My eldest son Andrew, posting on Way Out of the Bloo, writes a brief retrospective on the grace and mercy of God:
I was just thinking about where I was this time last year (post-camp) Its incredible how long it took me to take so few steps. But the fact that I was able to take those steps at all speaks volumes of God’s grace towards me. He never gave up, even when I was through with Him. There were times I’m convinced that I broke His heart but nothing I did was ever able to bend his will. He ultimately restored my joy. Whats more, He did it through something that should have crippled my hope. He literally turned my mourning into gladness.
His ways may be strange but boy are they good.
“His ways may be strange but boy are they good.” Now that’s an amen times infinity quote!
Having watched and prayed and walked with Andrew through the struggles of last year, and having at times helplessly watched him struggle alone when there was nothing we could do, I can’t express the thrill we’ve experienced through Andrew’s reawakening, as the dimmed light was unveiled in his heart and eventually on his countenance. God sovereignly brought Andrew back to himself and brought true anathallo (revival) into his life. I can only say this: God’s grace is truly amazing!
Andrew is growing up: spiritually, physically, emotionally, skillz-wise – really in every way. As parents we learn, little by little, to let go of these ones that we love more than we can express as they inexorably grow older.
It’s so much easier to let go when we know that God holds them. He has proven the lengths he will go to for his child. He is zealous, and loving, with a love that, as C.S. Lewis once put it, could be mistaken for ferocity. The Lord is stubborn, and in total control. We live in a veil of tears and there are struggles and stumblings and painful growth ahead, no doubt, for Andrew and for all of us. But our destiny is not the pits, and not even the valleys. Our destiny is joy and gladness in the presence of our Beloved.
This is a different kind of post for me. But Syd Barrett was a different kind of person.
Born Roger Keith Barrett in 1946, “Syd” was one of the founding members of the rock band Pink Floyd, and at the beginning he was the creative force driving their early, psychedelic sound. But it wasn’t long until the massive amounts of hallucinogenic drugs he was ingesting daily wreaked havoc on his sanity. Syd Barrett was removed from Pink Floyd in the late sixties and was rarely heard from again.
He was a wonderfully instinctive guitarist, and his highly original use of slide and echo was able to translate the hypnotic atmosphere that Pink Floyd generated on stage to the albums they created in the studio. These are memorable as few others of their era are.
But Barrett then fell victim to the darker side of those heady times, as his copious indulgence in hallucinogenic drugs pushed an already fragile psyche over the edge.
After dominating Pink Floyd’s early material and writing their first two hit singles, by 1968 he found himself forced out of the group on account of his erratic behaviour. Without him, they went on to become one of the biggest-selling acts of the 1970s and 1980s, while his output was restricted to two strange but compelling solo albums, which reflected his precarious mental state and are today regarded as cult classics.
After that, the rest was silence, as he became a recluse and abandoned all involvement in music. Yet although he did not release another record after 1970, he continued to exert an eerie fascination for generations of future musicians – perhaps because his fate reminded them of the slender thread by which creative talent can hang.
It is said that during the recording of Pink Floyd’s 1975 album Wish You Were Here a pudgy, balding man showed up at Abbey Road studios. The man was Syd Barrett, but no one recognized him.
And now he is gone. It’s a sad story of insanity and wasted talent, but I pray that Syd found his peace with God through Christ before the end.
Well you wore out your welcome with random precision,
rode on the steel breeze.
Come on you raver, you seer of visions,
come on you painter, you piper, you prisoner, and shine.
This weekend was my birthday. Part of the ongoing celebration – and, trust me, it is still ongoing. It’s a rolling 40 days of fun! – was seeing The Lion King at Houston’s Theatre Under the Stars.
It was awesome. Unbelievably good. It’s amazing how well the people who developed this play translated the story from a cartoon to the stage. The cleverness of the props and the seamless way the actors interacted with them was breathtaking.
In his latest post, Mark takes a hammer and hits a nail, square on:
I think faithfulness with the Gospel in any time is to be expressed by speaking the whole truth in a way that make sense to the hearer — in their language and metaphors (more on that in the next post). But it does not mean catering to their agenda. The Gospel counters the agenda of the human heart.
When it comes to prayer I feel like such a beginner . . . even after all these years. But one wonderful thing about prayer is that it is something I can do anytime, so there are no time boundaries to prayer. And Romans 8 tells us that the Holy Spirit prays for us. So in that way prayer is something in which Christians have a “built-in” expertise, because the Holy Spirit is right there, indwelling us and groaning with words that can’t be uttered. And at the right hand of the Throne is our Lord Jesus, interceding to the Father for us.
For these reasons and many others, there is great power in prayer! I’m only just learning this, because perhaps in the past I have misdefined “power”. I believe prayer unleashes what God has already planned to unleash, it answers the call that God has already put forth, it is a lifting up to him what he has already given to us. It is the bold entrance, emboldened through his great rescue. And it is so much more that I still can’t comprehend.
Prayer is an amazing way for us to love others. There are people that I never see anymore but I still can love them – and not just in my memories but in reality and in a way that affects them contemporaneously – by praying for them.
I’ve been thinking through these things because I’m learning more and more to treasure those moments of prayer and intercession that I am afforded, and to find those moments in the most unlikely places. Basically, anytime there’s a quiet moment. Anywhere.