Into Freedom

Some songs hurt too much to hear because someone I love has left their earthly body and gone to be with Jesus, and the song was special to them and to me. Memories fill in the spaces between the lyrics and blend with the sounds of the instruments, reaching out with silken tentacled arms that wrap around my throat and squeeze.

“Into The Mystic” by Van Morrison is at the top of the pain list for reasons of indescribable agony. I love it, but it is playing at a café where I am sitting and it is all I can do not to run outside and cry… yet, I am cemented to my chair with every note cutting into my soul.

I wonder if I am the only one so afflicted by songs heavily drenched with the spirit of someone beloved and missed.

This version by the Zac Brown Band especially tears my heart out. But I am going to be brave and listen, and know in the depths of my heart that I will again see my loved ones who died in Christ, better than before, singing, dancing, pain-free, sin-free, joyously free for eternity!

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Sweetest Song I Know

I can’t get enough of Armor Music Ministry’s a capella version of this song. Maybe you will like it, too.

“Sweetest Song I Know”

Verse:
I’ve heard them sing “He Paid The Price” and “Jesus Bore It All”
I’ve heard them sing  “I’m Coming Home” and “Hear The Master’s Call”
I’ve heard them sing the modern songs and songs of long ago
But, “Amazing Grace”, is the sweetest song I know

Chorus:
Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
No sweeter song could ever be found
And I’ve heard of a fountain filled with blood
But, Amazing Grace, is the sweetest song I know

Verse:
It was the song my mother sang in sweet and humble voice
Like music from the world above, it makes my soul rejoice
Those soothing words and melodies, like rippling waters flow
But, Amazing Grace, is the sweetest song I know

Chorus

Repeat chorus

(I dedicate this song to my friend, GeeDub. May it make him smile and dance.)

Dear Lady

No stairway built by man can assuredly carry us to God.

“Dear Lady can you hear the wind blow
And did you know
Your stairway lies on the whispering wind?”

The music of Led Zeppelin has moved me deeply since my early teens. I have, however, gone through years of trying not to love it, having assumed it to be “wrong” and “unGodly”. But it was what I felt I needed to do at that time.

Knowing that Led Zeppelin’s guitarist, Jimmy Page, bought the former castle of Satanist, Aleister Crowley, gave me an unpleasant self-righteous jolt that I shouldn’t associate myself with such people.

I don’t want to know about what Aleister Crowley believed or what he did. I read a bit about him and it was enough.

But who am I to say that anyone else’s evil is worse than my own? I myself was born as a sinner like the rest of mankind ever since Adam and Eve. I, like anyone else, had the choice to believe what I heard and read about Jesus or to refuse.

Who of us is without sin?  Who of us is without need for reconciliation with God?  Some make that reconciliation – which only happens through Christ. Some haven’t yet.  Many have died without it and that is eternally sad.

I pray that the remaining members who participated in the band called Led Zeppelin accept Christ, if they haven’t already. And who knows, maybe the drummer who already died believed in his heart, maybe even in his final moments like the thief on the cross next to my Lord, that God has raised Jesus from the dead. Maybe John “Bonzo” Bonham is with Him. Maybe he’s playing the drums before Him. Maybe he’s jamming with Him! He who created us and our ability to excel in our skills must surely be the master of all the arts! I believe I will find out someday.

Even the most pious-seeming song-writers may have deep, dark, hidden wickedness in their lives. As Scripture points out, all our righteousness is as filthy rags. Even if we seem to be pure and good and clean, our good works are not what reconcile us with God: it’s Jesus who does that, and all we need do is accept that fact.

Sometimes music is the only thing that comes close to soothing me.  If it takes the recordings of Led Zeppelin to cause even a fleeting smile within me when I’m in the depths of despair and heartache, well, it’s a medicine that at this point I feel safe to take, regardless of what is or isn’t in the lives of the humans who orchestrated it.

I’ll close with some music from someone else’s interpretation of Blind Willie Johnson’s “Nobody’s Fault But Mine”, which Led Zeppelin covered nicely, too. Here is Glenn Kaiser’s version. I like how he adds this:

“Jesus, He taught me how to walk
If I don’t walk what Jesus taught
Nobody’s fault but mine”

(This post is from a pile of drafts that has accumulated over the years. It was originally started in January of 2013. I have a few other posts to do with Led Zeppelin, which may eventually show up in this blog.)

 

Death Comes A-Knocking

Death comes knocking on everybody’s door sooner or later. Be prepared to answer with “YES! Jesus Christ already paid the price for me and HALLELUJAH I am going to be with Him forever!”

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”

(Romans 10:9, KJV)

Nothing Good To Write

I have nothing good to write today.

I’m in a storm.

My head and my hand hurt from me being accidentally knocked to the ground by my dog as she ran past and tangled herself and me in a cable.

My foot hurts from liquid nitrogen my doctor applied yesterday to kill a wart.

I’ve been paying bills and watching the money drain from my account.

The messes keep happening.

The meals keep needing to be cooked.

People keep disappointing.

The weather is dark to match my mood.

Supposedly storms don’t last forever. I look forward only to the end of it.

“Oh, for wings like a dove, to fly away and rest! I would fly to the far-off deserts and stay there. I would flee to some refuge from all this storm.” (Psalm 55:6-8, TLB)

Empty Spaces

The Mall in a small town in British Columbia, Canada

“What shall we use
To fill the empty spaces
Where we used to talk?
How shall I fill
The final places?
How should I complete the wall?”

Oh! I know! How about social media! Yes, we can fill those empty spaces with Facebook. We won’t need to talk anymore. That will complete the wall I build around myself.

I can put writing on my wall, and post pictures of me and my friends and my family and all the fun things we seem to be doing all the time…

But it won’t really be me.

Or how about we don’t do any of that?

How about we find some empty spaces into which we can put ourselves?

How about we go out into the wilderness and fill the space between a handful of trees for a moment, touch their greens and browns, and drink in the sounds of their moving parts as their trunks shield us from the wind?

Or how about we walk in a field and make our silhouette become part of the landscape?

Or how about we walk down the paved sidewalks of town and look up at the sky, however much sky can be seen between the structures of what was once trees but now is wooden framing, what was once rock but is now part of the concrete, and what was once ore underfoot but is now steel? Weave through the structures of flesh and spirit that move past you. Touch them with your eyes and your smile.

(I couldn’t just put “Empty Spaces” on as a link. I needed to include “Young Lust”, for to leave it out would be an OCD faux pas.)

 

Simplify

It feels good to have everything out of my room,

with brand new carpet in place.

I almost don’t want to put stuff back,

 I’m happy to play in an empty space.

I didn’t mean that to be poetic, but it worked out that way.

On a related note, the song “Simplify” by Wes King comes to mind.

Should have talked it over
Should have thought it through
I think I might have bit off
A little more than I could chew
Well, I have got to get out
From underneath this weight
Or it’s gonna kill me

But the shining of the silver
The glimmer of the gold
Kept giving me a fever
But left me feeling cold
I’m right back in the middle
And if I don’t come out soon
Come in and get me

‘Cause I keep slaying all these dragons
But more keep coming
And I keep praying for this fight to end

Uh, oh, here I go
Wading through a lot of stuff you know
Juggling it all while I’m balancing on a wire
Slow down, I have found
Seems that every time I turn around
Got one foot in the muck
And another foot in the mire
Well, I’m scaling down
Pulling back, got to try
To simplify

I put my golden ring on
Unseen I went down where
War and peace collided
Inside the dragon’s lair
When pleasure is your master
Convenience is your key
Your heart’s divided

Well, I keep weighing
All these options
More keep a coming
And I keep straying
From the way I’m told

Uh, oh, here I go
Wading through a lot of stuff you know
Juggling it all while I’m balancing on a wire
Slow down, I have found
Seems that every time I turn around
Got one foot in the muck
And another foot in the mire
Well, I’m scaling down
Pulling back, got to try
To simplify

Removed by Music

Do you ever imagine, while driving, that you might die suddenly in a motor vehicle accident, and the loud music to which you were listening is still blaring from the speakers when too-late rescuers find you? Then they look at your phone and review recent track history to see what song was playing when you crashed. That song gets played at your memorial and your loved ones cry.

I envision it occasionally. I did today while driving from my house to the store.

Here I sit in my car, finishing the coffee I brought from home, letting my phone charge a bit before dashing in for groceries, and writing a blog entry.

“More Than A Feeling” by Boston plays on my car’s stereo. I dug that one out to download recently as my teenaged son is learning to play guitar and I thought he might like its intro. He’s always throwing songs my way that move him, and they re-move me as they are mostly songs that originally moved me, too, at his age, and continue in their movement now.

But back to the thought of being removed from this body while music plays. If it had happened on my drive to town today, it would have occurred during one of these tunes:

1. Don’t Come Around Here No More by Tom Petty

2. Put Another Log On The Fire by Tompall Glaser

3. Call Me The Breeze by Lynyrd Skynyrd

4. Travelin’ Shoes by Ruthie Foster

Then I parked and Starman by David Bowie came on. I could have been accidentally or purposely shot during that and have died as happily as during any of the previous songs.

Lady Gaga and some guy just sang “The Shallows” together, and now John Mayer is singing about how someone’s Body’s A Wonderland while his hands do the great things they do to a guitar.

Off I go to brave the grocery store. If I don’t make it out, pick some fine music to play in memory of me and enjoy the rest of your day.

Discouraged

“Have I laboured all for nothing.
Trying to make it on my own.
Fear to reach out to the hand
Of one who understands me
Say ‘I’d rather be here all alone.’

It’s all my fault

I sit and wallow in seclusion.
As if I had no hope at all,
I guess truth becomes you
I have seen it all in motion
That pride comes before the fall.”

-From Jennifer Knapp’s “Whole Again”

Those words of a beloved song came to mind as I thought about how good it would be to reach out and be understood.

“Cheer up. Look on the bright side. Here’s what you need to feel better.”

Best intentions aren’t always a solution.

Sometimes a solution is not the answer.

Maybe there is a reason for the feelings. I believe I will know someday, and all these pains won’t even be worth comparing to the joy that is coming.

Until then, though, I ponder.

Why is understanding in such short supply? Or do I just not know where to find it or how to hunt for it?

So much in this life seems so complicated and only results in what feels like futility.

Maybe someone will think about me. Maybe someone will pray for me.

I think I need to go out for a walk.

Maybe I will think about eternity. Maybe I will think about the sunshine breaking through the clouds. Maybe I will think about mud.

Maybe I will think about this song: