Tag Archives: mercy

My Kyrie

my-kyrie-cross“Jesus I’ve forgotten the words that I have spoken.
Promises that burned within my heart have now grown dim.
With a doubting heart I followed the paths of earthly wisdom.
Forgive me for my unbelief, renew the fire again!”

These are the words I sang with our praise team this morning and as I looked out over a sea of faces, I wondered within, “Do they know I’m singing about myself? Do they know this place too?”  Oh but it gets worse:

“I have built an altar, where I’ve worshiped things of man.
I have taken journeys that have drawn me far from You.
Now I am returning to your mercies ever flowing.
pardon my transgressions….help me love You again.”

I have a  friend, Michelle, who wrote a few days ago that she just can’t read Scripture or sing a song without *feeling* it. Conversely, she has a hard time singing empty songs that hold very little meaning and truth. She’s so beautiful and right…. I feel the same way and I’m not even struggling with her cancer.

This particular song gets me in the gut every time. I’d like to skip these verses because they’re just too honest…too telling and all too convicting on every level.

  • I don’t like admitting the fact that I’ve built altars and worshiped things of man.
  • I don’t like confessing that I’ve willingly taken journeys that have drawn me far from God.
  • I’m embarrassed by the idea that I might need God’s help and pardon to make the return journey.
  • It’s hard to face that I’m going to need His help to love Him and to love myself again.

I don’t like that I’ve been there and have done that.
And I HATE that I might do it again.

Several many things have been swirling around in my soul for quite awhile so as I stood there with this song and these thoughts, I was truly overcome with how wretchedly… how gloriously hopeless I am without the love of God.

And every time I sing this song, strangely enough there is one particular passage of Scripture that connects deeply within me when I get to this place. It’s the story of the Prodigal Son found in the 15th chapter of the Gospel of Luke.

It’s a story almost too familiar to many of us. So familiar that it’s difficult to get it moving past our puffy, pride-filled heads so that it can make it’s way deep into our hearts.

If you’re anything like me you can sorta “get” the story and the lessons there,  all the while almost feeling a little smug that you are merely on the outside looking in. I mean, heck, that guy isn’t me–I’m not like either of those brothers and what irresponsible parent goes and gives their party-boy half the estate anyway?  Besides..I’m a girl…no girls in this story.

Oh but look again…there I am… on every line.

And that’s just the thing–when God really opens the eyes of your heart to His Word, there’s no place you can’t see Him at work and there’s no place you can’t see yourself anymore.

I owe the deeper vision of this story to one of my favorites; Pastor, Teacher and Apologist Dr. Ravi Zacharius. Ravi tells the story of a trip he took with his wife Margie and of an artist he met along the way.

In conversation with the man, the question came up about a piece of work which was very different from the others he had in his studio. It was of an obviously drunken and homeless man, lying on the ground with an empty bottle. The artist created that work, which was very meaningful to him, because it reminded him of who he was— before he, like the Prodigal, “came to himself.”

Read Luke 15–specifically verses 17-20. Do you see that moment? The son was miserable and about to lose his last shred of decency. He’d been caught up doing “his own thing his own way” and came to the inevitable end of it.

{Have you been there too? I have.}

It doesn’t’ have to be wine, women and song…it can be anything –any idol that takes us to building dirty altars and worshiping “things of man”.
      {Money. Success. Status. Stuff. Blog stats. Facebook likes…ouch?}

It can be anything that places our feet on a journey that with just the first step can lead so far from Home.  It can even start out as a “good” thing gone wild, a good gift from God that becomes “god” or a foreign source for our identity…
      {a job, a friend, a spouse, a child, a talent, a ministry or a calling}.

So it’s not hard for me to see myself in this pivotal place. I’ve been here to one degree or another.

  • I know that panicky moment of realization when I look up and suddenly realize how far from Home I have wandered…the landscape so barren and unrecognizable.
  • I recall that certain flash of hopeful remembrance of Who my Father is and the safety and provision I experienced in His presence.
  • I can feel that resurrective quickening in my Spirit that calls me to drop everything and turn towards Home.

{Do you know what I mean?}

And while I’m walking I’m deeply, humbly grateful because, let’s face it, there’s a great deal of grace in the whole darn thing.

Enormous grace in that sometimes God will allow us to run our demanded course with our fists full of only half our earthly inheritance just so we can breathlessly get to the end, come to our senses before Him, turn our whole selves back and so gratefully receive the full portion of our heavenly, imperishable inheritance.

Are you there? To any degree? Are you asking like I have, “do I need to come to my senses?”  Because the sweetness of the story in the song goes on:

“I have longed to know You and all Your tender mercies 
like a river of forgiveness ever flowing without end.
So I bow my heart before you in the goodness of Your presence,
Your face forever shining, like a beacon in the night.”

God moves upon our hearts and then waits. He’s drawing, moving and prompting us to “come to our senses” and then guides our journey back from the wilderness.

And like the Father in the prodigal story, while we are still a long way off He’s been scanning the horizon for our return…patiently waiting to meet us with His tender mercies, endless rivers of forgiveness and the shining goodness of His presence.

Here is where we can safely bow our hearts before Him and be held and embraced fully–heart, soul, mind and strength.

This is the love of the Father for His wandering child…
and maybe you too.

And so I sing…
“Lord have mercy.
Christ have mercy.
Lord have mercy on me….”

..on us.
And He does.

Are you weary? Let’s go Home.


Five-Minute Friday Word: Connect

My struggling place. The place where I’ve wrestled with God learning His name…and mine.

Connection is a powerful, vulnerable place. After all, if you choose to connect you are choosing to open up at least part of you to that which you are connecting. And it’s in that vulnerable power-place I’ve met with God and he’s met with me. It’s where I’ve been the most, the best, the worst, the highest and the lowest I can possibly be.

I’ve feared connection most of my life because connection requires risk. I learned at a young age that people and places and things will disconnect from you without a moments notice or a care in the world about how you feel.

The hardest part about those disconnectings is that it’s never a “clean” break–a piece of you goes too…or stays behind. You’re left ripped and swollen and scarred…and scared of the next time someone leaves, idols burn, parents die, loved ones fail, people abuse, worlds collide…silences hurt. Wary. Because it always happens…again.

I’ve feared connection too because there have been times I’ve dys-connected. Connected wrongly. Rashly and without recognizing I’m headed for trouble.  It’s been my deep place of holy hungering, dangerous desire and life-long longing for a lasting, loving connection that’s made this such dangerous place for me.

But God.

Again…but God so rich in mercy has taken these things in me the broken un-connected things and the slippery dys-connected things–and He’s mercied me. He’s mended me. He’s reminded me in His steady, sure Word that He is my shelter and abiding place.

He is my rooted and established vine and in Him I am a rooted and established branch…ingrafted, adopted and accepted. Safe…kept…and finally, fully connected because he is fully faithful.

Five minutes of free writing and submitted to 5-minute Fridays….3 days late!