Saturday, December 24, 2005


inexpressible things have been happening lately. some poems have come but these experiences are largely eluding my grasp and i cannot wrangle them into words.

my life is a study in paradox. the things which draw me most of late embrace this aspect of life (or at least don't avoid it).

i listen to heavy metal/alternative (which my husband and probably a great many of my friends would say contributes to my depressive tendencies), and find it resonates in my deep, deep places--something i long for and often return to (don potter has said, rock and roll is not stealing your kids, it's the anointing. yes, that's it).

there are times when these worldly comforts do not assuage me. those times i find old hymns the remedy. today i began hunting and pecking my way through what a friend we have in Jesus the words ran over me like a balm and i lost myself in their lament.

What a Friend we have in Jesus,
all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
everything to God in prayer.

Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged;
take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful
who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness;
take it to the Lord in prayer.

Are we weak and heavy laden,
cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge,
take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do your friends despise, forsake you?
Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In His arms He'll take and shield you;
you will find a solace there.

hymns do not avoid the difficulties of life. my gripe with modern christian music is it is too "happy" too triumphant, too jubilant as it were. and i'm simply not there anymore. i don't live from that place. which admittedly is more my fault than anyone's, i should just rise above it. but i can't folks, i simply can't. i am grateful someone, somewhere took the time to detail the human struggle and it is captured in a hymn to soothe me.

this morning as i was playing sweet hour of prayer (a very melancholy tune that i play well when i am sad), i kicked into improv mode. that has never happened before. when i tried to recreate it as my family returned home i found it eluded me. like so many great and precious gifts, they come to me unbidden and steal away when i try to lay hold of them. i am merely a recipient of the gifts, not a possessor.

Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
That calls me from a world of care,
And bids me at my Father's throne
Make all my wants and wishes known.
In seasons of distress and grief,
My soul has often found relief
And oft escaped the tempter's snare
By thy return, sweet hour of prayer!

Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
The joys I feel, the bliss I share,
Of those whose anxious spirits burn
With strong desires for thy return!
With such I hasten to the place
Where God my Savior shows His face,
and gladly take my station there,
And wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer!

Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
Thy wings shall my petition bear
To Him whose truth and faithfulness
Engage the waiting soul to bless.
And since He bids me seek His face,
Believe His Word and trust His grace,
I'll cast on Him my every care,
And wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer!

Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
May I thy consolation share,
Till, from Mount Pisgah's lofty height,
I view my home and take my flight:
This robe of flesh I'll drop and rise
To seize the everlasting prize;
And shout, while passing through the air,
"Farewell, farewell, sweet hour of prayer!"

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