charlie’s time with us – a reminder of my friend’s loving generosity and of her message through his. Blessings abound; if I can remember that the story is His, I will better see them as I walk through each day in His grace.

09 November 2008

Autumn Life

The baby gingko lifts its glossy leaves to the sun they mirror; the elder dogwood’s stately rust-covered branches greet their young neighbor in a bowing dance. In back of the house, the burning bush’s fiery finery bursts on the eye, and the maple next door announces the joy of burnished copper. It’s been a lovely autumn, with summer flowers still parading lavender and coral among the colors of the dying year. The breeze rises, cold now as it presages winter, but the dance of leaves and flowers it conjures is a dance of life, life that is, life that lies beneath the earth awaiting spring, the cycle that reassures us of our Father’s loving presence.

05 November 2008

Collects for our Country

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (I Tim. 2:1-4)

Collects from the Book of Common Prayer:

A Prayer for The President of the United States, and all in Civil Authority.
O LORD, our heavenly Father, the high and mighty Ruler of the universe, who dost from thy throne behold all the dwellers upon earth; Most heartily we beseech thee, with thy favour to behold and bless thy servant THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, and all others in authority; and so replenish them with the grace of thy Holy Spirit, that they may always incline to thy will, and walk in thy way. Endue them plenteously with heavenly gifts; grant them in health and prosperity long to live; and finally, after this life, to attain everlasting joy and felicity; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A Prayer for Congress.
MOST gracious God, we humbly beseech thee, as for the people of these United States in general, so especially for their Senate and Representatives in Congress assembled; that thou wouldest be pleased to direct and prosper all their consultations, to the advancement of thy glory, the good of thy Church, the safety, honour, and welfare of thy people; that all things may be so ordered and settled by their endeavours, upon the best and surest foundations, that peace and happiness, truth and justice, religion and piety, may be establish among us for all generations. These and all other necessaries, for them, for us, and thy whole Church, we humbly beg in the Name and mediation of Jesus Christ, our most blessed Lord and Saviour. Amen.

For a State Legislature.
O GOD, the fountain of wisdom, whose statutes are good and gracious and whose law is truth; We beseech thee so to guide and bless the Legislature of this State, that it may ordain for our governance only such things as please thee, to the glory of thy Name and the welfare of the people; through Jesus Christ, thy Son, our Lord. Amen.

For Courts of Justice.
ALMIGHTY God, who sittest in the throne judging right; We humbly beseech thee to bless the courts of justice and the magistrates in all this land; and give unto them the spirit of wisdom and understanding, that they. may discern the truth and impartially administer the law in the fear of thee alone; through him who shall come to be our judge, thy Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.

For Our Country.
ALMIGHTY God, who hast given us this good land for our heritage; We humbly beseech thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of thy favour and glad to do thy will. Bless our land with honourable industry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogancy, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues. Endue with the spirit of wisdom those to whom in thy Name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that, through obedience to thy law, we may show forth thy praise among the nations of the earth. In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in thee to fail; all which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.