Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Sunday Song

A Mighty Fortress Is Our God, Martin Luther, 1529

A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;
Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His Name, from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.

And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.

That word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him Who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Speaking of a new song...

This is not a new song, but a wonderful one!  The lyrics (more extensive than the recorded version) are below. Special thanks to CM for sharing these.  I can't wait for that dance!

1. Tomorrow shall be my dancing day;
I would my true love did so chance
To see the legend of my play,
To call my true love to my dance;
ChorusSing, oh! my love, oh! my love, my love, my love,
This have I done for my true love1
2. Then was I born of a virgin pure,2
Of her I took fleshly substance
Thus was I knit to man's nature
To call my true love to my dance. Chorus
3. In a manger laid, and wrapped I was
So very poor, this was my chance
Betwixt an ox and a silly poor ass
To call my true love to my dance. Chorus
4. Then afterwards baptized I was;
The Holy Ghost on me did glance,
My Father’s voice heard from above,
To call my true love to my dance. Chorus
5. Into the desert I was led,
Where I fasted without substance;
The Devil bade me make stones my bread,
To have me break my true love's dance. Chorus
6. The Jews on me they made great suit,
And with me made great variance,
Because they loved darkness rather than light,
To call my true love to my dance. Chorus
7. For thirty pence Judas me sold,3
His covetousness for to advance:
Mark whom I kiss, the same do hold!
The same is he shall lead the dance. Chorus
8. Before Pilate the Jews me brought,
Where Barabbas had deliverance;
They scourged me and set me at nought,
Judged me to die to lead the dance. Chorus
9. Then on the cross4 hanged I was,
Where a spear my heart did glance;
There issued forth both water and blood,
To call my true love to my dance. Chorus
10. Then down to hell I took my way
For my true love's deliverance,
And rose again on the third day,
Up to my true love and the dance. Chorus
11. Then up to heaven I did ascend,
Where now I dwell in sure substance
On the right hand of God, that man
May come unto the general dance. Chorus

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Singing a new song...

Lately I have been mourning the loss of something.  That something is my singing voice.  Now, my husband insists I still sing "just fine", but he can't fool me.  For the last several years, the changes have been large and startling: lack of control, lack of flexibility, lack of timbre.  However you want to describe it, much of what I once possessed in the way of signing is gone.

Sometimes I have wondered why.  I have wondered if there have been changes on a cellular level due to the tamoxifen I am taking for treating breast cancer.  Or if my cough-variant asthma has scarred my vocal chords.  Or if the mediastinoscopy I had nicked or bruised something down there.  But whatever the case, something I always took for granted: being able to sing well and pretty much exactly as I wanted to, pretty much anywhere, for anything, in front of anyone, is no longer a gift I enjoy. 

Now before you feel too sad for me, Gentle Reader, let me tell you the ways the removal of that gift has blessed me.

First of all, God went before me and removed me from my beloved job with the Homeschool Chorus before my voice became a real problem.  At the time, I mourned that loss, too.  But the truth is, I could not do the chorus with the current state of affairs, vocally speaking.  So God went before me, and not wanting to break this bruised reed, He removed that first.  And then he provided many new teaching opportunities that I would never have tried, had I still been directing the Chorus.

Secondly, it occurs to me that I have spent my whole life telling others, often those with lesser vocal capabilities than myself, that what matters to God is not the objective quality of our voices, but our willingness to praise Him with it.  Now I have the opportunity to put my proverbial money where my singing voice is.

And lastly, this is a real reminder to me to hold this world loosely, and look to heaven.  The gifts and ministries, the fun and frenzy of this world, is a temporary thing.  It will pass away.  But there is a place where my singing voice will be exactly what it was created to be, and where I will be part of a chorus so incredible, singing to a God so awesome, that we will want to sing in it for eternity.  It is a good thing to remember that this world is not our home.  The longing and mourning we feel now is because we know, deep within our hearts, that we were created for something better, something more.

So now I follow the admonition of the Psalmist to sing a new song, even if it is not as beautiful a song as I might wish.  Because the song is not about the singer, but about the One in whose praise we sing it.

 Psalm 98
1 Sing to the LORD a new song,
       for he has done marvelous things;
       his right hand and his holy arm
       have worked salvation for him.
 2 The LORD has made his salvation known
       and revealed his righteousness to the nations.
 3 He has remembered his love
       and his faithfulness to the house of Israel;
       all the ends of the earth have seen
       the salvation of our God.
 4 Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth,
       burst into jubilant song with music;
 5 make music to the LORD with the harp,
       with the harp and the sound of singing,
 6 with trumpets and the blast of the ram's horn—
       shout for joy before the LORD, the King.
 7 Let the sea resound, and everything in it,
       the world, and all who live in it.
 8 Let the rivers clap their hands,
      Let the mountains sing together for joy; 9 let them sing before the LORD,
       for he comes to judge the earth.
       He will judge the world in righteousness
       and the peoples with equity.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Normal, and benign moments...

Normal.  It is an unexciting word.  At least until you've done without it.

Today, I am rejoicing in normal.  I made a trip to the oncologist's office this afternoon, to have her check out some tender, lumpy places that appeared last week.  In preparation for that visit, I realized again that "normal" is a gift, but that the greater gift is that Christ walks with me in every  detail of my life. He walks with me in "benign" moments and "cancer" moments, and that makes all the difference.

Today turned into a benign moment: the doctor feels nothing is going on, but will check again in a month, and do my already-scheduled scans then. So I am praising God that He is allowing my "normal" to continue.

There are many challenges to living in a post-cancer world.  Not wallowing in worry, nor borrowing trouble for tomorrow, but instead letting tomorrow worry after itself.  Those are tall orders for my feeble, frail mind. But in the end, I see the very real blessings here.  May God be praised! 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

More wedding photos

Nikki Finnegan and Rachel Baer

Rachel Baer with Benjamin, Lillie and Noah Lawrence

 The Bales family

Tim and Emma Finnegan

Ethan and Rachel Baer

Molly Lawrence and Elsa, Emma and Dave Finnegan

Parents of the groom: Kelley and Robert Baer

Kelley and Rachel Baer

The bride and groom: Josh and Rachel Baer

Monday, October 18, 2010

Wedding wonders

Amy Lawrence and Lillie

Benjamin, Noah and Abby Lawrence

Amy and David Lawrence

Molly Lawrence

Rachel Baer and Emma Finnegan

Carolyn Bales and Meg

More to come...

Sunday, October 17, 2010


the FinFamSeven

Emma meets Aunt Elsa

Four Finnegan females!

A little time with Grandpa

Ben and Elsa

Breakfast in the hotel before the wedding festivities began.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

On open gates and vulnerability...

This morning I left my back gate open as I went on my bike ride.  This is my normal policy because when I return from my bike ride, with wobbling legs and knocking knees, I prefer not to try to get the gate open while balancing the bike and myself.  So I leave the gate open for easy access to the bike's backyard home when I return.

I suppose this open gate could be an invitation to someone who wishes to enter my backyard and do mischief there. It could be a sign of vulnerability to be taken advantage of.  That is sometimes the cost of living in a fallen world.

Instead, I prefer to think of my open gate as a sign to my friends and neighbors that I am out on my bicycle, with the wind flowing over me, and the pavement passing under my tires. I hope when they see my open gate, they praise God with me for the freedom to enjoy God's good gifts.

When I leave my gate open, I suppose I run the risk that someone will, indeed, make mischief in my backyard.  But without taking the risk in life, we miss much. Such is always the price of vulnerability.  May we all have vulnerable hearts, Gentle Reader, open to the things of God around us!

Monday, October 04, 2010

I've been to the mountain top...

Last Saturday, Gentle Reader, I realized a dream.  I hiked to the top of Pajarito Mountain.  That may not seem like a big deal to most of you.  It is only 1.5 miles, and about 1200 feet of elevation gain, beginning at about 9,000 ft. But for me, this has always been unthinkable.  I figured that the only way I would ever get to the top of that mountain was to ride a lift up.  But on Saturday, with Dave's kind encouragement, I made it to the top! And now, after 26 years of living here, I have finally seen the views, and they are spectacular!

Even more spectacular to my mind, though, is the grace of God which has allowed me to drop some weight and get into the kind of shape that can climb a mountain and actually enjoy it.  God is just so good to me!

So here are some views from the mountain top.  Mountain top views are powerful things, and they stay with you for a long time after you've descended.