Holy, Holy, Holy

This is by far my favorite version of the classic hymn by one of my favorite artists, Sufjan Stevens. (Not sure who did the video but it’s the only one I can find)

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee;
There is a sign at the sight of thee, merciful and mighty!
God in three Persons, God in three Persons, blessed Trinity!

Holy, holy, holy! though the darkness hide Thee,
Though the eye of sinful man Thy glory may not see;
Only Thou art holy; there is none beside Thee,
Perfect in power, perfect in power, in love and purity.

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
All Thy works shall praise Thy Name, in earth, and sky, and sea;
There is a sign at the sight of thee, there is none beside Thee;
God in three Persons, God in three Persons, God in three Persons,
God in three Persons, blessed Trinity!

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“Minuit, Chrétiens” (Midnight, Christians)

A translation of the original french poem 
"Minuit, Chrétiens" by Placide Cappeau, which 
later became the english carol "O Holy Night".  

Midnight, Christians, it is the solemn hour
When God as man descended unto us
To erase the stain of original sin
And to end the wrath of his Father
The entire world thrills with hope
On this night that gives it a Savior

     People kneel down, wait for your deliverance
     Christmas, Christmas, here is the Redeemer
     Christmas, Christmas, here is the Redeemer

May the ardent light of our faith
Guide us all to the cradle of the infant
As in ancient times a brilliant star
Guided the Oriental kings there
The King of kings was born in a humble manger
O mighty ones of today, proud of your greatness

     It is to your pride that God preaches
     Bow your heads before the Redeemer
     Bow your heads before the Redeemer

The Redeemer has broken every bond
The earth is free, and heaven is open
He sees a brother where there was only a slave
Love unites those who iron had chained
Who will tell him of our gratitude
For all of us He is born, He suffers and dies

      People stand up, sing of your deliverance
      Christmas, Christmas, sing of the Redeemer
      Christmas, Christmas, sing of the Redeemer

Even Jesus Wept

How difficult it is to cope when we cannot see the reasons for why God allows certain things to happen. How cruel and arbitrary it can seem when the woes of this life befall us, when death steals our loved ones and despair pierces our hearts. Indeed, it can be overwhelming to make sense of the mess we’re in but to believe in God means we must have faith that He is in control, that He knows what He’s doing, and that He works all things for the good of those who love Him (Rom 8:28).  His ways and His thoughts are higher than ours (Isa 55:9) and we cannot presume to understand His eternal scope nor can we see the fullness of His plans for us. To paraphrase a parable I once read:

It is like a man who comes upon the construction of a building that is only half-finished and says to the builder, “This place is a mess, there is dirt and rubble everywhere and nothing is put together properly” The builder in reply says, “Have patience friend, what you see now is a work in progress, but once completed you will marvel at its beauty.”

The world is still in the process of being restored, and in the meantime there is a biblical precedent for the suffering of believers (Rom 5:3-4; 2 Thess 1:4; 2 Tim 2:3; 1 Peter 4:12-13). Christians are not spared trials; they are not spared pain. In fact, Scripture makes it clear that suffering will be used in the sanctification of believers; just as pressure creates diamonds from coal and gold is refined in the fire. Even the Son of God suffered and died in order to bring salvation to his people.

However, the knowledge that God uses our trials for good does not take away the sadness we feel, and that’s OK. Jesus wept at the tomb of his friend Lazarus even though he knew he would raise him back to life moments later. Why? I believe it’s because sorrow is a proper response to the sufferings of this world, and Jesus, who is the source of life, was acknowledging death as something terrible. There are times when it is right for us to be sorrowful and mourn over the reality of our fallen state; to let the hurt we feel be a sobering reassurance of our weakness and frailty and a reminder of how much we need the everlasting arms of our Father to embrace us; He is our only hope and refuge. For God has promised, to those who put their faith in Him, that all our pain and suffering will not have been in vein, and even our deaths are not the end, but rather a new beginning.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” (John 14:1-3)

“No longer will there be a curse upon anything. For the throne of God  and of the Lamb will be there, and his servants will worship him. And they will see his face, and his name will be written on their foreheads. And there will be no night there – no need for lamps and sun – for the Lord God will shine on them. And they will reign forever and ever. (Revelation 22:3-5)

The End of All Things (A Hymn for the Trinune God)

Our God is the Father, the Spirit, and Son
One God in three Persons; three Persons in One
And the heavenly host adore Him and sing
  For the glory of God is the end of all things

The Father Almighty has shown His great love
With every good gift that has come from above
And the righteous are safe in the shade of His wings
  'Till the world is made new at the end of all things

The Son took on flesh; for our sins He did die
Resurrected to life and ascended on high
The Lord of all lords and the King of all kings
  His power shall reign at the end of all things

The Spirit indwells and new birth is received
Salvation bestowed upon all who've believed
In truth He shall lead them with gifts that He brings
  And the church will arise at the end of all things

The sun, moon, and stars are the work of His hands
And history bends to the will of His plans
The heavens cry out and eternity sings:
  'The glory of God is the end of all things'

Monday Morning Music (Gungor – Please Be My Strength)

On Time

On Time


By John Milton (1608-1674)

Fly, envious Time, till thou run out thy race;
Call on the lazy leaden-stepping hours,
Whose speed is but the heavy plummet’s pace;
And glut thyself with what thy womb devours,
Which is no more then what is false and vain,
And merely mortal dross;
So little is our loss,
So little is thy gain.
For when, as each thing bad thou hast entomb’d
And last of all thy greedy self consumed,
Then long Eternity shall greet our bliss,
With an individual kiss;
And Joy shall overtake us, as a flood,
When every thing that is sincerely good,
And perfectly divine,
With truth, and peace, and love, shall ever shine,
About the supreme throne
Of Him, to whose happy-making sight, alone,
When once our heavenly-guided soul shall climb,
Then all this earthly grossness quit,
Attired with stars, we shall for ever sit,
Triumphing over Death, and Chance, and thee, O Time!

Trinitarian Miscellanies (#1)

Triquetra-circle-interlaced
God the Father

sends
God the Son
who dies and rises and sends
God the Holy Spirit
to indwell the believer who is then enabled by
God the Holy Spirit
to put their faith in the dying and rising of
God the Son
for their salvation and reconciliation to
God the Father.