Last week, several musicians, writers, and artists from my church gathered with our congregation on St. Patrick’s Day to share a contemplative selection of music and meditations in the tradition of Joseph Haydn’s Seven Last Words of Our Savior on the Cross. It was a moving experience. My 6 year-old daughter sat on my lap after my segment, and whispered the rest of the time about the things she heard and saw. After the meditation on Jesus’ loving words to Mary and John, the string quartet began playing the sonata to match. Farah looked at the artwork on the screen, swayed to the lilt of the strings, and then whispered in my ear, “They’re still talking about Mary and John, they’re just saying it in a violin kind of way.” After the “I thirst” reading, she moved her arms and whispered in rhythm, “The strings are saying, ‘Give me water. Give me water.'” Through the old melodies and Scripture, and the fresh words and original art, we children and adults anchored ourselves in the moment and marveled at how Jesus actively loved through the worst of pain. Below, you’ll find the words and audio recording of my piece reflecting on the interaction between Jesus and the repentant criminal in Luke 23:39-43. I pray it helps you pause and consider the wow-factor of what Jesus did on the cross, how he conquered the “fight or flight” instinct and stayed present in the pain until it was finished. Continue reading
Gray low-hanging clouds block the blue and sunshine. The air is warm, but the violent wind hisses this won’t last long. It rips leaves from high branches and sends them flying.
Down a hill and off the path, we swish our feet in fire-colored leaves already on the ground, ankle deep.
In fall, things morph–
night kidnaps morning,
owls spook from skeleton branches.
A walk in the woods makes you feel like you’re living a page in a mystery story. Continue reading