how faint a whisper

glimpses of God in a heaven-crammed earth



Be still my soul: the Lord is on thy side
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain
Leave to thy God to order and provide
In every change, He faithful will remain
Be still my soul: thy best, thy heavenly friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end


I remember distinctly the first time I heard these words. I was a freshman in college, it was the Sunday evening at the end of October break, and I had just returned from my first epic, independent, adult adventure with three friends. We borrowed my dad’s forest green CRV and drove up into the mountains of Vermont, where the first backpacking trip I ever planned and led went wrong from the start as we obliviously and joyfully hiked off the wrong side of the road and down the trail in the wrong direction. Needless to say, campsites not being in the location they were supposed to be made our mistake quickly evident in the approaching darkness. Unfettered, we made camp on the side of the trail, piled four girls into a two man tent because there was no space for another one, and decided to embrace the moment and keep walking in the wrong direction the next day to see what we found. Two days later we tumbled out of the woods and descended on a hotel in Burlington which we had to talk our way into because I had made the reservation and was only 17. But this is all another story…

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“He who has God has nothing less
than he who has God, and everything else.”
– Heath McNease, The Weight of Glory

I just downloaded Heath McNease’s cd, The Weight of Glory, knowing nothing about him or it except for the fact that each song was based off a different work of C.S. Lewis’. That was good enough for me. I mean, someone who likes reading C.S. Lewis enough to undertake a project like that can’t be a totally horrible songwriter, or at least I hoped. I listened through it once in the car last week, and liked his fun, unique sound and a lot of what I could catch from the lyrics. I can’t ever get all the lyrics the first few times through though…really I like to listen to it and read along in the cd booklet, cause I’m a nerd like that, but he doesn’t have a cd booklet or even lyrics to most of the songs anywhere online that I could find. So, anyway, I’m listening, catching bits and pieces, and honestly, my mind was sort of wandering – you know, paying attention to the road and all that – by the time the last song came on. But I heard this line, and it caught me. “He who has God has nothing less, than he who has God and everything else.”

Really you could stop after the first half of the phrase and have enough truth to chew on for a while with that alone: He who has God has nothing less. Period. End of discussion. Less than what? It doesn’t matter. To have God is to have fullness, to have nothing less of anything that is possible to actually have in this life. Fullness. Continue reading

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IMG_4227A word, and a theme, that runs its way through a number of Christmas songs is that of peace. It’s a popular word, really, and one that even those without faith in our society can latch onto, especially at Christmas-time, and proclaim as a good thing. And true peace is a good thing, undoubtedly, though what society means by proclaiming peace at this season, and what Christians mean, are two very different things. Peace is not¬†synonymous¬†with happiness. It is not having no difficulty in life. It is also not simply getting along with your neighbors and passing out cookies and speaking to long lost relatives again. The reason we as Christians talk about peace at Christmas time specifically is because it’s a promise. It’s a promise that is not yet fully realized, but which the birth of Christ was the beginning of fulfilling. Isaiah chapter nine’s familiar prophecy is one of the passages that makes this connection most clearly,

For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end… Continue reading

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christmas words

I’m just starting to get involved with helping lead a youth group. It’s a pretty cool thing, one I’m excited about for a number of reasons. But more about that will have to wait for another post. Maybe. We’ll see.

But anyway…the youth leader of this group just recently began a teaching series called “Christmas words.” Now, what he means by this is taking words we hear at church around Christmastime that are not exactly in widespread circulation through the average high school hallways. Last week’s word, for example, was incarnation, and as part of pointing out where this word shows up he had us sing a couple verses of Hark the Harold Angels Sing, focusing in on the line “Hail the Incarnate Deity!” Continue reading

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song of the day (and some musings on worship)

The holidays and other travel have meant spending the last two Sundays in two different churches I had never been to before. They were both very large churches with multiple services and new, massive facilities, very obviously staffed well and run well and funded well. Flipping through the bulletins showed that they both had a myriad of small groups and ministry opportunities and were engaged in their communities. The sermons in each, while topically and stylistically a bit different, were both Biblical and well-delivered. They even both displayed pre-service messages on the giant screens on either side of the stage about silencing cell phones, and I’m pretty sure someone’s cell phone went off at some point in both services. In worship styles, however, they were vastly different.

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