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"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil,
to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11 (NKJV)

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Oh Love! (Reprise)

Hi everyone! In all our hectic lives, I realize my last post may have been way too long for most of us to read.  So I am reposting an abridged version of it today... If you read it and want to know more, check out the original post!

Have you seen the Disney/Pixar movie Rattatouille? There is a scene where Remy is trying to explain to his brother, Emille, how he sees colors and fireworks when he savors delicious food...and how the joy, pleasure and experience are enhanced by the complexity of combining certain flavors together (though his brother prefers to gulp down garbage).
Yes, I admit I am a foodie, or "food snob" as some have called me. My favorite pizza is called Figaro and is a coal brick oven roasted pie with no sauce but a delectable combination of prosciutto, fresh figs, shaved aged Parmesan cheese, gorgonzola and topped with fresh arugula. It's a meal I am just not able to experience without closing my eyes to savor every single one of the unique flavors that come together in such beautiful harmony that even after a few slices each bite is as good as the first.

This is exactly how I feel when I hear certain praise and worship songs. There are certain songs that I am just not able to fully appreciate without closing my eyes and reveling in every note that blends together with the others in a beautiful tapestry of expression towards our Lord Jesus Christ. By far, the song which inevitably triggers this effect is the Gaither Vocal Band's rendition of the classic hymn "Oh Love That Will Not Let Me Go." I can't even listen while I drive because I have to stop to close my eyes and savor every note in the tantalizing arrangement of harmonies.

I decided to do some research online about the lyrics and history of this hymn.  The author, George Matheson, was going blind yet was said to have written this hymn in 5 minutes the night before his sister's wedding while he recalled being deserted by his fiancee who "refused to live life with a blind man."  Here is some of what I learned: Looking back over his life, he once wrote that his was “an obstructed life, a circumscribed life… but a life of quenchless hopefulness, a life which has beaten persistently against the cage of circumstance... How could he maintain quenchless hopefulness in the midst of such circumstances and trials? His hymn gives us a clue. “I trace the rainbow in the rain, and feel the promise is not vain” The rainbow image is not for him “If the Lord gives you lemons make lemonade” but a picture of the Lord’s commitment that he is with us, even through the flood!

WOW!!!! That is an AMAZING testimony of true peace in the midst of one's struggles. Today I leave you with a link to a fabulous interview with one of my favorite Christian artists, David Phelps, who just happened to begin his career with the Gaither Vocal Band and arranged their accapella version of this song. Towards the end of the interview he talks about the joy he felt creating this arrangement, taking every note as a different color with a paintbrush combining them into beautiful harmonies...WOW! Right after the interview you can hear them sing the song live...double WOW!!! Take a few minutes, turn up the sound and enjoy the beautiful masterpiece in honor of our Lord and Savior:
Like Remy taking time to "savor" and truly experience every aspect of the art of food, we as Christians need to take the time to seek out, "savor" and truly experience our time with God.  This is what truly bring us to the place where we can experience the absolute joy and peace that only He can give us, like in the case of the author of this hymn.  Too often we are like Emille, gobbling down garbage that we think will feed our souls and bring us peace when it's just not what we need... or worse, to just "dabble" in our time with God and only get to see a mere glimmer of the beauty in the experience.  Our lives are crazy, our lives are stressed... and the only way we can make it through is to seek His face, intimate time with our Lord, in order to get the peace we need and recharge our batteries to take on another day.  I pray this brief anecdote will help you reflect in the time you share with God.
Have a  blessed day!

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