The Chocolate Muffin; or, Doctrine, Biblical Symbolism, and Worship–With Illustrations!

Note: I’m placing this in “Allegory” because it focuses on symbolism and I feel that creating a category solely devoted to symbolism would be counter-productive.

Sunday, 15 April 2012. It was the first time I had been to church in over six months. There was prayer, there was worship, there was a beautiful if slightly percussive rendition of “Amazing Grace”. There was Scripture reading, from a translation somewhere between the Living Bible and the Message paraphrase. The sermon was good, relatable to most, very sound. The church believed in the active gifts of the Spirit, in baptism by immersion, in the cleansing gift of salvation.

But I’m not here to talk about the church or that service. I’m here to talk about Naomi, the church bulletin, and a chocolate-chip muffin.

For months, we had been inundated by false doctrine. I shan’t go into detail here, but will say only that several churches in our area had been teaching in error. Now, Naomi and I were both so nervous and weary that we were on our guards against nearly everything. As she skimmed the bulletin that morning, a name jumped out at her–a guest speaker? A pastor? A missionary? I do quite a bit of apologetic reading, so she directed her inquiry to me. “Otis Spunkmeyer–is he sound?”

Well, as most of my readers are aware, Otis Spunkmeyer has never made himself any sort of public evangelist–at least, not that I’ve read… A closer reading of the bulletin revealed that “Coffee and Otis Spunkmeyer pastries will be served in the fellowship hall”. Well, I’ve heard of a fruit-check–the Word clearly states that men are known by their fruits–but a pastry-company check?

Looking back, I don’t know whether to laugh, cry, or analyze–chuckle over the reading faux pas, or weep for the caution that drove us to such extremes. Frankly, it is a poignant moment if you’ve been so long in a fellowship wilderness that you must question every name that comes to you from a bulletin. However, I think a different course of action is in order. I don’t believe Naomi ever got her question answered, and what kind of friend would I be if I didn’t take her seriously? Does Otis Spunkmeyer, or does he not, have good theology? Let’s investigate.

Well, I know that I used to invite this gentleman into a place of worship. For several years, my home contained a room we all designated The Chapel–a place of Scripture reading, working on ministry projects, and general moments in Jesus. During several evenings in 2004, I took a cup of coffee and a chocolate-chip Otis Spunkmeyer muffin into that apartment and placed them on a low stool. Using the stool as a table, I sat on the floor near the bookcase, where I had easy access to the Bible and the CD case full of worship materials. And then, abandoning my dessert tradition before it had even begun, I would listen and read. 1 John 2:27. “Let Your Anointing Fall” by Don Moen. Prayers for more and more of His glory–rivers of living water. Feeble but heart-felt attempts at knitting a Bible case for Naomi. More worship. Purest adoration, basking in His presence. Although there were days when the coffee grew cold and the muffin dried out before I even thought to eat it, the fact of an Otis Spunkmeyer muffin in the Chapel remains. Now, I ask you, would I bring a man who wasn’t sound into these precious 2004 moments?

But all of that is personal experience. Let’s be a bit more scientific about it, shall we? We shan’t examine such things as calories and micronutrients, for those elements are never mentioned in Scripture. Instead…

* Firstly, I believe that the package designates Otis Spunkmeyer chocolate-chip muffins as Kosher dairy. Beauty, peace, and holiness! Kosher items are always sound.

* Wheat flour… What of all those wheat-related parables in Matthew 13?

* Milk products: Hmm. The Israelites were promised “a land flowing with milk and honey”, and we are told to “desire the pure milk of the Word”. More Biblical significance.

* I have no immediate access to the ingredients on a typical chocolate-chip muffin, but it would be more than reasonable for the pastries to contain salt. Symbolism: “You are the salt of the earth”…

* These muffins contain sugar, which is not nearly as Biblical as honey. However, just as no Christian is perfect, not all ingredients in food are perfectly Biblical. This symbolizes grace.

* Again, this is hearsay since I do not have access to an ingredient list, but I assume that these muffins came into contact with water at some point. I’ll let you figure that one out on your own. Naomi knows. If she ever stumbles onto this post, I will say for her benefit, “crystal-clear”.

* Of necessity, these pastries contain leavening. What of the parable of the yeast? Oh, I cherish Matthew 13!

* While certainly not present in chocolate-chip muffins, Otis Spunkmeyer cinnamon rolls contain, well, cinnamon! And did it ever occur to you, my beloved readers, that cinnamon is mentioned in Exodus and in the Song of Solomon?

* All muffins are wrapped in plastic, which isn’t Biblical in the slightest… But they are also encased in paper. Paper—parchment. Parchment–very special words, some of these being red letters. Not a direct correlation, but a vague association.

So much Scripture attached to so many ingredients. Such an abundance of joy and celebration during those prayer-closet dessert sessions.

Now, I could conclude this post one of two ways. I could play the role of a teacher and say, “My beloved readers, this is the way we must strive to think daily. Every minute of every hour, we should contemplate the things of the Lord–when we lie down and when we rise up, when we come in and when we go out. Prayer without ceasing. Whatsoever things are true, honest, just, pure–think on these things. To attach Biblical significance and symbolism to mundane experiences transforms those temporal objects and brings us closer to the Lord, even in our thoughts.” I could continue in this line of lecturing for several paragraphs, but to do so would be in clear violation of the “show, don’t tell” principle. So I will take the other route and conclude that:

Yes, dear Naomi, Otis Spunkmeyer is doctrinally sound.

Addendum: This post was composed while enjoying a glass of milk and–you probably guessed it!–a chocolate-chip Otis Spunkmeyer muffin. It was written not in the Chapel, but in the Sanctuary, another one of the many prayer-closets that comprise my life.


A Words Sketch… Of Words!










This is the evening-word tradition, and it is exquisite in beauty. It is the last thing Jedidiah says to me every night—the last human interaction I have at all, in fact, before ’tis off to rest and repose for me.

It all began several months ago. I had remarked to Naomi, Hannah, and Jedidiah that it would be so nice to conclude the day with something beautiful or edifying or even simply wholesome. Too often, we have a stress sandwich in our lives—a thick slice of turmoil, a thin and watered-down spreading of respite, followed by another coarse and grainy slice of strife–when we should have a joy sandwich, in which the Bread of Life is primary and frustration is not the focus. I proposed the “last wholesome word” idea in order to minimize some of that emotional tumult. Complete all that we need to do, then read and sing, then pray, then take ourselves off to bed with one single thought in mind. We all agreed to do it, but Jedidiah is the only one who has consistently remembered. Even after I long would have forgotten this part of our evening routine, Jedidiah continues with our word-recitation. Our WORD recitation?

And so it is every night around 11:00 PM: “David”. “Tabernacle”. “Seeking”. “River”. “Fruit”. “Solomon”. Once, the word was something like “lampstand”. In three seconds and two syllables or less, we’ve discussed everything from Levitical offerings and the glory of our risen Lord as found in Revelation to Jesus’ interactions with those who loved Him. Often, the word is abstract and I really have to ponder it before understanding the reference. Other times, the word has multiple meanings. When Jedidiah said “birds”, he could have been referring to the specific references to the seven pairs of birds brought onto the ark, to the many Scriptures about doves, or to the verse that proclaims that we shall mount up with wings like eagles. Jedidiah seldom explains the words he has chosen; they are for me to internalize—”show, don’t tell”, you know.

Sometimes, I attempt to exchange words with Jedidiah—he says “tablet”, and I am very tempted to say “covering” or “cheribum”. But then, just as I begin to hand him the word I have spent all night thinking of, something in his tone or in the very majesty of the word he has chosen stops me—stuns me into awed silence at the beauty of our holy, holy God. So, usually, the words go only one way.

I wonder if he knows, Jedidiah, the man whom the Lord loves. I wonder if he knows that I cherish the word-a-day tradition and the principle behind it. He has read Deuteronomy—numerous times, I’m sure—but does he remember what is written in chapter six, verses seven through nine: “[you] shall talk of [God’s commandments] when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. And you shall bind them as a sign upon your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates”? Does he remember, and does he know how intensely meaningful the tradition is to me?

I have a word for him. It is morning as I write this, not evening. Jedidiah has not yet given me his treasure of a word, so I cannot be so swept away by God’s awesomeness as to forget my meagre little phrase. Writing it is not part of this tradition—too formal for something generally spontaneous. And yet, despite all of this, I have a word—nay, perhaps several words–for Jedidiah today…





Grammatical Aside: You don’t get an addendum today—just a critique of our language! I wrote of “three seconds … or less”. Shouldn’t that more accurately be “fewer”—”three seconds or fewer”—since “seconds”, unlike “sand” or “water” or even “time”, can be tangibly counted? Yes, “three seconds and two syllables or FEWER”.

“To God Be the Glory!”; or, Infusion Day: A Words Sketch

Practically speaking, this is the most beautiful day in our entire month. This is the day we know as Tysabri, or Infusion Day–but I call it Miracle Day, Grace Day, and Rejoicing Day.

We pack for this occasion. We bundle Natasha’s doggy-bed into the trunk, fold battery adapters and miscellaneous cords into laptop cases, and bring along Gatorades and bottled water. We remind each other not to forget iPads and iPods, speakers and digital voice recorders. And above all, we always pack Naomi’s Bible.

We drive the fifteen minutes to the hospital, harness Natasha, and make our way across the parking lot, past a musical and fragrant water fountain if it happens to be summertime, through the double doors, and toward the medical center’s coffee shop. This is a tradition, and Infusion Day sans mochas would be akin to traipsing about an amusement park all day without going on any rides. So, we deposit our fifty pounds’ worth of personal property on tables and chairs in the coffee’s dining area, then turn our attention to the business of investigating pastries–an earnest activity indeed. There is that delightful cinnamon roll, and that delicious-looking apple turnover, and an overly-sappy brownie. Over in the little refrigerator are containers of hummus and bottles of iced tea. Oh, the options! But today is a bagel day. A toasted-sesame-seed-bagel, cream-cheese, and cinnamon-infused-chai day. A mocha day for Naomi, and a latte day for Hannah. Sadly, her latte is not as delectible as our beverages… That isn’t part of our tradition! It is Hannah’s idea to infuse the steamed milk with cinnamon before adding chai, and it is the best thing she has ever done for our special custom. The only problem: I can’t request this sort of thing from any other coffee establishment, because the cinnamon-infused-chai experience now belongs to the hospital, and only to the hospital!

Between her toasting and steaming and blending, the barista banters back and forth with us. It’s not a bagel if it’s not toasted. Perhaps it will warm up soon–she certainly hopes so. Does enjoying a varietey of coffee syrups pose a problem because it encourages unhealthy consumption, or is it a blessing because it means you have a zest for life? Oh, and by the way, how is our day going? “Very well,” Hannah says just as I exclaim, “Blessed beyond measure!” It is just this sort of comment that endows the day with such exquisite joy and peace–the freedom to describe our lives as blessed beyond description, and to know in our hearts that it is true, even if our exuberance does surprise our barista a bit.

Then it’s past the outer waiting room, down a single corridor, through a large set of doors, and into the infusion center proper. Today, we have the room to the immediate left as you go down the second corridor. And on this lovely day, we are all ensconced in our own special places. The room has two infusion chairs, and I sit in the one in the corner closest to the wall–quiet, separate, isolated, perfect for writing and reflection while observing the goings-on from a distance. And praying, of course…

And those nurses! They settle Naomi in the other infusion chair, provide all three of us with warm blankets, hand us chilled bottles of water, plug in adapters when we are too encumbered to reach the electrical outlets ourselves. And it’s not out of any form of professional obligation–they really care. They ask about Jedidiah’s life, about Hannah’s CNA certification, about what I am studying in the Word, and about Naomi’s heart as well as her heart rate. It is beautiful.

Nurse Steadfast is working with us today. Nurse Song-in-Heart is usually Naomi’s nurse, but she is off-duty at the moment. Nurse Steadfast and Nurse Song-in-Heart are best friends and enjoy talking to us about the things of God. They both have such audible joy deep within, love for the Lord that shines through their voices, that I often confuse them and call one by the other’s name. They seem to take this as a compliment.

Nurse Steadfast begins the IV. As she swabs Naomi’s arm and searches for a vein, she inquires as to how Jedidiah is doing–by way of distraction, I suppose. If it were my arm she was scrubbing, I would have no patience for something like that and would insist that we all keep silence until the IV was firmly in place–distraction works only to irritate me. However, Naomi is different and I admire Nurse Steadfast’s keen ability to make an unpleasant procedure like this one less anxiety-inducing. While the two of them chat and prepare, I take this moment to pray. I pray that the IV be placed the first time and that Nurse Steadfast be given wisdom and guidance, and I ask the Lord that Naomi’s Tysabri might be used to strengthen her body and treat her MS. When I remember, I pray that the rest of the day be free of the fatigue and headache that are often side effects of this medication. Actually, prayer is the primary reason I even come to these appointments. The coffee is delicious, the family time is beautiful, and the Bible reading we do is downright joyous, but I know I can actually serve by petitioning the Lord on Naomi’s behalf. I may not be terribly adept at guiding Naomi’s IV poll through the corridors or getting everyone situated comfortably, but I can pray, and I come just to perform this little service before the Lord. Today, the IV placement goes well and Naomi is hooked up to a line within five minutes. Praise Him!

Nurse Steadfast and Naomi continue to talk. Hannah intermittently jokes with Nurse Steadfast and plays with her gidget-gadgets–you know, cell phone, iPad, electronic toys… I write, half-listening to the swirling conversation around me and jumping in to add the occasional joyful and generally unconventional comment. We drink coffee and eat bagels, while a sense of God’s presence continues to mount in me until I can scarcely contain it. If Jedidiah had been here, we would discuss his blessing of a job. Happily, he is not here, so we can discuss his birthday and the seafood restaurant to which we plan to take him. Yum!

Finally, Nurse Steadfast gets a telephone call that necessitates her going to see another patient. Then comes my favorite part of Infusion Day–not the most important part, or my reason for being there, but my favorite part all the same–for it is then that Naomi takes my digital voice recorder, opens her Bible, and begins to read. We’ve read from John and Hebrews, Genesis and Psalms, but today is almost the best of all because we are in Mark. Now, Mark is special because there is a sense of immediacy about it and because so much of Christ’s ministry is discussed in a single chapter. Today, we are in Mark II, and all that Jesus did and said is downright overwhelming. As I listen to Jesus’ healing of a paralytic, of His words on fasting and concerning the Sabbath, and of His calling of Levi, I am reminded of the absolute glory, the great and overwhelming holiness of this Savior I serve. Without ever really being able to articulate why, I find myself in tears, raising my hands before the Lord, worshiping Him with all my heart as though this is the first time I have ever heard anything about the Trinity. It is like the first day the Lord ever taught me to praise Him, and it is all I can do not to leap out of my seat and dance with all my might, crying, “Hallelujah! Hallelujah!”

Naomi finishes reading and a profound hush, a peace-saturated silence, fills the room. I try to explain what this has meant to me, but there are no words. Just then, Nurse Steadfast returns and we resume our conversation with her. This time, all of us are a bit more reflective. We pull her in to our Bible study, discussing Lamentations and the faithfulness of God, the initial motives of the Pharisees and Jesus’ interactions with them and, above all, God’s endless and abiding love. I remark that we sometimes do wrong because we forget to what great depths we are loved by the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I then spend several moments trying to explain what God has been teaching me over the past four days–that He has been speaking to my heart through Colossians 3:3. Oh, it is marvelous!

I begin this post to the tune of several songs that Naomi and Hannah are playing on the iPod station. They’s definitely a bit more percussive than I tend to find soothing, but they do bespeak God’s mercy and somehow seem to fit this impromptu praise gathering. There’s something here, in this moment of adoring the Lord of Hosts, for every last one of us, including Nurse Steadfast.

What is the point of all this? Why am I examining what is really a rather normal day in such vivid and minute detail? Because, my beloved reader, only the Lord could have brought all of us this far. You see, Tysabri is a very intensive medication and we were all initially reluctant for Naomi to take that step. I shan’t regale you with the ins and outs, for they are not very edifying, but this was not something that any one of us was really willing to embark upon. Those first few treatments were disconcerting and somewhat bleak. There was no Bible reading, no worship, a lot less prayer. But then, two things began to happen. First, the Lord began to change our hearts–to cause us to trust in Him despite fear, pain, and anguish. Then, too, the Tysabri was working and we saw that we had less to fear–or, should I say, we saw that the Lord really did have us? So then, gradually, we began to open our hearts to what God was doing and I specifically began dedicating these infusions to His service. Then, Nurse Steadfast and Nurse Song-in-Heart entered our lives… Oh, it was all Him!

And so, this is my testimony as to what God has done–how far He has brought us, from mourning to jubilation. All glory be to our Shepherd, our Healer, our Comforter…

Addendum: “To God Be the Glory” is that exquisite hymn which proclaims the Gospel in so many perfect verses. Usually, only three verses appear in hymnals, but I have heard that Fanny Crosby actually wrote ten. If anyone has access to the other seven, please let me know, for I have been unable to find them. The best versions that I have found are by Brentwood Music and the Discovery Singers.

Restoration and Holiness, Part VI-B: “Happiness Is the Lord”

Project Walking by Faith got off to a beautiful start when the Lord used Bible Student to align my thinking. There then followed a week-long interlude in which I began to discover so very much about my status as a child of the King of Kings, and to find His faithfulness ever-present in my life despite trials.

You may remember this, my beloved reader:

* I take life literally—the Scriptures, of course, but also others’ flippant comments, utterly ridiculous jokes, things I hear in passing on the radio or television… I use the word “furlong” because it is in the King James Version, but never without thinking of a cat with long, shaggy fur—”fur-long”. It drives everyone I know crazy.

* I have life policies that prove both a blessing and a challenge. For example, if asked a question, no matter how personal, I feel it my duty before the Lord to answer as thoroughly and honestly as possible. Consequently, a simple question like “what did you eat today?” might elicit the response, “Well, I had a frapuccino drink. I believe that was right before the Lord… And one Pop-Tart, whose glazed surface bespoke nostalgia and sentiment. An alfredo dish this evening, with bread symbolic of promise and broccoli that represents relief… Bow-ties, garlic… And all of these things were right before the Lord. The alfredo sauce alone might not have been such a good idea for the temple of the Holy Spirit, but I hadn’t eaten terribly much else and I did get in quite a bit of exercise. Oh, and I had a chocolate-covered coffee bean, which I’m not sure how to evaluate.” All of that for a generalized question.

* I love the books of Leviticus and Revelation. For six months in 2003, I read almost nothing save the Old Testament, much to the consternation of some Christians who wondered why I was not more entrenched in the Gospels. They had no way of knowing that I was constantly relating what I read in Deuteronomy and Chronicles to the things of Christ Jesus. And there was no way they could have known, unless I had been bold enough to tell them, that I was so absorbed in the Hebrew Scriptures because the Lord had impressed it upon my heart to do just that.

* My favorite hymn is not “Amazing Grace” or “Sweet Hour of Prayer”, but “Arise, My Soul, Arise”. I know obscure hymns like this, but had to be introduced to “O Little Town of Bethlehem” a few years ago, because I had never heard it before. My knowledge of Christian hymnody—and, I suspect, of musical worship in general, tends to run many FURLONGS deep but not terribly wide.

* I think aloud, to blatant and sometimes surprising effect. If someone uses the phrase “well enough”, I might remark, “well enough… “It Is Well…”, “well done, thou good and faithful servant”!”.

* Most people remember faces. I remember names if they carry some sort of spiritual or emotional connotation. If a name doesn’t fit a person—if I know, for example, that a person’s name is based on Greek mythology even though the person herself has nothing to do with such things, I don’t use her name. But more than names, I remember people by what they say. If my dear friend, Tova, comes into the conversation, what immediately comes to mind is the fully-detailed memory, like a picture, of her describing the process of making challah, because that description was engaging on three or four levels and was done with the kind of instructional, intellectual je ne sais quoi that characterizes her as a person. The same principle applies for everyone I know. Sincere Sister is catalogued under two precious questions. Good Samaritan had a phrase she used that was at once gratifying and bemusing. A girl I knew in my senior year of high-school comes to mind with a bitter and angry remark she made, behind which was the most abject desperation you’ve ever seen—it would make your heart break for her. Holy Hands is in my mind as one who praises God exuberantly, like what Elizabeth must have done in Luke I. Perhaps I’m seeing the faces of their hearts?

* I once tore several important documents in such a way that some of the print material in them must surely be unrecognizable, though the non-print material remained intact. My solution to this was to tape the documents. The paper is still scarred beneath the Scotch-tape smoothings-over, but I see beauty there. The tape represents mending of something that, on the surface at least, appears hopeless.

* For the record, I don’t like the word “hopeless”. In Him, there is always hope.

* I also don’t particularly like the days of the week or the months of the year, certain idioms that have their origin so far back in medieval antiquity that few people remember those word histories anymore, and referring to Resurrection Day by any other name. I do not describe happy experiences as “wonderful” or “awesome” because those adjectives belong to the things of God. I try not to say that pain, no matter how it causes one to writher about in misery, is “excruciating”, because that word originally came from the Latin “crucify”, and what Jesus Christ did for us is too beautiful… Sadly or joyfully, however you want to think about it, I know too much about English, and I believe we Christians really ought to find a new language to speak in our day-to-day lives. Would that that were possible!

* I write Resurrection Day and Baptism-of-the-Holy-Spirit-Anniversary-Day and Freedom-Day and Just-Because-Day and Pentecost letters. I do not write Christmas letters. I do celebrate Christmas, emphatically and with all my heart and with a cross atop the Christmas tree, but I do not send letters because I’m too busy in worship, and because newsy updates are more fun to receive at other times of the year.

* If I disagree with something someone has said, I analyze his grammar.

* Peppermint tea tastes like Keith Green songs; honeybush hazelnut tastes like sunshine, running through a meadow, and the voices of loved-ones.

* I collect things—neatly-coded rather than titled songs into categories on my iPod, books for review on Bookshare, moments and memories in a little compendiom, binders of childhood experiences, fabric swatches, instruments, CDs of nostalgic sound effects… However, I have never collected “typical” items like dolls, stamps, or coins. When I was two, I had a collection of balls that must be present and accounted for at all times; when one ball whent missing, the entire collection lost its value. Now, the collections are much more complex. I have collections of collections. Trust me—I have made it a principle not to use sarcasm in this post.

* I do not take pain medication, no matter how intense the agony, because I would rather suffer searing anguish than endure ten minutes of nausea or uncontrolled drowsiness.

* I do not use contractions most of the time because they generally take up more space in Braille and because not using them provides one or two syllables’ longer of an opportunity to think before I say something that I might regret.

* I list out the events of the day right down to how many maraschino cherries will go atop my strawberry shortcake (that’s called a strawberry split, by the way, when you add extra ingredients.) Life runs better with lists…

* And rules! If I eat dinner before I feed my dog, life just doesn’t feel the same that day. The same principle applies if I end up running errands that don’t go together, or if I try to listen to a specific song on the living-room sofa when I’m used to hearing it, say, while on the porch swing.

* I name the rooms in my house. There is the Chapel, the Sanctuary, Bethel, Sunflower… The house itself is Bethesda.

* Hot water, heating blankets, tea, and Nichole Nordeman’s slower ballad-type songs are related.

* All literature expresses some universal purpose. By that definition, a children’s book like HEIDI might just be more literary than, say, ROMEO AND JULIET. I’ll debate that point at another time, but that thought has always comprised part of my general make-up.

* I am subscribed to the Children’s Bible Hour weekly podcast, and I have gleaned much in the way of joy, peace, revival, promise, and, yes, instruction from it. God’s people are God’s people, are they not, regardless of age demographics?

* I have an absolute passion for the NATO Phonetic Alphabet. I once left a voice-mail giving my E-mail address as “B as in Bravo, E as in Echo, T as in Tango…” The next day, my call was returned. The man must have decided to have a little fun with this idiosynchracy of mine, because he said, “Our website is November-Golf-Tango, and then the word “voice”…”

* Conversely… I do remember most everything that has ever happened in my life, to include the pain of a near-surgical procedure performed without anesthesia when I was an infant. I remember resisting the pain, then giving up and having my months-old thoughts consumed by the sensory overload.

* The sound of metal grating upon metal (i.e., a spoon in a metal mixing bowl) is thoroughly nauseating and I will do everything within my power to avoid it. The same goes for vegetables being cut on a plastic cutting board, and for nutmeg being grated.

* Both beef stew and, ironically, chicken noodle soup, carry loneliness with them.

* If something is bothering me, joking about it or changing the subject is invariably like rubbing salt in the wound. I don’t care what the self-help books say about either method—the only thing that works for me is staying focused on the problem and trying to solve it through prayer.

* I do multi-task, I do. I perform varied and divers activities while breathing at the same time. Other than that, most multi-tasking is close to impossible. There is no way to carry on a conversation while unloading the dishwasher and taking occasional sips of coffee simultaneously.

* If I feel that my relationship with God has been threatened—that is, if another Christian says something that I rightly or wrongly connect with my spiritual life—I am so torn up within that I cannot even single-task. This lasts as long as the struggle does, until the Lord sets me free. Anywhere from an hour to over six months.

* I’m terribly, terribly shy and sometimes find myself either at a loss for words or saying things that make sense only to me—a stumbling, nervous sort of sense.

I can write of all of this with a matter-of-fact confidence now, but it used to bother me intensely. It used to baffle and frustrate me that I was not a square peg in a round hole, or a round peg in a square hole, but an intricately-shaped, only half-polished pebble that wasn’t designed to fit into a peg-notch at all. That really upset me, and I used to spend countless hours thumbing through psychological reference texts in a fruitless attempt to find out why I was the way I was—why I had been created with such a deep perception of joy and sorrow, and why it all culminated in such an overarching sense of being the exception to every rule. Many days, I remembered and clung to the Scripture that states that we are fearfully and wonderfully made, but much of the time that knowledge was coupled with the disconcerting feeling of being a foreigner, even among my closest loved-ones.

But during the first days of Project Walking by Faith, all of that changed. Suddenly, I found that praying for friends and family consumed much more of my time than self-improvement did. I found that subscribing to podcasts of old-time classic Christian books brought more joy than skimming through the DSM-IV. That putting what I termed “revival treasures” on my iPod was more beautiful than focusing on self, self, self. That listening to said treasures, spending my mornings in the Gospel of Matthew, listening to worship music of all varieties, and allowing my heart to kneel and bow before our Lord Jesus, was so much superior to this dwelling on the various facets of my flesh. That all my analytical energies were better spent serving others.

In short, I found—no, I remembered—who I am in Christ Jesus. All else faded in the light of His glory. Suddenly, it was irrelevant whether I was like most people or living on some island faraway from the ideals of American civilization. It just didn’t matter. In those days, the Lord showed me anew that I was His servant, His child, one of His sheep—plain and simple. And when we find ourselves, our whole being, in Jesus, then there is no room for anything else—either for analyzing/taking pride in/trying to figure out our good points, or for criticizing and condemning ourselves for our sins and flaws. (I am not saying that we should not repent, but that we perfectionists, after we have asked the Lord’s forgiveness, need not dwell on our faults to the exclusion of God and His grace.) In picking myself apart all these years, I was in effect asking the Potter why He had made me the way He did—why I was the kind of vessel I was, and why I couldn’t be something else. According to Romans, I have no business questioning Him in this way!

And all of this—this laying down of self and of needless analysis, this relinquishment of self-improvement research—made room for so much in Him. Slowly, He began reminding me of things I had forgotten. I had not remembered for years the Scripture which exhorts us to “resist the devil, and he will flee”. The Lord instilled it in me again. I had stopped praying for others, feeling that my feeble prayers lacked faith and were not effectual. The Lord realigned my thinking. As He did, He filled me with a deep and abiding need to cling to His Word, to devour the Gospels as the nourishing bread of life that they are.

Then, too, I began remembering little things—not great and lofty pillars of our precious faith, necessarily, but things that used to be a blessing in the Lord. One day, I needed to know how much Coumadin I had and when I would need to get my prescription refill. Without thinking, I flung myself down on the nearest sittable surface, poured my remaining Coumadin out of the bottle, and began counting it precisely. By the end of the exercise, I had something like 58.75 mg., which translated to so many days of medication before I would need that refill. Only after I had made sure that each and every quarter-tablet was safely back in the Coumadin bottle, after I had lept up and gone about my business as though nothing had happened, did I realize why I counted out the Coumadin the way I did. In the very early days, just after I received the Holy Spirit, I counted medication this way some evenings because I thought I might be completely healed soon and wanted to know how much Coumadin would be left if that took place within a certain amount of time. I understand that my actions were imposing my timing on God’s, but as a very young Christian this was an act of worship, of trusting that God was able. Now, I know that He is still able; I still believe that He can and will heal me in His timing, whether or not I demonstrate it by measuring out medication. That day was just a reminder of how I love and loved Him, where my heart should be, and how fervently I should trust and worship Him.

Then, there was the day when earthly cares were threatening to overwhelm me like quicksand. One situation in particular was close to devastating and had my heart twisted into knots. But do you know what I remember about that moment? Being utterly miserable, crying out to God… And then trusting Him. Allowing Him to set me free from that fear in a matter of mere moments, and knowing in the Holy Spirit that everything was going to be all right, that He was in control and that I should trust Him. This is unlike me, in the flesh. On any other occasion, I might have been consumed by a situation like the one I was experiencing for days. Now, though, I simply focused on praying for the people involved—praying day and night, without ceasing, but giving all fear and pain to the One Who alone is able to heal both.

All of this, the rediscovered prayer and Scripture reading, as well as the smaller acts of worship, laid the groundwork for what the Lord was about to do. In the next post–FINALLY!—I will relate the events I have been longing to describe for five months. 21 May is coming up!

Addendum: Everyone should have the opportunity to hear “Happiness Is the Lord” at least once. The song is just that—the concept that all of our fulfillment comes not from who or what we are—or aren’t!—in the flesh, but through a relationship with our Lord and Savior. Try to find the version sung by the Heritage Singers—it is absolutely beautiful.

“How Beautiful”… Is the Body of Christ!

This is peace: To fill a glass Communion cup, one in a set of four that your sister blessed you with years ago, and take a Communion wafer from the container where they are kept. To place all these things on the lace-topped antique sewing table on which you now display such items as an olive-wood cross made in Jerusalem. To look with admiration on that table, and on the chairs you’ve placed near it, and to remember that just beneath the altar-table is the chest in which you keep tangible memories of your spiritual life, and on top of this the velvet bag in which you keep anointing oil. To anticipate time in Jesus—this is peace.

This is peace: To seat yourself on the ottoman that accompanied the gliding rocker you purhcased several years ago. To feel that piece of furniture, not really made for your seat but doing just fine as a temporary worship location, thank you!—to feel it creek and sway a bit as you sit down, and to remember that both the glider and the ottoman feature a runner-and-frame construction that is downright graceful and has provided hours far more enjoyable than the LazyBoy company has ever been able to supply. To recall the day when you listened to Vineyard’s worship music as you re-upholstered all the relevant cushions for both pieces of furniture. Worn, roughened near-burlap would never do—it had to be that deep-blue, velvet fabric you picked up somewhere. As you think on that day of fabric, safety pins, and purest adoration, you remember another glorious time when you were in the manifest glory of God, His holy presence. That day is too personal to print now, though you may try later. His glory—that is peace.

This is peace: To seek out worship music, and to find an abundance of it. Voices blended in unison, illustrating in vivid audible detail Jesus’ words: “Where two or more are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them”. And so it is—listening to those recordings from Keswick and Stoneleigh conferences, Hosanna! Music, and the various Vineyard churches and Calvary Chapels, you hear the anointing of the Holy Spirit in each one of the singers’ instruments. Musicians’ lutes cry out in praise, and harps and pianos join the symphony of adoration. Those beloved, old, refreshing, new songs—yet more and greater peace.

This is peace: Just surrendering. “Just to trust His cleansing blood…” Taking all the turmoil of the carnal trials you’ve experienced over the past three weeks and placing them at the foot of the cross. Remembering His promises neither to leave nor to forsake you, and believing them. Recalling, too, His recent promise to your heart, that He would restore you and return years wasted in sorrow and mourning, that He would cause you to forget the pain of past spiritual deserts… His promises—infinite, unspeakable peace.

This is peace: A precious song, by the Starsong Artists if it matters at all, entitled “How Beautiful”. To hear the Gospel outlined, then proclaimed, in this anthem. Ah, the amalgomation of the music you’ve just been cherishing and the promises the Lord has just reiterated to you! “How beautiful”, how beautiful indeed… And now is the time to allow those words of joy and comfort to wash over you, to renmember His gift as you prepare for Communion, to think on “the body of Christ”, the hands that served and the feet that walked the road to Calvary, the heart that loved us and forgave and took our sins… His gift, His sacrifice—is there anymore room for that flood of peace?

This is peace: To forgit that, ten minutes before, you had not really even been feeling close to the Lord. To remember that life lived in Him is not about feelings and experience, but at the same time to rejoice in what you are being given. To worship with your very, with your heart and mind and soul and strength, to attempt to pour words onto paper, to set down His love so that others may read about all that the Lord is able to do–His power and glory and might. To love the Lord—purest peace.

This is peace. We call it the Normal Christian Life, we sometimes dismiss it when all is going well, we take it for granted when we allow ourselves to forget—but this is the sort of joy, love, and blessing that the Lord pours out upon us day by day. This is the relationship that God wants for us to have with Himself, the contented, worship-saturated life we have the privilege of leading. And it is so wonderful to draw and be drawn nigh unto Him, to trust in His provision, to accept freedom and reject the lie of bondage that has consumed you for so many days. Above all, to remember His words: “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give unto you. I do not give as the world gives…” Perfect peace.

Addendum: No, not my usual song credit—you’ll find that in the body of this post. A year or so ago, I read an account by a father of a developmentally-delayed child. This little girl had a great deal of difficulty communicating most of the time. One day, though, she was on the beach, just appreciating so many of the small details that many people would overlook. Suddenly, she cried out, “This is beauty—hallelujah!” The father was taken aback, but was soon caught up in his daughter’s elation. Down the beach they danced and frolicked, both of them taking up the daughter’s concept and periodically shouting, “This is beauty—hallelujah!” Oh, that we all praised our Lord with so spontaneous and devoted a heart! This is my contribution to that effort. This is His overwhelming peace—hallelujah!

“You Alone Are Worthy of My Praise!”

Ever since my first infusion of it in 2007, I have dreaded Cathflo–and not just because that spelling drives me nearly berserk each time I see it. Cathflo, or TPA, is a medication used for maintaining infusion ports, among other things, and it has historically been extremely helpful. However, my experience of it has always been fraught with difficulty in some form or other: first, nurses at an infusion center placed too much emphasis on side effects for any personal comfort; then, about three months ago, the TPA didn’t infuse properly. That, coupled with some negative associations that really have nothing to do with the TPA, have combined to make life a little more challenging during those monthly infusions.

Yesterday was particularly difficult. I was already feeling overwhelmed and needed little help from this infusion. Then, too, I was consumed in many a spiritual worry. I know–I should have heeded Jesus’ words not to worry and gone on with a joyful heart–but the Lord still has much work to do in my life. Yesterday’s concerns were twofold–first, that I simply wasn’t feeling terribly close with God, despite my efforts at daily worship and Scripture reading; also, that I really hadn’t had many people to discuss the things of the Lord with over the past several months. And, my beloved readers, you have no idea how much you need to discuss Galatians with someone until said individual(s) are caught up in their own busy lives, and you must resort to journaling about Galatians instead.

So begins the narrative about the needle and I. A few minutes of distracted singing while the procedure was being performed, some manipulating of claves and IV-like tubes and syringes, and then the TPA was left to do its work. Oh, yes–did I mention that part of the TPA process involves waiting an hour–in my case, a sixty-minute timeslot filled with crawling, anxious seconds?

My beloved readers, never underestimate the power or the love of God.

About ten minutes into all of this, the phone rang–a nuisance call, I thought, some call about an upcoming conference or a meeting that would soon need to be scheduled. The area code wasn’t local, though–perhaps…

And then, I recognized it. No one I know has that particular area code save Spirit-Filled Nurse.

Now, you really can’t grasp the depth of this without a bit of background. I first “met” Spirit-Filled Nurse as an infant, just before I went into surgery. While I don’t actually remember any of this, my mother was quite concerned about the outcome of the surgery. S.F.N. approached her without hesitating–without even stopping to inquire about what she believed–and said, “I’m going to stay right with that baby, and I won’t stop praying until the surgery is over.” There is no doubt in my mind that she did just that. Over the years, S.F.N. stayed in touch with our family. She has always had a simple, worship-centered way of communicating, so we established common ground very early. I’ll never forget the time she phoned when I was in first-grade.

“Hallelujah!” she exclaimed, as soon as she heard my greeting. No small-talk, no questions about school and friends, just praise.

“Hallelujah!” I replied without reservation. “Oh, I love Jesus…”

And so it went. That first conversation laid the groundwork for all that was to follow–every discourse from that time to this has been so filled with the love of the Lord that there remains little time for anything else. And that’s exactly the way we want it.

And so it was yesterday: As soon as I took the telephone from Naomi, Spirit-Filled Nurse filled the room with encouragement. “I just got your letter… I loved it–oh, He is worthy to be praised!”

I should note here that being able to communicate with S.F.N. often seems like a miracle in itself. She has a thick, beautiful accent, which is wonderful to hear if you’re meeting face-to-face, but sometimes impedes communication over the terrible phone connection we always seem to establish. Martha, Naomi, Hannah–even Jedidiah!–say that I’m the only one who can consistently understand every word she says. I think that’s the work of the Holy Spirit…

“Yes, He’s worthy to be praised,” she continued. And then, “And everything’s going to be all right.”

Not that I had said anything about my concerns, mind you. But I’m convinced that S.F.N. has the gift of prophecy, whether she knows it or not. Once, many years ago, I was in absolute anguish over a beloved brother and sister in Christ. I didn’t want to get into the details, though, so I said something innocuous. “Please, pray for me–PRAY FOR ME!” Her response: “Don’t worry. They’re all right now.” Now, aside from the power of God, how did she come to talk about “them” when I was asking for prayer for “myself”?

That said, “everything-will-be-all-right” coming from her almost has a tendency to sound as though it is coming from the Lord. Immediately, I was filled with peace regarding the procedure at hand. Then, too, there was a deeper peace–that all the cares and concerns with which I had hitherto been burdened would be used to glorify God, and/or taken from me in His time. Praise His name!

There then commenced the prose-psalm that S.F.N. has taught me ever since I could first communicate. It’s a song of sorts, sans music notes–a dramatic poem for two voices, without rhyme or meter or rhythm. Pure, glorious praise of God’s grace, glory and love–and of a quality that renders all other discussion superfluous. Case in point: I’m pretty sure Spirit-Filled Nurse has retired, but I don’t know that for a fact and I have no idea what else she may be doing. She has continued reading the Word–that’s what counts.

Back to the poem. Without either of us intending it, it does take on a rhythm–a musical quality that is absolutely joyful, but that I have never been able to establish with anyone else. But, if you want to talk about the Lord sometime with someone whom you feel is like-minded, this is how it usually works: Person A says something about His greatness, and Person B agrees and rephrases it, then adds a second and related point. Person A then takes the new point, clarifies it, and adds on to it–but all of this in a mere three or four phrases. Most of my conversations with S.F.N. go something like this:

“Hallelujah! He is worthy to be praised!”

“Yes, so worthy… He is wonderful, so wonderful!”

“He is wonderful, and He will never leave nor forsake you. Remember that.”

“I will remember, and focus on Him. Ever and always.”

“Yes, you MUST focus on Him! Don’t let the enemy attack you–”

“Because greater is He Who is in you than he that is in the world–”

“Yes! Great is He!”

“Great is our Lord… By His wounds we are healed…”

“We are healed! And saved and restored…”

“Restored, at peace with God. Hallelujah! He is worthy!”

“Worthy to be praised… Well, I’d better go now.”

And so we hang up. The entire conversation has taken less than five minutes, but everything that was ever worth saying has now been said.

And that was how it went on the day of the Cathflo. Mere seconds, a river of peace. What I came away with–and hold in my heart to this present hour–is that our Lord is in control of even the most unpleasant of circumstances; that He will take my burdens if I cast those cares upon Him; and that He will never, never forsake me. And, if that weren’t enough, I have learned one more joyous thing from this whole experience–that the Body of Christ has not abandoned me either–Spirit-Filled Nurse will make sure of that.

Addendum: I’m sure many of my readers are already familiar with the worship song “You Alone Are Worthy of My Praise”, commonly known as “I Will Worship”/ It’s a wonderful call-and-response anthem, reflective of what S.F.N. and I do. What’s more, it can be played in nearly every musical style–from upbeat praise to on-your-knees worship. The version I’m thinking of is by the English worship leader Martin Ball and appears on the album COME TO THE THRONE. ACTUALLY, the version I’m thinking comes from a Victory church and was sung by Ready-Writer and her family in 2003, but I never recorded that version and so the rest of you will just have to settle for Martin Ball!

“Jesus, I Am Resting, Resting”

Today’s post, my beloved readers, will be about Sabbath observance–but wait! Before you all immediately begin dividing into two camps and proclaim that either (a.), Jesus never told us to observe the Sabbath anywhere in the New Testament or (B.), that I should have been making this a part of my Christian life long ago, give this post a chance and try to internalize the principle of the thing. For, really, I’m not discussing church attendance, Sunday vs. Saturday observance, or the lack of work in the strictest sense. No, really, I want to try to express the ineffable joy of the Normal Christian Life–and with it, one more tool that I have found helpful.

Several months ago, the Lord Jesus called me to holiness and to a stronger, greater, deeper love for Himself. He called me in a marvelous way that will not soon be forgotten. Since that time, I’ve been far from perfect–those sinful ways that I’ve attempted to abandon ever since I came to know Him still remain with me to some extent–but I have been trying to love, worship, and serve our Lord more fervently. The changes are gradual and sometimes don’t seem enough–I want to be refined and transformed all at one, I do! But in His way and in His timing, I trust that the Lord is conforming me to His image: learning to speak the love language of a sister in Christ one day so I can reach her heart with His grace, increasing in boldness the next day so I can be a more effective witness for the Gospel of Christ, learning to honor Him in concrete actions such as what I eat and how I spend my time. It’s an ongoing process, and I seem to slip and stumble more often than I stand and walk, but in moments like those, I find that the Lord’s lovingkindness is new every morning. I love how Andrew Peterson expressed it in one of his songs: “I realize that falling down [isn’t] graceful, / But I thank the Lord that falling’s full of grace.” Oh, how great is His love!–greater than a multitude of our sins, of my frequent disobedience, of every slip and stumble I experience as I travel from the Palace Beautiful down into this beautified Valley of Humiliation…

But I am off the subject–and, unlike a post I penned a few weeks ago, this one does have a clear point and will hopefully make some semblance of sense once I’m done with it.

One thing the Lord has been convicting me to do: To spend more time resting in Him, reading His Word and learning His ways, and less time attempting to learn other things. Fewer memoirs and psychological textbooks (which, if you can believe it, I sometimes read for fun!) and word origins and histories of everything from ancient medicine to Laura Bridgman. Fewer of those, more of I and II Peter, Revelation, John, Hebrews, Ezekiel… Less wallowing in my own self-pity, more singing unto the Lord. Less time soliloquizing about my own problems, more time in prayer for others. “More of [Him], and less of me”. (Go find that song by Don Moen–please?)

The Lord has further convicted me personally that part of this means giving Him a day of worship each week. Because the early Christians seem to have met together on Sunday (see I Corinthians 16:2), I’ve chosen to give Him my Sundays. Now, please keep in mind that I’m speaking only of me–I’m not trying to tell you what to do in your own lives, but to discuss how one child of God has been blessed and touched, in hopes that some of it might bless and encourage others. Show, don’t tell; use personal experience rather than entreaty; pathos, not logos… [Insert your own literary, philosophical, or critical-thinking cliché/word of wisdom here.]

So, back to Sunday. For all I seem to spend most of my time on this blog and/or doing volunteer work, many of my readers are probably scratching their heads, wondering what I could possibly need to rest from–what “work” I would need to postpone. Ah, but all of life sometimes feels like work to me. Exercise constitutes work–both physical and emotional exertion–because my heart processes in such a way as to render the activity quite legalistic unless I’m constantly on-guard against that mindset. Working with my guide-dog requires a good deal of concentration and is a bit like driving. So, no “driving” on Sunday, and no treadmill, ab-lounge, or brisk winter stroll unless said stroll is designed for the express purpose of glorifying God. That, and no running errands with the obvious exception of church attendance. Loving on my guide-dog, and demonstrating love to family, will always be permitted–though doing an extensive project that requires mental effort may not. Worship-writing is more than permissible, especially since I don’t have a platform to speak of Him–which is something that was always permitted on days of rest throughout Scripture. However, the volunteer proofreading I do must be carefully evaluated to determine whether the material I’m working with will truly glorify God–“Oh, be careful little intellect what you read!” Then, too, there’s the necessity of gently admonishing myself, “Child of God, you will rest from all anxiety, fear, pain, anger, frustration, sorrow, mourning, grief, and if there be any other negative emotion…” The goal here is to delight myself in the Lord and to place myself–heart, mind, soul, and strength, in the loving hands of Jesus, ideally for the rest of my life, but especially on this newly-observed Sabbath.

Today was my first day of pursuing this new facet of holiness in absolute earnest. I approached it with caution–no, if I’m being honest with myself, I approached it with trepidation. What if I got caught up in something else? What if I simply didn’t, for some reason? What if I displeased Him? What if, despite all my flexible guidelines, I did something blatantly outside them? Was I even really interpreting God’s will on this matter correctly?

Oh, how the Lord takes our tiny mustard-seed of faith or obedience and causes it to grow! Today has been nothing but joyful, rewarding, glorious time in Jesus–like a fast, but without giving up food for the moment. God willing, that will come soon, for I’m longing for such a day. Like a fast, but also like a jubilee feast. Like Resurrection Day in my heart. Like pure, perfect revival. Like crystal-clear water and finest linen.

Did I really think it would be a sacrifice? Did I really believe that foregoing my work proofing a book by Nancy Rue would be all that difficult? Did I really, truly believe I would displease the Lord, or that I couldn’t give Him this day at all? I see now that I had these same feelings the first day I ever decided to seek the Lord with prayer and fasting, back in 2004. I didn’t know quite how to go about it, and I didn’t really have as much faith as I ought to have had that the Lord would use my moments of seeking Him. Then, He flooded that day with pure and perfect peace, and my prayers during that day were even answered–restoration and reconciliation where I thought none could ever exist again.

So, too, with today. I can’t say that anything in this day was extraordinary–but my heart was so filled with joy as to render everything glorious. A cherry-flavored Lara-Bar whose tartness reflected the conviction and urgency of the book I did proofread, THE CALLING by Brother Andrew. The sense of joy in serving others that pervaded my spirit as I wrote brothers and sisters in Christ–not to ask for prayer, but to attempt to pour encouragement into their lives. Worshiping Him with proverbial pen and paper as I described His manifest presence, or focused on His love and mercy. And all the while, the same thoughts kept flowing in and out of my every moment like a gentle worship ballad–healing and restoration, restoration and healing, the comforting power of the Holy Spirit. (He’s been laying Scriptures about healing on my heart lately–I don’t know why, but I praise Him for it.. Meanwhile, sipping the mocha drink that has always been associated with the awesome mercy of Jesus ever since I consumed the same beverage on the day when He gave me an allegory about His love–a tangible connection to that wondrous hour of three months ago. Songs and hymns and spiritual songs, intertwining to form what my sense of poetry insists on calling a musical prayer-cloth. “My Song Is Love Unknown”. “Will Your Anchor Hold You in the Flood”, “Jesus, I Am Resting, Resting”, a song about the Carpenter’s strong and loving hands, “In the Beauty of Holiness”… Oh, hallelujah! The love of Jesus, cleansing all the sorrow that had hitherto coated my being, replacing tears of pain with tears of joy. The joy that has come from this one day is absolute, unalloyed by external reservations or intimidation, and as precious as the joy I knew when I first received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Little things, like a sister in Christ promising to send me spiritually-encouraging material, filled me with more joy and hope than the same events would have had they taken place yesterday evening. Already, I’m planning my blog posts for Good Friday and Resurrection Day–a miracle of the heart, since my since of initiative and project-planning had long been crushed by circumstance. But now, now on this special Sabbath, I know what do do in celebrating the day of “HE IS RISEN!”. Knowing that the General Epistles and the book of Revelation await me is so marvelous that words cannot express it.

And all of this, on just one day. “In Your Presence, O God!”

I don’t know if I can express, either, what the Lord has done in this day. Somehow, a transformation has taken place–some broken fragment of my spiritual life has been restored entirely. I can’t explain how or what, but I do know that He has done a beautiful work, and that things are likely to be different now in the way I cling to Jesus Christ. Perhaps less fear and more trust. Less legalism. More freedom to be like Mary of Bethany–sitting at His feet like I’ve always loved to do, but without worrying about what the rest of society, whom I shall collectively refer to as Martha, will think of it all. And this, all in one little step of obedience. Our God is an awesome God!

Addendum: “Jesus, I Am Resting, Resting” is a full, rich hymn with ten thousand layers of meaning. The version on which this post is based, and the rendering you’re looking for, is by Grace Community Church. Their tune is reminiscent of still waters, while Keswick’s is more indicative of high mountaintops and the Father’s majesty–both beautiful themes, but not what I would use in an audible object lesson for this piece.