annunciation

Bloged in worship by rod Friday December 14, 2007



annunciation

Originally uploaded by rod lewis

Farewells and promises are so inseparably intertwined. Lost in relationship, one can scarcely tell them apart. I suppose it’s odd then that farewell’s sadden us so, while promises bring us joy. Perhaps this is easily known as departures are so often softened by promises of return. Of course returns are promises kept.
I think it’s profound that not only do farewells contain promises, but are sometimes promises being kept. I really don’t think I can adequately express my thoughts here, but it occurs to me that so many promises made in the arriving are proven faithful in the leaving.

Somehow, for me, Dawns and Dusks, Sunrises and Sunsets, are quite the example of this. Sunsets are intensely beautiful, but they are farewells, every one of them. In fact, they are farewells to a promise made by the dawn. A promise of new mercies, fresh starts, light and life, that is framed and proven in the pensive contemplation of the beauty of sunset. The sunset provides the beautiful keeping of the promise and a moment for eucharistic delight and grateful reflection on the day that was given.
The sunset says farewell with a promise of dawn, and the delivery will be made in beauty equal to the promise.

Sunrise and Sunset
Farewells and promises,
but which is the promise,
and which, the farewell?

The Lord keeps watch over you as you go out and come in,
both now and forever.

another grey morning

Bloged in worship by rod Thursday December 13, 2007



another grey morning

Originally uploaded by rod lewis

One of the most difficult things about waiting is being lost between then and now, what has been and what will come. To dwell in what has been is to lose hope in what is to come.
But to be lost in what will be often results in the loss of now. One wakes up one day and asks “how did I get here?” when did now arrive?
Is “then” past or future?
It can be quite a mystery,
this mist of now and history;
Is tomorrow but reflection of today?
Those who don’t know the future are bound to repeat the past.

at dawn of the next day

Bloged in worship by rod Thursday December 13, 2007



at dawn of the next day

Originally uploaded by rod lewis

When light falls on the fallen,
all can be redeemed.
There’s light from dark,
life from death
when dawn exales her misty breath.

morning gradient

Bloged in worship by rod Tuesday December 11, 2007



morning gradient

Originally uploaded by rod lewis

Normally, I’m a nocturnal creature who thrives on starlight, flirting with the waning moon, and crispy temps by the fire on my back deck. I come alive when everyone goes to bed and all is quiet and I can feel the subtle stir of the night breeze. My elusive, garbled thoughts come to expressible fruition under clear night skies.
I don’t normally experience the wonders of dawn unless it is at the end of my nocturnal shift. Instead, I usually wake to find new mercies already applied and first experienced in my daily thanksgiving that I don’t teach an 8:00am class.
Who knows why for the past 4 or 5 days, I’ve been up with the birds and have been out basking in the thick morning mist, contemplating the wonders of the other side of the spin.
Even last night, with hours of productivity planned for after the kids went to bed, I fell asleep fully clothed with my shoes on at 8:00pm and woke at 4:45 ready to tackle the morning. The kids had left me lying and went on about their evening before retiring on their own.
I guess it began with my 7:00am soundcheck on Thursday, and every morning since, I’ve been up and groggily and reluctantly ready for adventure. I’ve been to the river each morning before anyone else in the house stirred, and attempted to capture the sun breaking through the mist.
This experience on Sunday morning allowed me to process Sunday’s Epistle lesson a bit more realistically, when we read, “The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. We must stop behaving as people in the dark and be ready to live in the light.”
I’d been awakened in that way apparently. And when it happened again this morning, in the darkest moments before dawn, I had plenty of focused advent specifics to ponder. I stood on the dam yesterday morning and thought of the dark to the west over the water, and the light to the east on the solid ground. There is a divider between yesterday and today, but it is not as defined, or abrupt as this shoreline. We live on the bank, in a moment. A moment that is now – and we wait.

I’m an extremely symbolic and metaphoric person. I’m not very bright, we all know, so to get things through my dense grey matter, symbols, pictures, and metaphor is required. Perhaps I go overboard with it, but these things mean deeply to me, and I tend to find metaphor and connectivity everywhere.
I am a waiting person, a living metaphor for advent. I live in between times. I live between generations. I’m of the lost, over- looked, generation X, those slackers who call out in ignored, inaudible voices, from the dark, predawn moments, “wake up, the night is nearly over, morning is almost here.” I live between midnight and dawn. I wait.
I wait patiently sometimes, and sometimes I jump the gun and get called back to the starting line. I go off-sides and get penalized 5 yards.
There is a gradient in those moments before the sun appears on the eastern horizon. There is a golden glow of promise that morphs from the darker sky to the west. We have a choice of slumbering in the western sky at morning, or looking to the dawn of what will come.
I’m ok with being an in-between, advent guy. I can stumble around groggily trying to find my feet and maybe wake some other folks too.

this is me…

Bloged in worship by rod Monday December 3, 2007



this is me…

Originally uploaded by rod lewis

… this brown, faded, and broken
leaf
discarded by the one it’s served
in faithful photosynthesis.

This is me,
this fallen oak,
whose strong bark covering
hid the hollow and rotten
inside.

This is me,
this barren hillside,
timbered, raped, and eroded by
the ways of this world, and the
kingdom of the air.

This is me,
this reclaimed, lush,
and verdant forest,
deep with black loam and
tall with green canopy.

Stretching my arms upward
at dawn
to receive daily rains of mercy
and careful loving husbandry.

wife’s a blur

Bloged in worship by rod Monday December 3, 2007



wife’s a blur

Originally uploaded by rod lewis

Allison and I went to see David Crowder Band together last night. Well, more accurately, we saw David Crowder Band together last night. I met her downtown with tickets in hand, so we didn’t actually go there together. We held each other through two opening bands and bounced together through the Crowder set. I guess you could say that we managed, in the midst of our separate orbits and spinning, to collide for a moment within some wonderful music.
When I walked her to her car after the concert, I missed her cue to let me know she wanted to go out for a bite. She said, in typical female fashion, “so I’ll see you at home?” To which I replied in typical male fashion, “well I certainly hope so!” I was so fried, I misinterpreted her “question”, and she was so pumped, she didn’t realize how fried she was. So we planned for a few intimate moments at home with a cup of community.
We arrived home separately to find Jack still up doing homework. This quickly relieved her of the Crowder Bounce Pump, and she crashed within 15 minutes.
So there you have it. That’s as close as we’ve come to Rod and Allison time in quite a span of time. Chances are, each of us has had plenty of moments during which we could have had time for one another. But those moments have been scattered within chaos, and experienced quite apart from one another. I did not even see her awake on Tuesday. When I kissed her as she slept, she sighed audibly and my soul groaned. She was gone when I woke this morning at 7:10, and I’ll return home after 9:00 tonight.
We’re moving in different hemispheres. One of us is Argentinian and one is Norwegian.
I am so looking forward to spending a few uninterrupted Eucharistic days next week holding her hand in an ocean of family. That will be feast enough for me.

I love you Allison. You are the axis on which my world turns. Your tilt brings me autumn colors and spring blossoms; summer walks in the surf, and early winter evenings for extra cuddles by the fire.

sheds

Bloged in worship by rod Monday December 3, 2007



sheds

Originally uploaded by rod lewis

many old rural home places have accumulated outbuildings over the decades. The outbuildings have accumulated stuff - a few things, but mostly stuff.
Most of the stuff has long since been forgotten. Chances are, it would have been thrown out, had that been convenient at the time. But to where do you throw it when you live out here, and there’s no one to haul it off, and no where to haul it? So it gets piled in layers in makeshift sheds over decades, and the doors are haphazardly secured with chains draped but not locked. Perhaps it’s not necessary to lock it all away, because it is so quickly forgotten.
The sheds are dark and dusty and filled with cobwebs, spiders and wasps. The stored and hidden stuff is only ever half-encountered in glimpses when the doors are quickly swung upon to receive more stuff. The doors are quickly closed again and the chains re-draped. Eventually, the shed is full and the sideboards bulge and the chain stretches against the pressure behind the door, and there is never any reason to open the door again.
Ironically, a lot of these places have newer, once nicer stuff, piled in the weather on the porch, or under a tree, or rusting in the yard, because the storage space was filled with useless stuff.
Don Henley observed years ago, “so often times it happens that we live our lives in chains, and we never even know we have the key.”

1927-2007 A life beyond its years

Bloged in worship by rod Monday December 3, 2007



1927-2007 A life beyond its years

Originally uploaded by rod lewis

My life has been painted deep, rich colors by people who were deeply rich and colorful. Though I loved each of them dearly as they played in my day to day, surely I had no idea what a profound impact they would play in my forevermore. These were people who had more to offer me than could be dispensed during a lecture, or assessed with an exam. These folks offered wisdom, experience, love, encouragement, discernment, and friendship. The receiving could only be assessed by a generation who would in turn, be offered what I’d been given.

I believe that usually we have no idea how we’ve been formed, shaped, and influenced by people in our lives. Sometimes, perhaps we get little realizations or even epiphanies as to specific moments and people and how they shaped us.
Only a few short years ago, through interaction and relationships and books, I had an extended period of discovery and realization concerning myself, who I was, who I was becoming. During that time, I was astounded at realizing how a few specific moments and a few important people shaped how I think, process, love, understand, and filter the world around me.
One such man was my high school basketball coach, Lewis Ball. His words and encouragement rang in my ears all those years later as I began to understand how true they were, and learned to understand on a new level. Coach Ball was a man who was invested in our lives. To him, the context of our interaction with him was secondary to the interaction. Basketball retained it’s proper place, and was not allowed to be more than it was intended to be, but was used as a microcosm context of the lessons he had to teach us.
I have scores of specific encouraging remarks and conversations from Coach Ball stored in my memory. And the profundity of wisdom offered is that it encourages not only in a specific time of need, but it teaches a broader understanding of reality and widens our scope of perception.
I remember one basketball game in which we eeked out a win by the skin of our teeth. Late in the game, I got an offensive rebound and shot - and missed – several times before I finally landed a two-foot lay-up. I was embarrassed, and defeated by my several missed two-foot shots. When Coach Ball came to me after the game to tell me he was proud of me, I was not afraid to accuse him of empty praise in the face of my embarrassing performance. He was not afraid to point out my narrow understanding of my role. He asked me if I had any idea how many baskets I’d cost the other team by absolutely dominating their boards throughout the game. He made me better understand that though I might have wanted to be a high scorer, the real objective in basketball was to keep the other team from scoring more than we did. I’d accomplished that by ensuring they got no second-chance shots.
There are many of these moments I remember from this particular man. All of us, through several generations, were made to feel like his single most favorite person. He saw potential where no one else might have because his understanding of success was not dependent upon a narrow set of expectations. He understood the concept of community and teamwork, and no feet were expected to perform as hands.

I refuse to be a dispenser of information. I will not be a disseminator of answers without questions. I will not disrespect what I’ve been given by passing it on as soundbites and bullet points and fill in the blanks. I have all the time in the world for anyone who would like to walk with me and discover with me and allow questions to arise for which there are no easy answers or perhaps no answers at all.
Perhaps one day, someone will realize how completely satisfying his life has been. Perhaps he will be thankful for a realization that he made years ago that completely painted the filter through which he interpreted his day to day and his end purpose. He will probably have no idea what all came together in his life to accomplish this in him.
I pray to God that I will be one of those secret tools that are used to shape, prepare, strengthen, encourage and empower him.

quiet

Bloged in worship by rod Monday December 3, 2007



quiet

Originally uploaded by rod lewis

Even the rushing torrent can be beautiful if you learn how to be still in the midst of it.

least resistance

Bloged in worship by rod Monday December 3, 2007



least resistance

Originally uploaded by rod lewis

I’ve always been fascinated with three-dimensional art. I’ve also always been fascinated with how concepts of one artistic medium are borrowed and implemented within another medium that requires entirely different techniques to exploit the concept. Perhaps I should say, how one medium stylistically reflects techniques that were not necessarily meant to be more than technique.
The concept of the mobile is fascinating to me. Here is an object that was hung above our cribs when we were infants, and for me at least, it has never lost it’s magic. It is a finite piece of work that contains infinite perspectives and perceptions. Though the materials from which is constructed don’t change, we constantly view it, and each element from different vantage points and the affect of the whole constantly morphs. Even a simple sculpture provides a bit of this possibility.
Music has explored this dimension with mobile music concepts from the composer’s and performer’s perspectives. Though the listener would have no affect on how the music is heard, and the composer has control over only what elements are possible, the performer chooses in what order the material will be heard. Of course, this is not unlike the manufacturer of the mobile who cannot decide how it will be view, and of course, the observer who is at the mercy of breezes and such as to what will be seen and what perspective will be given.

As I looked through these whitewater photos, I thought of my words about the sounds of the rushing water. I thought about the differing tones and timbres that the ear could focus on. I thought about how they seemed to morph according to my position on the rocks. The interesting thing is that the formations themselves are perceived in exactly the same way. The same rocks seem completely different from different vantage points. Their sizes seem relative, their tones, even their shapes seem to morph.

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