Skip to main content

knock knock

It has been a week where death has knocked on my door a few times. In our culture, death is usually relegated to bad guys who meet their messy, but just, end on the big screen, or found in statistics that are for the most part distant and therefore, somewhat meaningless, or just some unfortunate incident on the news. This week, it was different.

First came a phone call from my mother on Sunday night informing me that her brother had died. Something in her opening sentence, "I don't have any more brothers," painfully reflected the hollowness that death leaves behind. Yesterday, one of our colleagues in the family of Vineyard Canada (our church affiliation) was killed in Africa in an accident while on a year-long adventure and humanitarian aid trip with his young family. The images from a devastating earthquake in Christchurch yesterday just added to the sense of loss and being lost.

This week I was reading a book on the metro in which the writer said that if he gets to heaven, he has a question he wants to ask God. His was about giraffes, but others often indicate that same desire to ask some variation of "Why?" when they finally encounter the Omniscient One. Personally (and from some reading I have done of respected ancient texts), I believe one's first response when coming into contact with the otherness of Holiness is usually to fall down in terror, worship and gape in awe, or be rendered speechless. Questions are not at the top of the list of activities in the presence of God, it seems.

Nevertheless, this week has unsettled me and left me wondering. The question I have is not why but what now? How does one move forward after death has visited? How does one live honestly and well, yet with joy and spontaneity? How does one open their heart to compassion without having it break continuously? How does one stop fear and death from becoming bigger than love and life? I don't know the answers. They can only be answered in the living out of life and for me, by letting the day to day deadly despondency be washed away under the waterfall of grace.

In the end, it is not I who ask the questions of God; it is he who asks: "Do you trust me?" May I say yes before I have complete understanding, before I know everything I feel I need to know, and before doubt creeps in and makes a malignant nest.

I raise a glass to the breath of life (inspiration) infused into me by the lives of Uncle Pete and Mr. Hall. You made and continue to make my life richer.
This is a photo of a wall hanging that I came across in a day care for underprivileged families on my visit to South Africa in 2006.


Popular posts from this blog

the songs we sing

NOTE: I am going to make some pretty strong statements below, but understand that it is my way of taking an honest, hard look at my own worship experience and practice. My desire is not to be overly critical, but to open up dialogue by questioning things I have assumed were totally fine and appropriate. In other words, I am preaching to myself. Feel free to listen in.


When I am in a church meeting during the singing time, I sometimes find myself silent, unable to get the words past my lips. At times I just need a moment of stillness, time to listen, but other times, the words make me pause because I don't know that I can sing them honestly or with integrity. This is a good thing. We should never mindlessly or heartlessly sing songs just because everyone else is. We should care deeply about what we say in our sung, communal worship.

At their best, songs sung by the gathered body of Christ call to life what is already in us: the hope, the truth, the longing, t…

comedic timing

One of my favourite jokes goes like this:
Knock, knock.
Who's there?
Interrupting cow
Interrupting cow w---

Timing is important in both drama and comedy. A well-paced story draws the audience in and helps it invest in the characters, while a tale too hastily told or too long drawn out will fail to engage anyone. Surprise - something which interrupts the expected - is a creative use of timing and integral to any good story. If someone is reading a novel and everything unfolds in a predictable manner, they will probably wonder why they bothered reading the book. And so it is in life. Having life be predictable all of the time is not as calming as it sounds. We love surprises, especially good surprises like birthday parties, gifts, marriage proposals, and finding something that we thought was lost. Surprises are an important part of humour. A good joke is funny because it goes to a place you didn't expect it to go. Similarly, comedic timing allows something unexpected …

singing lessons

When I was a young child, a visiting preacher came to our country church. He brought his two daughters with him, and before he gave his sermon, they sang beautiful duets about Jesus. They had lovely voices which blended well. The preacher, meaning to impress on us their God-given musical talent, mentioned that the girls had never had any singing lessons. The congregation nodded and ooohhed in appreciation. I was puzzled. I didn't understand how not learning was a point of grace or even pride. After all, people who have natural abilities in sports, math, writing, art, or science find it extremely helpful to study under teachers who can aid them in their development and introduce them to things outside their own experience. Being self-taught (though sometimes the only option available to those with limited resources) is not a cause for pride or celebration. Why? Because that's just not how the communal, relational Creator set things up.

I have been singing since I was a child. …