Sunday, November 18, 2012

A more beautiful sound

I don't know if you've ever read the Greek myths? When I was at school I loved reading them. The gods, heroes and monsters make fantastical reading. They lead you on stories of glory and wonder. As a kid, he goriness of lot of them caught my attention too!

In one story there is a group of creatures called the sirens who lived on an island. Women that sang so beautifully that every man who heard their voices would steer their ship towards them. They'd wreck thrir ships on the rocks of the island and the sirens would feast. Grizzly stuff I know. But one hero had a plan. His name was Odysseus and he decided that when he and his crew were drawing near the island, they would put wax in their ears but tie him to the mast. As they passed the island, he would hear their singing but would be safe. So as they passed the island the sailors kept rowing and Odysseus heard the rapturous singing. He strained against the ropes and screamed at his crew to untie him, but they kept rowing. As they rowed away and returned home though, Odysseus realised he had survived the Sirens but had lost his heart. He was burned out inside, hollow.

This is me. I've been captured and enthralled by all sorts of things which may have entertained or satisfied me for a while, but have left me hollow. Burnt out and empty. These things are not enough. They don't fully satisfy me. What's more, I can't run from them. I can't ignore them as they pass me by. I give in and let my mind think about things which aren't helpful, use my time in unhelpful ways.

I am drawn to hese things because they capture me.Yet all I end up doing, if I'm being honest, is dash myself on the rocks of these things. I allow these things to feast on me. I end up broken and empty. Consumed.

But there was another Greek hero, whose name was Aeneas. Like Odysseus, he had to pass the island of thr Sirens, but he didn't try to restrain himself, hold back & stop his ears. Instead, he brought with him a group of musicians. As they drew near the island of the Sirens, he ordered them to play the most beautiful music they could until they had passed the island. The result was that Aeneas and his crew were so transfixed by his far more beautiful music that they weren't interested in the Sirens' calls. In light of this new music, their calls turned to screeches and cries for the men to come back. They survived the island of the Sirens with their hearts intact.

This is also me. I've got another choice when the noise of things around me threatens to devour and empty me. I can tune in to a more beautiful music which doesn't just drown out the other noise, it captures me. It fills me and warms me. This new music moves me to be satisfied in nothing less. It becomes as if the volume on this old noise has been turned down so it becomes nothing more than white noise. In engineering terms, the frequency in the soundwave has been filtered out. It has been far surpassed by this new, rich and enrapturing music.

This music keeps me whole.

This music guards my heart and enables me to become the person I was meant to be. Jesus enables this in me. His good news is this more beautiful music. When he world tells me I'm not good enough, his more beautiful truth reminds me that I am perfect in Him. When I'm tempted to watch or look or listen to things I know will be unhelpful, will empty or devour me, He reminds me that he is refining my mind to be something So much more beautiful. When people make me feel wretched, betrayed or useless, Jesus' more beautiful song reminds me He will 'never leave me, nor forsake me', and that His strength is enough for me, and that my hope is entirely in Him.

Like Aeneas, who chose to listen to more beautiful music in the midst of the sickly sweet song of the Sirens, I can choose to listen to the more beautiful song of my loving Father, the one who chose me first (not the other way round) and chooses to call me His son. A song which reminds me that I am His, that he loves me deeply, that he went to the ultimate length in giving His son up for me.

This song of His drowns out the noise around me. It drowns out temptation, it drowns out the lies of my worthlessness and low self-image. It roots me in the one thing that does not change - Jesus' love for me. It fills my ears, tunes out the noise and satisfies me fully, while preserving and even warming my heart.

Some days I choose to listen, and let the more beautiful music fill my ears. If I'm being honest, more often I listen to the noise. It is familiar to me because it's what my sinful nature knows best. But I also know now, through God's goodness and mercy, that His more beautiful music satisfies me like this other noise never can.

He wants my heart, but not to feast on it. He wants me to hear this more beautiful music 'that drowns all music but its own', and feast on Him.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Lest we forget

Lest we forget

Blood red flowers fill the scene
Where brave men fought and died for me.
That through their sacrifice, unseen,
I might live a life that's free.

Free from rule of dark, cruel powers,
Free from their hard tyranny.
Free to know through Flanders' flowers
I'm not locked in to slavery.

Reminded of a Father's love
That gave His Son to die for me
A single perfect sacrifice
Upon a bare and ruddy tree.

They gave their all, and most their lives
To buy the freedom we enjoy.
They chose not 'I' but 'them' instead
And lived that out to their great cost.

Oh Flanders' fields, your poppies sway
Deep rooted in earth, washed dark red,
Each day may we know freedom's kiss
And remember still, lest we forget.