Tag Archives: The Afters

Broken Hallelujuah

“Every single moment is absolutely extraordinary. But the next day is a thousand times better.” 
                                          ~ Salvador Dali
Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.
                                          ~ Ephesians 4:32
     Yesterday had a couple of shining moments, and I allowed them to be swallowed by…a difficult family situation, a troubling phone call, some difficult words and their implications.
     In the music room, echoes of Leonard Cohen’s “Broken Hallelujah”
filtered under the door and I  wondered if the young voices knew just what that meant. And some of them do.  But Leonard’s words did not lift me, nor the young voices who barely understand the stories represented from the Bible.
     Yesterday, I felt somewhat more like the singers in the following Halleljuah:
             The Afters –  Broken Hallelujah
      The passing kindergarten parade, the company of my family lifted me after that school day. I know that joy awaits, that a blessing is around the corner.  It was hard to sing Hallelujah.  Even harder to let go of that which hurt.  But I will.  As the sun sings the green out of the leaves and opens the clenched buds, so will I sing my own broken Hallelujah.
Lord, as my tears dry, let my eyes rest upon you.  Help me to help others who are hurting, trying to pick up the pieces of their broken hallelujahs and offer them to You.
    Because of Him,

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You Lift Me Up

[P]atriotism… is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime.  ~Adlai Stevenson

When I walk into the thick of trouble,
    keep me alive in the angry turmoil.
With one hand
    strike my foes,
With your other hand
    save me.
Finish what you started in me, God.
    Your love is eternal—don’t quit on me now.

Psalm 138:7-8

And so it is with serving the Lord.  Serving the Lord is so much more than the jumping, dancing, crying, evidence of the Holy Spirit, singing, praising with a loud voice, or a big band.  It is indeed, like the patriotism described above, tranquil and steady.  It is not the outward signs as much as that place from which they are born.

If you have ever stood in a wave pool at a water park, you know that there is a stillness, folks swim, talk, anticipate, travel to get to a good spot to experience the wave.  And then it begins, slowly, small and pulsing.  Growing ever growing until it reaches the place where one must jump up to keep it from washing over them (or not!) and certainly helping small one in their efforts.

Sometimes it feels as if the pool is not under anyone’s close supervision and the waves are out of control.  That is where the plea comes from.  That is where the jumping up in anticipation comes from.  Sometimes it is where folks simply let go and let the wave carry them.

Yes, Lord, carry me, lift me up, that I may let go.

Because of Him,


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You Lift Me Up

Drag your thoughts away from your troubles… by the ears, by the heels, or any other way you can manage it. 

     ~Mark Twain

O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our maker. For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. Today if ye will hear his voice,

Psalm 95:6-7 KJV

     Sometimes it’s a plunge into a task, pruning trees or mowing the lawn.     Sometimes it is a distracting piece of music or a conversation with a child.
Sometimes it is picking up a book. Oft times it is helping others, getting involved with teaching or assisting those in need.
     Whatever it takes to drag your thoughts away from your troubles brings you closer to God.  It brings you closer to God because it takes you outside of you!
     Today, as you weed, prune, play, hear a child, read, or help, at some point you will have to bend.  And with the bending comes kneeling and with the kneeling comes a hand.
     A hand that gently lifts your chin to meet the eyes of your Savior.
You Lift Me Up
The Afters
 Because of Him,

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Is your Hallelujah broken?

Mirrors should think longer before they reflect.  
     ~ Jean Cocteau
If with heart and soul you’re doing good, do you think you can be stopped? Even if you suffer for it, you’re still better off. Don’t give the opposition a second thought. Through thick and thin, keep your hearts at attention, in adoration before Christ, your Master. Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you’re living the way you are, and always with the utmost courtesy. Keep a clear conscience before God so that when people throw mud at you, none of it will stick. They’ll end up realizing that they’re the ones who need a bath. It’s better to suffer for doing good, if that’s what God wants, than to be punished for doing bad. That’s what Christ did definitively: suffered because of others’ sins, the Righteous One for the unrighteous ones. He went through it all—was put to death and then made alive—to bring us to God.
~ 1 Peter 3:15
I am watching two dear friends go through a trial that I am not sure they see.  He is up to his ears in a God-given ministry, and she is up to her ears in grief, after a son who committed suicide in the past few years.  He is diving into the ministry to the exclusion of much else, and she is taking a yearly trip into grief, each year sinking further from, not closer to the One who knows just what to do with the ministry and the grief.  The grief drives her to do things much more closely associated with her past.
It has begun to creep into the ministry.  Her past is wounding him. Both are suffering.  If God is at the top of a couple’s triangle, then as they head up the sides toward God, they get closer together, until they become one in God!
Where are you on the triangle?  I have recently had an excursion that left me derailed and looking up.  Finally I am beginning to climb again, seeking obedience rather than my own will.
Time to refocus for me, and keep my focus.  
Today, look up, and across at the one(s) you love.  Pray for them as you climb to the Father.
Because of Him,
Broken Hallelujah – The Afters

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Every Good Thing

May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus, so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    ~  Romans 15:5-6
I have memories – but only a fool stores his past in the future.  
     ~  David Gerrold
I am watching a uniting.  In my home, in my neighborhood, in the church.  People are coming together in so many ways.  It is more of a feeling, a sense of God’s Spirit.  Differences are being put aside, aspersions go uncast, kindness is emerging.
In my neighborhood, the way I know has a lot to do with our adopted dog, Kirby.  Kirby looks like a cotton ball. In fact, his breed “Coton de Tulear” means cotton of Tulear. His breed is the “royal dog of Madagascar” and he is known for being a companion dog.  Kirby is nine years old and as my friend Elisa says “he is very opinionated.”  This is very true.  He jumps at a passing car or wind, and growls at Fed-Ex trucks.  This very small dog has chosen one friend on the block, and this friend is also one of our friends.  As we walk, folks talk to us, folks I haven’t met because I have just not taken the time.  Neighbors I have always meant to meet talking, because of this wee old man.
All of us walk him, all of us are getting out more, have an avid listener when we have something on our mind, his little cocked head charming as he listens or tries to tell us something.  
At church the renovation is nearly done, and joy grows as we move toward that celebration. There are still many political divides, and those too are being put aside as we focus on what we have in common.  
At first, I read the quote from David Gerrold, and I wondered what it meant.  What I think it means now is that once we have lived many years and have good memories, that is not a license to stop living.  We must continue to live, making new memories, joining together to worship the God who made us, who really can see the big picture, who knows the snapshots as well.
Today, rejoice in the God who binds you together.  Look for the glint on the water, not the debris. For in that glint is hope as your life moves forward into a shining day.  Every good thing comes from God.
Because of Him,

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