About Me

Christ follower, husband, father, minister, musician.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Gathering Reflections: Part 1 "Shimmer"

There are moments and events that are so harmonious, to deny the divine orchestration of God is impossible. Our Worship Mentor Gathering at Villa Rockledge was one of those times. Ask anyone of the 40 or so guests of the Pacific Edge Hotel during our time together and they’ll all share similar accounts:


Let me take a second to say that I truly am grateful to be invited and allowed to be a part of the Gathering. So many sages and servants that have and continue to shape the worship landscape – to be a part of this community is an honor.

We were all equally honored to spend time with Ian Morgan Cron, an author, artist, priest, musician, and now we can all say friend. Ian is gifted with a great amount of insight. He is also a gifted story teller. And while he would probably deny it, he has been given the ability to articulate shades of the Mystery that very few have seen. It is apparent that God preordained Ian’s temperament, talents, torments, and triumphs to amplify a testimony of grace and wonder. (Pick up his new book “Jesus, My Father, The CIA, and ME: A memoir…of sorts” to read about how he got from there to here.) What Ian shared with us, and what we all shared together, was a time of ministry, mystery, and majesty.

So much could be said about the few days in Laguna Beach. But I will try to focus in, as much as my ADHD will let me, on a few. (Everyone with ADHD should have blogs. If they are disciplined enough to proof-read…. Sorry tangent) So in the next few posts I’m going to attempt to work through some of the moments that continue to, for lack of a better word, haunt me.

There are phrases, nuggets, moments during our time together when something “shimmered” above the rest of the conversation, as Ian would put it. I’m certain many of us shared similar “shimmer” moments, where Truth or Mystery resonated a bit louder in our souls. It is a phrase or concept, an “aha” that is worth writing down, worth revisiting. Beyond that, it is worth pondering. Not necessarily to figure out and ingest, but just to let it rest, or to let us rest in it. If something “shimmered” it meant that it was worth slowing your pulse so you could experience the thought from every angle, like the 360° camera shots on the MATRIX. It is the seconds between when a symphony ends before the ovation begins, or the black screen between the closing scene and rolling credits of a film. It is weightlessness and gravitas, like when a rock lands on the ocean floor and impact sends sand and debris floating around…Wait for all of that to settle and that sort of describes the sensation.

I’m thinking that God wants us to experience these “shimmers” all the time. But our pace and priorities of life disallow it. When have you had the “shimmer” moments? I’m guessing it was during a retreat, a time of solitude, a vacation in the wonder of creation, or just a short moment of absolute clarity. But they are few and far between, at least for me. 

My first “Shimmer” was the fact that I don’t allow God to “shimmer” enough. Either my eyes aren’t open, or my mind is to closed, or my pulse is to quick. God wants my life to be rich, but right now I can hardly afford to pay attention. How about you? The truth is it only occurs at places like the Gathering, or a long walk in the woods (if I had a beach to stroll on...).  Let's face it, our days - our hours are packed to the max.  I'm sure this isn't what Jesus had in mind in John 10:10.  But the reality of life allows for few breaks.  Unless we plan for them. If we don't choose to stop, we won't.

So this will be a good place to stop for now. Next I’ll begin to actually unpack some of the content of the time on the beach. But for the next 4 minutes or so, stop and listen. Enjoy the rhythm of the waves, the pulse of the ocean, the beauty of the beach, the shimmering sunlight...I think you get the idea. Rest in wonder.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Grass and Shooting Stars

There are three mundane activities that I do that allow for contemplation and dreaming. One of them is mowing the grass. Since it rained every day in April, I’ve gotten some good time to think and ponder. Wednesday I was pushing through my backyard and God began to put in my mind some “What ifs” and “howabouts.” (Solitude and silence are great moments for God to do this.) Most of these realizations are resurfacing themes and ideas that I’ve heard in seasons past. They are not original. But for the first time I began to envision them as my own. And that’s when it starts getting wild and crazy. *Enter picture of Steve Martin in your head* *Now back at me*

I’ll let you in on the rabbit trails I went down later. For the moment let’s just stick with the reality that we don’t have breaks. We intentionally honor God through our intentions, but usually that’s the best we can do is intend. A year ago I heard a wise man talk about silence and being still enough to hear God. Most often we don’t, or at least I don't. But every once and a while I’m rich enough to pay attention and I hear something. Or I think something. Or I feel something. And it’s not from me.

And then I plan on making sure I get more time to be with God. And God LOLs. Or is it LsOL? Either way He knows that unless I have some built in time where I’m forced to stop and not listen or think about anything else, it’s just not going to happen. He’s pretty much right, and I hate that!

But intentions have been made. I will try once more. Because if I do get there and He is speaking, I want to hear. It’s like when I worked summers at a camp in the mountains of Western PA. We’d spend many nights sleeping under the uninhibited canopy of mountain sky counting satellites and watching for shooting stars. We were hoping to catch the BIG ONE in our view as it scratched the night sky. Usually, though, there were only little blips. “Oh, there’s one!” and you point to a place that no longer has any remnant of celestial activity. Someone next to you would reply “Saw it” even if they didn’t because no one wants to miss the magic. But every once and a while you’d hear “WHOOOAAA” and you may even sit up in your sleeping bag and wonder. Did that enter the atmosphere and crash into a hillside in India?

We were at camp for 10-12 weeks and each week we’d have a different set of campers. Sometimes they were 8, sometimes they were 18. But most of them had never seen a clear sky and never seen a shooting star. So I intentionally brought them up to sleep in the field and experience it. Everyone wants to see a shooting star.

Everyone wants to hear God’s voice. From the littlest thought of a hint of a whisper to the loudest clarification of His guidance and presence, we want to hear from Him. It’s in our bones.

I’m grateful for every chance to mow my lawn.