Another year comes and goes...

In two days I will be 56 - another year comes and goes - and all too quickly. Last year at this time we were slowly driving across the United States spending time in small "blue highway" towns a la William Least Heat Moon or maybe even Kerouac. We took our time, drank great local beers and watched as summer worked the earth and sky.

Then it was on to London for a month of wandering and learning about our Muslim sisters and brothers - and a ton of great music and theatre to boot! Living in a small flat in the "Middle East End" awakened me to how easy it is for Americans to act like the world revolves around us - and at such a cost. I give thanks to God for hearing this song by The Cinematic Orchestra, "All Things to All Men," one rainy day for it shook me from a slumber I wasn't even aware I was experiencing.

Look at the monster you make
Look at the monster you pay
But you claim no responsibility
But you claim not
We're searching for Jezus
But I'll be damned if I'll be crucified

By 10,000 spies - compulsive lies
They Hate Me - They Love Me
They Hate Me cause I'm All Things to All Men
All of the Women, All the Children
Just say when and I'll take you to my Tardis
Who's the Hardest, Who's the Hardest

Back from London we went into daughter number two's wedding, learning about life in small town America and then starting a new gig in a new church and a new band, too: Between the Banks. Three songs have shaped this year as I think back on it:

+ Thunder on the Mountain by Bob Dylan (in which a seriously old guy does his best work while having fun and preaching some good news, too - we used this at my installation)
+Falling Softly by Glenn Hansard and Marketa Irglova (from the movie, "Once" which we did for a contemporary reality Good Friday worship experience)

+Need One by Martina Topley-Bird (so soulful, compassionate, salty and embodied that it makes me certain that the Word can become Flesh in any one's life!)

And now, as I come upon almost a year of working with my new friends at our new church - and as next week brings another wedding for daughter number one and the death of my long time friend and mentor Sam - I think of the poem by William Bulter Yeats that speaks to what I have discerned this year:

I met the Bishop on the road
And much said he and I.'
Those breasts are flat and fallen now,
Those veins must soon be dry;
Live in a heavenly mansion,
Not in some foul sty.''

Fair and foul are near of kin,
And fair needs foul,' I cried.
'My friends are gone, but that's a truth
Nor grave nor bed denied,
Learned in bodily lowliness
And in the heart's pride.'

A woman can be proud and stiff
When on love intent;
But Love has pitched his mansion in
The place of excrement;
For nothing can be sole or whole
That has not been rent.'
Thanks be to God for a full and wonderful year.


Black Pete said…
Birthday blessings, RJ.
Nick Coke said…
I love the fact you had 'Thunder on the Mountain' at your installation. What a great choice of song and I imagine completely unique in the world of 'installation services'!

Popular Posts