Friday, March 25, 2005

How Can I Keep From Singing?

I was talking with Jennifer the other day, and she reminded me of this hymn, which I hadn't heard in ages. I have wondered as we ventured down the path of grief, if I would actually be an example of how God can sustain through difficulty. But since I listened to the hymn again, I think I must be, since it fits.

How Can I Keep From Singing

My life goes on in endless song
Above earth's lamentations,
I hear the real, though far-off hymn
That hails a new creation.

Through all the tumult and the strife
I hear it's music ringing,
It sounds an echo in my soul.
How can I keep from singing?

While though the tempest loudly roars,
I hear the truth, it liveth.
And though the darkness 'round me close,
Songs in the night it giveth.

No storm can shake my inmost calm,
While to that rock I'm clinging.
Since Love is Lord of heaven and earth
How can I keep from singing?

When tyrants tremble in their fear
And hear their death knell ringing,
When friends rejoice both far and near
How can I keep from singing?

In prison cell and dungeon vile
Our thoughts to them are winging,
When friends by shame are undefiled
How can I keep from singing?

I was in church last night for Holy Thursday services, and listening to the homily, which while being educational was a bit boring. I thought about my conversion through Calvary Chapel in California. The best preaching I've ever heard done was from a twenty-something year-old pastor with almost no formal religious education. But he had a fire in his heart for God. I learned so much from him. But once you got past the basic Gospel, he had nothing more to share. Still, many would prefer that to the dry boredom of some more traditional churches. Though I find no boredom in the Mass. I was almost moved to tears several times during last night's service. From the washing of the feet, to the incense over the scriptures and the Host, to the removal of the host from the sanctuary just as Christ was taken away after the Last Supper. I find much excitement in the Mass, but then again, I actually understand what's happening. I find many ex-Catholics were not well educated about their faith.

I think we're still struggling 2000 years later to find our balance as Christians. Jesus is not my "boyfriend" and it is not all about me and my relationship with him. On the other hand, this is our God and we should be passionate about that. He is our Great and Mighty Lord, our Soveriegn God! We should want to study deeply His word. And it should be like food for us. And we need to understand where church tradition comes from, even if you don't come from a traditional church. Not only because it gives insight into our Holy Days, but because church history is our history as a Christian people. And it might deepen our respect for one another. Hey, I can hope!

Alright, maybe I'm just talking about myself. I'm still trying to find my balance in my faith. Discernment without judgement, kindness without naivite, faithfulness with humility. It is not easy. But since I still can't "keep from singing" I know He must be with me.

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