Thursday, February 21, 2013

Retrieve Lament, Days 8 & 9 (art meditations + suggested resources for Lent 2013)

"Once, ritual lament would have been chanted; women would have been paid to beat their breasts and howl for you all night, when all is silent. Where can we find such customs now? So many have long since disappeared or been disowned.
That’s what you had to come for: to retrieve
the lament that we omitted."
 (Ranier Maria Rilke, from Requiem For A Friend)
During Lent I'll share almost-daily meditations of Scripture, hymns, and art reflecting this time of tension between dying and birth.

Won't you join me?

February 20 , Day 8

I've lost count the number of delicious childhood moments on a swing --  moments so good I can even remember the feeling the first time I learned how to stretch my legs high into the sky on the upswing and pump them hard underneath my seat on the down.  Maybe that felt so good because my Grandma quoted Robert Louis Stevenson so often, I felt like I was living the poem out in real life.  We lived in a little house when I was early elementary age -- one of the most painful seasons of our family history -- almost singularly redeemed by the presence of a bench swing on the deep front porch and an old tire swing in the side yard.

Somehow as I read back-to-back the two Hebrews passages yesterday and today, the image of a good swing came to mind.  While the two passages are formatted into two different chapters, they read as one persuasive essay toward entering God's rest.  The God who created rest along with the entire universe, who commanded Sabbath rest, invites us to enter His rest.  The author of the book quotes God's own fury with the Israelites who callously refused His welcome to rest with their hard hearts of unbelief.

Begone Unbelief is a hymn with special meaning to me for several years.  The photograph of the tree swing on the coast of Northern California captured my imagination, what a stunning vista looking out over the Pacific Ocean.  Somehow that contented perch looking over the land, resting in place seemed an antidote to the restless, wandering, unbelieving spirits of the wandering Hebrew children.  We wander too.  The second hymn and street installation swingset capture joy and playfulness, the childlike qualities of rest.  

May we grow young again, join our good Father in His rest, follow Him in obedient trust.  

Hebrews 3:12-19

Take care, brothers and sisters, that none of you may have an evil, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today’, so that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partners of Christ, if only we hold our first confidence firm to the end. As it is said,

‘Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.’

Now who were they who heard and yet were rebellious? Was it not all those who left Egypt under the leadership of Moses? But with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, if not to those who were disobedient? So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.


A hymn of response: Begone Unbelief from Indelible Grace

Click here for free lead sheet, chord chart and demo mp3

The Tree Swing
Northern California


Source: via Tamara on Pinterest

February 21,  Day 9

Hebrews 4:1-10

Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest is still open, let us take care that none of you should seem to have failed to reach it. For indeed the good news came to us just as to them; but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened. For we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said,

‘As in my anger I swore,
“They shall not enter my rest” ’,

though his works were finished at the foundation of the world. For in one place it speaks about the seventh day as follows: ‘And God rested on the seventh day from all his works.’ And again in this place it says, ‘They shall not enter my rest.’ Since therefore it remains open for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, again he sets a certain day—‘today’—saying through David much later, in the words already quoted,

‘Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts.’

For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not speak later about another day. So then, a sabbath rest still remains for the people of God; for those who enter God’s rest also cease from their labours as God did from his.

A hymn of response: Come Ye Souls, Michael Card

Come Ye Souls by Michael Card on Grooveshark

Click here for lyrics written by Joseph Swain

21 Balançoires (21 Swings) 
street installation project by Canadian design collective Daily Tous Les Jours,

Suggested Resources for Lent:
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