I slept LATE this morning - later than my usual Sabbath-day rest - it was close to noon before I wandered out of bed! And when I found myself coming to consciousness from that deep and sweet sleep, I realized I was singing the words and tune to a new setting of "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing."
O to grace how great a debtor daily I'm constrained to be!
Let thy goodness, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love;
here's my heart, O take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above.
Yeah, yeah, I know - what a church geek, right? And at the same time, what a lovely prayer to awaken to. Come, thou Fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing thy grace; streams of mercy, never ceasing, call for songs of loudest praise. Teach me some melodious sonnet, sung by flaming tongues above. Praise the mount! I'm fixed upon it, mount of thy redeeming love.
St. Frederick Buechner, the bard of Vermont, once wrote that "If God speaks anywhere, it is into our personal lives that he speaks." At another time he also observed that "there is no event so commonplace but that God is present within it, always hiddenly, always leaving you room to recognize him or not recognize him, but all the more fascinatingly because of that, all the more compellingly and hauntingly... so listen to your life... because in the last analysis all moments are key moments and life itself is grace."
Last night I got a note from a German publisher that they might be interested in bringing my dissertation to print. I hope that is true, but the thing that had me laughing so hard I almost peed my pants was that they got the title so wrong. Instead of MY version - While My Guitar Gently Weeps: A Spirituality of Rock Music - they (and the Google Book site) posted it as While My Guitar Gently SLEEPS! How humbling, yes? Because, of course, that is exactly what this book has done: slept (along with a few friends and family who have tried to make their way through it.)
So I went to sleep laughing and woke up singing. It would seem that for at least today, I sense somewhere in my soul that all of life is, indeed, grace. Then I read these words after a light breakfast:
This lullaby of love and justice (Mary's Magnificat) has been cascading down through the centuries from the very beginning, passing from generation to generation. Its melody rises with the opening divine words of creation and its refrain has been resounding ever since. It's a great symphony, a masterpiece of kindness, righteousness and hope - and the final movement has now begun, fulfilled in our hearing, audible in our singing whenever we join the happy chorus. At our best, the Christian church is this choir. The Spirit fills us. Jesus stands with us and within us. Should the door be left ajar, God our father and our mother will look in on us and smile for we are God's children, anointed to the vital, dignified, tangible business of caring, the gentle and luminous work of love.
(Matthew Myer Boulton, Christian Century)
No wonder one of the men at church wrote me that when he couldn't remember the prayer/affirmation we are using this month with water - the words from the baptism of Jesus: I am God's beloved and my life has meaning - he just starts singing "O Happy Day" at the sink: he washed my sins away... o happy day!