Saturday, March 21, 2009

Half Time - and the Score Is...?

Today's Word:
Hosea 6:1-6 (Long have I waited for your coming home to me...)
Psalm 51:3-4, 18-21 (It is mercy I desire, and not sacrifice)
Luke 18:9-14 (The parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector)

For those watching the calendar, we've passed the halfway point of Lent. Just in time, too; the Vernal Equinox was yesterday, and that makes today the first full day of spring.

The Vernal Equinox is the date on which the setting of other events in the calendar is calculated. The date on which Easter falls is calculated based on the when the Full Moon falls following the equinox.

So, how are we all doing? How am I doing?

As far as the disciplines I set have gone thus far, fair. With my dear wife's help I have continued to at least maintain weight (a one-pound gain this week, but an overall loss from five weeks ago). I have shunned the news on the radio 99% of the time (I occasionally forget to turn it off after the traffic and weather information). And, I've managed to post daily and it has sparked some feedback from those I felt would offer it. It's been refreshing, informative, and challenging, and all at the same time.The challenging part indicates I still have some distance to go, but I see that as a good thing.

While composing my weekly almanac this morning (an e-mail I send out to the extended family as my way of saying we're still alive and breathing) I came across three names that are familiar to me (and should be to most of my best readers).

It's the 324th anniversary of the birth of Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) whose famous Cantata (BMV) 147 contains a well known triplet figure, and ultimately, this text:

Jesu, joy of man’s desiring,
Holy wisdom, love most bright;
Drawn by Thee, our souls aspiring
Soar to uncreated light.
Word of God, our flesh that fashioned,
With the fire of life impassioned,
Striving still to truth unknown,
Soaring, dying round Thy throne.

Through the way where hope is guiding,
Hark, what peaceful music rings;
Where the flock, in Thee confiding,
Drink of joy from deathless springs.
Theirs is beauty’s fairest pleasure;
Theirs is wisdom’s holiest treasure.
Thou dost ever lead Thine own
In the love of joys unknown.

--Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring
Original German text by Martin Janus; English translation by Robert Bridges, 19th Century
Original music by Johann Schop; arranged by Johann Sebastian Bach for the chorale closing his Cantata #147 (1723)

It was also on this day 17 years ago that a well-known and local church composer passed into eternal life; this is one of her composition, from the United Methodist Hymnal:

In the bulb there is a flower; in the seed, an apple tree;
In cocoons, a hidden promise: butterflies will soon be free!
In the cold and snow of winter there's a spring that waits to be,
Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.

There's a song in every silence, seeking word and melody;
There's a dawn in every darkness, bringing hope to you and me.
From the past will come the future; what it holds, a mystery,
Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.

In our end is our beginning; in our time, infinity;
In our doubt there is believing; in our life, eternity.
In our death, a resurrection; at the last, a victory,
Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.

--Hymn of Promise
Natalie Sleeth (1930-1992)

Last, but certainly not least, today is the date of passage of a Native American legend. Pocahontas died in London on this date in 1617; the fictionalized Disney film about her life when the colonists arrived in Virginia
is remembered for this song:

You think I'm an ignorant savage
And you've been so many places
I guess it must be so
But still I cannot see
If the savage one is me
How can there be so much that you don't know?
You don't know ...

You think you own whatever land you land on
The Earth is just a dead thing you can claim
But I know every rock and tree and creature
Has a life, has a spirit, has a name

You think the only people who are people
Are the people who look and think like you
But if you walk the footsteps of a stranger
You'll learn things you never knew you never knew

Have you ever heard the wolf cry to the blue corn moon
Or asked the grinning bobcat why he grinned?
Can you sing with all the voices of the mountains?
Can you paint with all the colors of the wind?
Can you paint with all the colors of the wind?

Come run the hidden pine trails of the forest
Come taste the sunsweet berries of the Earth
Come roll in all the riches all around you
And for once, never wonder what they're worth

The rainstorm and the river are my brothers
The heron and the otter are my friends
And we are all connected to each other
In a circle, in a hoop that never ends

How high will the sycamore grow?
If you cut it down, then you'll never know

And you'll never hear the wolf cry to the blue corn moon
Or whether we are white or copper skinned
We need to sing with all the voices of the mountains
We need to paint with all the colors of the wind

You can own the Earth and still
All you'll own is earth until
You can paint with all the colors of the wind

--Colors of the Wind
(1995) from Disney Pictures "Pocahontas"
written by Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz

Yes, Spring is here, filled with hope and promise. As the cycle of rebirth becomes more obvious, and the Earth becomes resplendant in witness to God, the spirit of Lent asks, what will we do with it? Will we grow, along with Nature?

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