From my Journal, 6/21/18
Last day of summer. This week has been an odd mixture of joy and sorrow. I feel joyful about my marriage, about opportunities to connect and engage with friends and family. But sorrow, too, at the passing of a friend with brain cancer and the apparent soon departure of another friend from the same malady. [I learned this second friend had slipped into eternity as I was preparing this post]. Also from listening to the pain of another friend who appears to be losing his marriage and family to an addiction he’s been unable to conquer thus far. All of this got me thinking about Randy Stonehill’s Hymn:
In this land of the walking wounded
In this desert of countless sorrows
I will cling to his hand today and fear not for tomorrow
In my heart I have made this promise
With this song I declare my choice
I will walk where the shepherd leads and heed no other voice
In the chill of my darkest hour
I am saved from my deep despair
For the father who loves his children hears my trusting prayer
In my soul there is one light shining
From the flame of my true belief
And its embers cannot be quenched or robbed by any thief
In the end we are not forgotten
And our journey is not in vain
For the master who bought us here
Will lead us home lead us home again
Songwriters: Christopher Thomas Allen / Warren Reginald Cann / William Currie / Midge Ure
Hymn lyrics © EMI Music Publishing, Universal Music Publishing Group
You can listen here if you like:
I learned to sing Hymn from Rod Eubank, a worship leader of the church we attended back in the 80’s.
The image of Rod I’ll never forget is him with a pick in his mouth on Sunday morning, changing a busted string on his guitar and being back, ready to rock and roll and worship before the next song started. How did he DO that? I miss him. One day in 1991 he got up from watching TV, went to the bedroom and lay face down with what he probably thought was heartburn. He never got up-massive heart attack. He wasn’t there when our son and his stood as best men at each other’s wedding.
I’m thinking again of the theme of aliens and strangers, servant-leaders in exile, and Jeremiah’s charge to the exiles in Babylon in Jeremiah 29. What do you do in the Land of the Walking Wounded, in the desert where broken bodies, broken marriages, broken families and broken dreams litter the sand? Where cancer and heart disease bring their ugliness to shatter bodies and families and cut life short?
You wage peace. You seek shalom. You serve people, love on your loved ones, seek to meet needs. You forgive. You ask God to search your heart and you repent as best you can when he shows you the junk. You intercede for the lonely, the broken, the angry, the addict, the poor and the lost.
You follow Mother Theresa’s axiom: you light your little candle instead of cursing the darkness.
You pray St. Francis’ prayer: Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.
You follow King David’s advice- if you want to love life and see good days you seek peace and pursue it.
You follow St. Paul’s counsel: present your body to God as a living sacrifice, then think carefully about how you can use the spiritual capacities He’s deposited in you to serve, bless and lift up others.
You take Pope John Paul’s charge seriously: if you want peace, work for justice.
Here’s the one thing you DON’T do: You don’t quit. You don’t give in to despair. You never let go of hope. There’s a new world coming. The Lion WILL lie with the lamb. Death WILL die. And love will reign supreme. Hold onto that, and light your little candle.