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Well, the time has come, at last, it seems, but really it has happened right on time, as God always is.  The pussy willows have pushed their fuzzy heads out from their buds and are offering us a view of their own unique beauty. The daffodils are now blooming profusely along the roadside, and our forsythia hedge is just beginning to show hints of  its golden glow. The photo above I took today, right in my own backyard in Western North Carolina!

I’ve recently downloaded a song called “Bird Song,” that I first heard performed by the Wailin’ Jennys, but since they have not recorded it, that I know of, I got a great rendition of it sung by Heather Masse, who wrote the music, and along with Nicky Mehta also wrote the lyrics. Both are former members of the Wailin’ Jennys, and this whole album, “Bird Song,” is well worth listening to, or even buying.  She’s a brand new artist to me, and I am  glad to have discovered her for myself.  The words are  perfect for this time of year (it has a beautiful melody, too – download it for yourself, and see!), and are as follows:

“I hear a bird chirping, up in the sky;
I’d like to be free like that, spread my wings so high.

I see the river flowing, water running by;
I’d like to be that river, see what I might find.

I feel the wind a’blowing, slowly changing time;
I’d like to be that wind, I’d swirl and shape the sky.

I smell the flowers blooming, opening for spring;
I’d like to be those flowers, open to everything.

I feel the season change the leaves, the snow, and sun;
I’d like to be those seasons, made up and undone.

I taste the living earth, the seeds that grow within;
I’d like to be that earth, a home where life begins.

I see the moon a’rising, reaching into night;
I’d like to be that moon, a knowing, glowing light.

I know the silence as the world begins to wake;
I’d like to be that silence, as the morning breaks.”

Expressions as eloquent as the lyrics above don’t come along very often, and I find myself thinking of them, pondering them, and of course, singing them (in my head, or out loud) over and over again.  Lately, when asking to do a solo offertory at our church, or even being asked to sing one (I admit the former occurs more than the latter), I have been choosing songs that were not necessarily written for use as sacred songs.  However, since I invariably listen to music with my “God’s Voice” listening ears, I find that Voice in many different types of songs.  I even quite often find it, and sometimes unexpectedly, in reading novels you would never normally think of as “Christian literature,” (which sometimes, to me, can be an oxymoron).  God can and does speak through so many people, even those perhaps completely unaware of it, if you attune your ears and heart and mind to hearing God speak to you.  Popular novels and best sellers, while on the surface might seem  merely vulgar or profane, are often some of God’s best vehicles, because they give the “open-to-it” reader the opportunity, if nothing else, to learn and understand what many people are thinking, and the chance to meet and speak to some people exactly where they are on their life’s journey.  Connecting with people on my own level (not meaning high or low, simply mine at the moment), is not nearly as fulfilling or meaningful to me as connecting with someone who is at a different point in their lives.  It can be  revealing and eye-opening, and I thank God each time such gifts come my way.

Two of the songs I chose to sing over the last few months have been those kind of  “God’s Voice” songs.  The first one was “Feels Like Home,” by Randy Newman (one of my favorite songwriters), and most popularly recorded by Bonnie Raitt.  I saw it as a reflection on the Church as home, and before singing, I recited as an introduction, the words to the last verse of Sir Isaac Watts’ hymn based on the 23rd Psalm:  “The sure provisions of my God, attend me all my days.  Oh may Thy House be my abode, and all my work be praise.  There would I find a settled rest, while others go and come:  no more a stranger, nor a guest, but like a child at home.”  As God often does, even without our knowledge, He fitted the song in perfectly with the theme of that morning’s worship experience, and I was so grateful to be a part of it.  The other song I sang recently was on the first Sunday of March.  Our congregation, as many United Methodist churches, celebrates the Eucharist on the first Sunday of each month, as well as on other special days of the Church Year.  A song I had heard years ago by another great multitalented musical artist, the songwriter/instrumentalist/singer John McCutcheon, sounded to me as though it had been written for Communion.  The song is called “Calling All The Children Home.” It begins with a chant like a mother would sing as she calls her children to come in from playing outdoors all day – to come home for dinner.  “Home to the table with the big black pot, everybody’s got enough, though we ain’t got a lot.  No one is forgotten, no one is alone when she’s calling all the children home.”  The songs ends with with the following:  “Home to the table, home to the feast, where the last are the first and the greatest are the least.  Where the rich will envy what the poor have got, everybody’s got enough, though we ain’t got a lot.  No one is forgotten, no one is alone…from the shacks of Soweto to the ice of Nome, from Baghdad City to the streets of Rome, we’re calling all the children home.”  It closes with the chanting again, as it began.  It would be difficult to find a more appropriate Communion song than this one, which was probably intended to be secular.

I’m thinking maybe this Spring, of asking to sing “Bird Song” during worship.  It fits perfectly into the appreciation of God’s creation, and imagines a Godly Gift of being present and within each season as God creates them anew each and every year; indeed each and every day.  God is Good.  All life springs from the heart, hand, and mind of God, and I stand amazed at the marvels God has allowed us to enjoy with Her.

My husband and I are expecting our first grandchild late this summer.  (I know, I know! Our son and daughter-in-love are expecting their first child, too!  And how many of you are sick of hearing about it, ad nauseum?  Our “kids” think we are nuts!)  They sent us the first sonogram photo of our grandchild taken very early in the pregnancy.  The awesome thing about the photo is that it shows this beautiful girl/boy already perfectly formed, though only the size of a peanut!  How does it happen?  I will never cease to be amazed at the whole process of creation.  How does a child – or any living thing – form, seemingly from nothing, and appearing to take nothing from where it begins, grow, and keep growing, into someone/something unique and splendid?  I will never be able to comprehend those mysteries this side of heaven, and even on the other side, I wonder if I will be able to grasp the enormity of it all.  I still contend that if it had been up to me to invent the wheel, we wouldn’t have one!  I come from a line of astounded, mystified, God-awing people.  I remember distinctly watching my mother as we all watched the moon landing the summer of ’69.  She shook her head in wonder, and said, “I just don’t believe this!  How can I stand here and watch this amazing feat on television?  I mean, I still don’t even understand how television works – or the radio, for that matter – how can I be expected to grasp any of what is happening right now before my very eyes?”  She knew of course God’s hand in all of it, but she was always mystified and in awe of the how. Me too. “I taste the living earth, the seeds that grow within; I’d like to be that earth, a home where life begins.”

Gentle reader:
I wish you, and all, enough

(See  When is Enough Enough? )

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