The Seventh Word: “Father, into your hands…” (April 6, 2012)

…Opening To…

Sing, my tongue, the glorious battle; of the mighty conflict sing; tell the triumph of the victim, to his cross thy tribute bring. Jesus Christ the world’s Redeemer from that cross now reigns as King. (Venantius Honorius Fortunatus, from The Hymnal 1982)

…Listening In…

It was now about noon, and darkness covered the whole earth until about three o’clock, while the sun stopped shining. Then the curtain in the sanctuary tore down the middle. Crying out in a loud voice, Jesus said, “Father, into your hands I entrust my life.” After he said this, he breathed for the last time. (Luke 23:44-46; context)

…Filling Up…

For the last seven devos of Lent: last week and during this Holy Week, we are encountering Christ’s seven last words from the cross. These “words” are actually full sentences, and there are three in Luke, three in John, and Matthew and Mark share one, as well (though with a slight variation). For each of the words, I have written a song; now, the songs may or may not include the sayings themselves. Rather, think of them as my response to Jesus speaking out from the cross, a place of vulnerability, shame, and torment – that Jesus turned into a place of majesty, love, and salvation.

For each song, I gave myself no more than two hours to write and one hour to record it. These are by no means polished songs; they are the responses of my heart to Christ crucified. I hope that they enrich you on your Holy Week journey as they have enriched me. What follows is “How I’m Designed,” my response to Jesus’ seventh word from the cross.

(If you can’t see the music player, download the song here.)

In you, O Lord, have I taken refuge;
You wrote your word on my heart but then,
Lord, I forget at times I bear your good news;
Stick to my net and fail to fish for men.

There’s so much dross and it clutters my heart,
And yet the loss of that stuff is naught
Because I know the love of Christ surpasses
All things below, and everything I’ve got.

Into your hands I commend my spirit:
Let go my plans and take your will as mine.
In your commands I find perfect freedom;
I understand that’s how I’m designed –

To function best when I empty myself,
To take my rest in your love each day;
And in my choice between what’s right or easy,
I hear your voice: God, help me to obey.

Into your hands I commend my spirit:
Let go my plans and take your will as mine.
In your commands I find perfect freedom;
I understand that’s how I’m designed –

To show your grace to each person I meet,
To see your face in the poor and lost.
And when I choose to turn my back to cruelty,
Help me to lose my will no matter the cost.

Into your hands I commend my spirit:
Let go my plans and take your will as mine.
In your commands I find perfect freedom;
I understand that’s how I’m designed –
To take your hand and notice how I shine.

…Praying For…

Dear God, you designed me to fulfill your purposes in this world. Help me to let go of my own will so that I can embrace yours, which leads to freedom and joy. In Jesus Christ’s name I pray. Amen.

…Sending Out…

I leave this moment with you, God, kneeling at the foot of the cross and feeling Christ’s arms of love reaching out to embrace the whole world.

The Sixth Word: “It is completed” (April 5, 2012)

…Opening To…

Sing, my tongue, the glorious battle; of the mighty conflict sing; tell the triumph of the victim, to his cross thy tribute bring. Jesus Christ the world’s Redeemer from that cross now reigns as King. (Venantius Honorius Fortunatus, from The Hymnal 1982)

…Listening In…

When he had received the sour wine, Jesus said, “It is completed.” Bowing his head, he gave up his life. (John 19:30; context)

…Filling Up…

For the last seven devos of Lent: last week and during this Holy Week, we are encountering Christ’s seven last words from the cross. These “words” are actually full sentences, and there are three in Luke, three in John, and Matthew and Mark share one, as well (though with a slight variation). For each of the words, I have written a song; now, the songs may or may not include the sayings themselves. Rather, think of them as my response to Jesus speaking out from the cross, a place of vulnerability, shame, and torment – that Jesus turned into a place of majesty, love, and salvation.

For each song, I gave myself no more than two hours to write and one hour to record it. These are by no means polished songs; they are the responses of my heart to Christ crucified. I hope that they enrich you on your Holy Week journey as they have enriched me. What follows is “Ten Years,” my response to Jesus’ fourth word from the cross.

(If you can’t see the music player, download the song here.)

I was sitting in the back pew on a Sunday morn
Pondering the sermon when my heart felt strangely warm
Whispers of grace set my life ablaze
And I heard you say, “I’ll be with you for all of your days.”

In the spring the next year I was reading from your saints,
And I saw my life clear as a brilliant artist paints.
The plan of your call there for me to see,
But the path was never as clear as I wanted it to be.

I’ve followed you for ten years,
Sometimes near and sometimes far;
You gave me courage when fears
Told me you’re not who you say you are.
But I wonder what you finished
On that cross at Calvary;
Is it just a faint wish
To believe you saved me?
‘Cause I’ve followed you for ten years
and the journey’s long and rough;
Sometimes I waver then hear
Someone say your grace is good enough.
But the fear still pulls me under,
The light seems far away.
Forgive me that I wonder
What did you finish that day?

I was saying healing prayers for teens one summer when
The Holy Spirit flowed through me and brought new life to them.
When we were done, I just sat and cried;
I was unprepared for how much God I could keep inside.

Nearly two months into first year classes at my school,
I was reading prayers at chapel, felt like such a fool.
Called you by name, but no prayer was found:
How could I be praying everyday and forget you’re around?

How come I can hear your call and ignore it just the same?
How come I can know you heal, yet pretend that I’m still lame?
You never said that this life I chose
Would be easy but you promised to be with me till the close.

…Praying For…

Dear God, help me to know that doubt is a part of faith. Help me to know that the good work you have started in me is far from complete, but is ever moving towards fulfillment. In Jesus Christ’s name I pray. Amen.

…Sending Out…

I leave this moment with you, God, kneeling at the foot of the cross and feeling Christ’s arms of love reaching out to embrace the whole world.

The Fifth Word: “I am thirsty” (April 4, 2012)

…Opening To…

Sing, my tongue, the glorious battle; of the mighty conflict sing; tell the triumph of the victim, to his cross thy tribute bring. Jesus Christ the world’s Redeemer from that cross now reigns as King. (Venantius Honorius Fortunatus, from The Hymnal 1982)

…Listening In…

After this, knowing that everything was already completed, in order to fulfill the scripture, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” A jar full of sour wine was nearby, so the soldiers soaked a sponge in it, placed it on a hyssop branch, and held it up to his lips. (John 19:28-29; context)

…Filling Up…

For the last seven devos of Lent: last week and during this Holy Week, we are encountering Christ’s seven last words from the cross. These “words” are actually full sentences, and there are three in Luke, three in John, and Matthew and Mark share one, as well (though with a slight variation). For each of the words, I have written a song; now, the songs may or may not include the sayings themselves. Rather, think of them as my response to Jesus speaking out from the cross, a place of vulnerability, shame, and torment – that Jesus turned into a place of majesty, love, and salvation.

For each song, I gave myself no more than two hours to write and one hour to record it. These are by no means polished songs; they are the responses of my heart to Christ crucified. I hope that they enrich you on your Holy Week journey as they have enriched me. What follows is “The Well is Deep,” my response to Jesus’ fourth word from the cross.

(If you can’t see the music player, download the song here.)

As the deer longs for the water-brooks
So my soul longs after you.
My spirit is athirst for God,
Athirst for all that’s good and true.

But I have no bucket and the well is deep:
I see the water down below
Could life eternal gush up like a spring
The well begin to overflow?

The desert is a place of emptiness,
But God makes it a place of springs.
The sand will be afire with blossoms;
The desert shall rejoice and sing.

But I have no bucket and the well is deep:
I see the water down below
Could life eternal gush up like a spring
And the well begin to overflow?

From the throne of God a river flows,
Bright as crystal, fresh as birth.
The river waters trees of healing;
God rain grace upon the earth.

Now I know I need no bucket though the well is deep,
And though the water’s far below.
For life eternal gushes like a spring.
The well will always overflow.

…Praying For…

Dear God, you are the source of all refreshment and renewal. Help me ever to drink from your love, that I may remain nourished by your grace and ready to serve. In Jesus Christ’s name I pray. Amen.

…Sending Out…

I leave this moment with you, God, kneeling at the foot of the cross and feeling Christ’s arms of love reaching out to embrace the whole world.

The Second Word: “You will be with me in paradise…” (March 30, 2012)

…Opening To…

Sing, my tongue, the glorious battle; of the mighty conflict sing; tell the triumph of the victim, to his cross thy tribute bring. Jesus Christ the world’s Redeemer from that cross now reigns as King. (Venantius Honorius Fortunatus, from The Hymnal 1982)

…Listening In…

Responding, the other criminal spoke harshly to him, “Don’t you fear God, seeing that you’ve also been sentenced to die? We are rightly condemned, for we are receiving the appropriate sentence for what we did. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus replied, “I assure you that today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:40-43; context)

…Filling Up…

For the last seven devos of Lent: yesterday, today, and during Holy Week, we are encountering Christ’s seven last words from the cross. These “words” are actually full sentences, and there are three in Luke, three in John, and Matthew and Mark share one, as well (though with a slight variation). For each of the words, I have written a song; now, the songs may or may not include the sayings themselves. Rather, think of them as my response to Jesus speaking out from the cross, a place of vulnerability, shame, and torment – that Jesus turned into a place of majesty, love, and salvation.

For each song, I gave myself no more than two hours to write it and one to record it. These are by no means polished songs; they are the responses of my heart to Christ crucified. I hope that they enrich you on your Holy Week journey as they have enriched me. What follows is “Remember Me,” my response to Jesus’ second word from the cross.

(If you can’t see the music player, download the song here.)

Remember the child with the arms like twigs
Sitting in the dirt,
Remember the student going back to school
Trying on a brand new skirt,
Remember the tyrant, remember the fool,
Remember the victim of everything cruel,
Remember all those who have never been free,
And Jesus, remember me.

Remember the soldier in the chopper crash
Dying so far from home,
Remember the farmer digging in the field
Cultivating rich, dark loam,
Remember the banker, remember the thief,
Remember the mourner who is lost in her grief,
Remember all those who can never agree,
And Jesus, remember me.

Remember the patient in the ICU
Breathing by machine,
Remember the parent at the grocery store
Buying food when times are lean,
Remember the scoundrel, remember the queen,
Remember the vagrant who has never been seen,
Remember all those who from violence flee,
And Jesus, remember me.

Remember the foreman, remember the geek,
Remember the worker who makes pennies a week,
Remember all those who have their back to a wall,
And Jesus, remember all.

…Praying For…

Dear God, you are present wherever I go and in you is Paradise. Help me to see the glory all around me, even when times are dark. In Jesus Christ’s name I pray. Amen.

…Sending Out…

I leave this moment with you, God, kneeling at the foot of the cross and feeling Christ’s arms of love reaching out to embrace the whole world.

The First Word: “Father, forgive them…” (March 29, 2012)

…Opening To…

Sing, my tongue, the glorious battle; of the mighty conflict sing; tell the triumph of the victim, to his cross thy tribute bring. Jesus Christ the world’s Redeemer from that cross now reigns as King. (Venantius Honorius Fortunatus, from The Hymnal 1982)

…Listening In…

They also led two other criminals to be executed with Jesus. When they arrived at the place called The Skull, they crucified him, along with the criminals, one on his right and the other on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they’re doing.” They drew lots as a way of dividing up his clothing. (Luke 23:32-34; context)

…Filling Up…

For the last seven devos of Lent: today, tomorrow, and during Holy Week, we will be encountering Christ’s seven last words from the cross. These “words” are actually full sentences, and there are three in Luke, three in John, and Matthew and Mark share one, as well (though with a slight variation). For each of the words, I have written a song; now, the songs may or may not include the sayings themselves. Rather, think of them as my response to Jesus speaking out from the cross, a place of vulnerability, shame, and torment – that Jesus turned into a place of majesty, love, and salvation.

For each song, I gave myself no more than two hours to write it and one to record it. These are by no means polished songs; they are the responses of my heart to Christ crucified. I hope that they enrich you on your Holy Week journey as they have enriched me. What follows is “I am a Thread,” my response to Jesus’ first word from the cross.

(If you can’t see the music player, download the song here.)

I am a thread: see me shine in the sun.
You may never notice if I am the only one.
A thread is so thin, insubstantial, and frail,
And with a set distance from beginning to tail.

So please, God, weave me
In your tapestry.
Please, God, weave me.

We are all threads: see us shine in the sun.
But weave us together and together we are as one.
The fabric so thick, so substantial and strong;
There’s never a question of “do we belong?”

So please, God, weave me
In your tapestry.
Please, God, weave me.

Pull on a thread and you pull on each one;
So quick to unravel, so slow to weave again.
Father, forgive me: I don’t know what I do;
And grant me the eyes to see the fabric like you.

And please, God, weave me
In your tapestry.
Please, God, weave me.

…Praying For…

Dear God, you knit all of humanity together. Help me see how my actions and inactions threaten the thriving of my neighbors both here and far, that I may extract myself from the domination systems of the world, with your help. In Jesus Christ’s name I pray. Amen.

…Sending Out…

I leave this moment with you, God, kneeling at the foot of the cross and feeling Christ’s arms of love reaching out to embrace the whole world