Archives For Angels

 

Jaded.

Silence and emergency,

In bludgeoning contrast, clang in discordant unity.

The murderous, winsome sin of vain words

Like a hammer into a child’s birthday cake,

Crushes the crisp dew.

Fresh condensation from heaven

Poluted by shattering humiliation,

Breathes hopelessness.

The abyss yawns;

And with the crushing of this child,

its monstrous smile,

Gets ready to feed off of this child’s broken heart.

Silenced, yet emerging,

God responds,

Hope breathes, and pain retreats,

At light breaking through broken glass.

Inner screams, through sigh and powerless frustration,

Answered by prayer and Spirit-filled consolation.

Though there,

I was unaware,

That the shadows of angels were always obscured by the dark.


©RL2018

More reflective/easy listening than I’m normally posting. The bass is slightly sloppy in some parts, but I’m happy with how that turned out. I did add drums to this, but I wasn’t 100% happy with the timing of the sequences.

So, I’ve stuck with the the ”no drums” version. If you think the title is odd; as in it doesn’t fit, I’d have to say I don’t fully disagree with you. Its the title of a poem in the works, hence the tag, instrumental edition, in parenthesis.

I figured the title reflected the artwork, plus the idea of flight was something that seems to fit the tune.

the-light-of-halos-in-flight

I was going to use “Trans Cendent Airlines”, but I doubled back because it’s ambiguous and I wanted something closer to the heart that put this tune together.

Enjoy your flight. 😛

Sola Deo Gloria.

 


Thanks for listening…

Grappling With Joseph

December 2, 2014 — Leave a comment

Joseph’s inner turmoil about Mary and the responsibility that was handed to him. The 2013 finalist in Britain’s, ‘The Nativity Factor’, hits the point of Christmas for a six. Capturing the tension between freedom and responsibility.

Joseph was no saint in how he planned to handle Mary’s pregnancy. Although they are from different times and contexts, there is, as far as Joseph’s response is concerned, a slight connection to that of the prophet Hosea’s response to his wife, Gomer.

More significantly, the other connection is that of God’s initiative in establishing, restoring and reconciling a relationship with His people.

In that day…I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the LORD.
(Hosea 2:19)

This presents itself in the accounts of how Joseph responded to Mary’s pregnancy and then the reality of Jesus’ birth. The weighty reality that Joseph will have the care and oversight of a step-son, who is both very God and very man.

 


 

You can check the rest out here: The Nativity Factor

Official site: http://www.nativityfactor.com/

 

Gabriel Speaks

December 10, 2013 — 2 Comments

Advent day 10: ..so said he into the night wind.

Luke 1_26_33

Linked below is a 2009  arrangement of ‘Gabriel’s message’ performed by Sting . The song itself is quite old, appearing in 1890’s carol collections. Sting originally released it in 1985 with a discernible ‘’pop’’ texture. It was then redone for his 2009 album ‘If on a winter’s night’.

I own the album, and have purchased a few over the years to give as gift. For a Christmas album, I find it is as unique as Native American, Bill Millers 2003 album: ‘A Sacred Gift’.

Sting utilises medieval instruments in the song structure. The result is a resounding, organic masterpiece. Incorporating the signature whisper of his vocal abilities with the instrumentation is what gives this album longevity. These songs are about real people, real life and real experiences.

In recent years my opinion about Sting-the-agnostic has changed. Since listening to his later work there is a semblance to the faith and expression which thunders out from Johnny Cash and U2’s Bono.

However, this is a conclusion overshadowed by a discernible resistance to any mention of the name Jesus the Christ. ‘If on a winter’s night’’ is primarily about winter, and its emphasis is not on Jesus Christ, it is on Mary. Hence, the few and very carefully selected carols. The album also holds true to Sting’s Anglican/ Catholic upbringing. It is fair suggest that his focus on Mary reflects his theology. For example: in his 2009 book ‘Broken Music’ he writes:

‘Since I was a child I’ve found it easier to conjure up the female deity in my imagination, one that the church was wise enough not to proscribe in the patriarchal, misogynistic purge that all but eradicated the worship of the goddess. Mary the Star of the Sea became my icon as a child, floating above the ocean in her blue veil, her head ringed by stars and tilted gently to one side, her eyes modestly downcast as if in thought’[i].

Mary was important. Her role is beyond doubt, a remarkable one. Although Mary is to be recognised, the Advent narrative calls the world to remember God in the manger[ii]; and His Word embodied in the flesh of the man Jesus, who, is also the Christ.

In consideration of the confused ‘’post-Christian’’ context that the Christian liturgical calendar now finds itself in. Sting’s judgement here is understandable. However, this does not seem to be a case of ”He who pays the piper calls the tune”. Sting makes it clear that he wrestles internally with the concepts found in the Biblical narrative, for instance:

It (the virgin birth) just seems like one miracle too many[iii].

Absent from the album is a real sense of proclamation that Christ is the Lord. It is as if Sting has chosen to only go half way in reaching for the essence of the advent narrative. Perhaps he wants to steer clear of the ”Christian musician” straightjacket? Maybe he is simply just flirting with the Christian audience? Either way Sting seems to end up overstating the significance of Mary. Inadvertently steering around the manger, stopping short of a clear confession of Jesus, not only as the Christ, but also as Gift. It is a curious thing that, in his book he makes the statement:

There is a terrible sadness in a kind gift that is unappreciated, unwanted, and misunderstood[iv].

If his words of wisdom here are applied to the Christmas declaration of God’s grace as the gift of relationship so offered in Jesus Christ, perhaps there is an unavoidable, sad irony, that exposes itself. Nevertheless, despite the apparent limitations. This album is a worthy contribution to the playlist of any who are aligned with the advent journey.

[this is not a paid review]


[i] Sting, 2009 Broken Music Random House Publishing Group. Kindle for PC Ed. pp. 329-330
[ii] Barth, K. 1938 The Doctrine of the Word of God, CD:1.2:38 Hendrickson Publishers
[iii]Sting, 2009 Broken Music Random House Publishing Group. Kindle for PC Ed. p.330
[iv]ibid,. p.378, For context : Sting reflects on a Christmas experience. The statement is full of learned wisdom and has lots of potential if applied theologically.

Advent Day 4: A glorious light, suspending Night

Coleridge Carol111

Coleridge: A Christmas Carol.

I

The shepherds went their hasty way,

 And found the lowly stable-shed

Where the Virgin-Mother lay:

 And now they checked their eager tread,

For to the Babe, that at her bosom clung,

A mother’s song the Virgin-Mother sung

II

They told her how a glorious light,

Streaming from  heavenly throng,

Around them shone, suspending night!

While sweeter than a mother’s song,

Blest Angels heralded the Saviour’s birth,

Glory to God on high! and Peace on Earth.

III

She listened to the tale divine,

 And closer still the Babe she prest;

And while she cried: ‘The Babe is mine!’

 The milk rushed faster to her breast:

Joy rose within her, like a summer’s morn;

Peace, Peace on Earth!

The Prince of Peace is born.

 

I find the phrase ‘sweeter than a mother’s song’ interesting. I immediately wonder, what could be sweeter? Then with a jovial tone, I imagine, its author, both a poet and a theologian, answering me: “Why the euangelion! The Gospel. For without Jesus there could be no gospel. The shepherds, now evangelists proclaim the Good news heralded by Angels. In a sense both Joseph and Mary’s choices have been validated. This.Is.For real. The Angels message sent through the shepherds confirm, that what was, now is!…now pass to me the eggnog!”

There are eight stanza’s to this poem. Morning Sun_STC_0012In the first three which are presented above Coleridge focuses heavily on motherhood, in the remaining five he shifts into a discussion about war, poverty, and the veneer of Christianity sometimes used by those in power (nominalism & injustice).

Unlike other works of his, thankfully, it is easy to catch the depth of his meaning. In a sense, this is evidenced by language that unpacks the story of a real, very human mother, present with her new-born child. Compared to some of his earlier poetry it doesn’t get any more real than the raw way in which Coleridge describes the relationship between mother and son. For example: Coleridge’s description of breastfeeding; a hint at the nurture, or real work ahead.

On the surface there appears to be a contrast between the mother’s song before shepherds, and the herald issued by Angels to them; a contrast between a human and angelic being. However, it is quite probable that Coleridge’s use of the phrase “mother’s song” is a metaphor for the joy, care, hope and vulnerability.This is supported by the phrase ‘joy rose within her, like a summer’s morn’. Human elements that would have been present in what we have come to know as the Nativity.

If I had more time, I would love to dig more into this poem. For the moment, I’m content to reflect theologically on the image of a ‘suspended night’, and wonder about answers to the question, what could be more sweeter than a mother’s song?

Source:

Coleridge, S.T 1997 The Complete Poems, Penguin Classics, p.273
Images: Both background photos are mine. Text and overlays: Picmonkey