There's a Trick of the Light I'm Learning to Do

This is a collection of songs I wrote and recorded in January - March, 2020 while on sabbatical from ministry. They each deal with a different aspect or expression of the Gospel. Click on the image above to listen.

Three Hands Clapping

This is my latest recording project (released May 27, 2019). It is a double album of 22 songs, which very roughly track the story of my life... a sort of musical autobiography, so to speak. Click the album image to listen.

Ghost Notes

Ghost Notes
A collections of original songs I wrote in 2015, and recorded with the FreeWay Musical Collective. Click the album image to listen.

inversions

Recorded in 2014, these songs are sort of a chronicle of my journey through a pastoral burn-out last winter. They deal with themes of mental-health, spiritual burn-out and depression, but also with the inexorable presence of God in the midst of darkness. Click the album art to download.

soundings

soundings
click image to download
"soundings" is a collection of songs I recorded in September/October of 2013. Dealing with themes of hope, ache, trust and spiritual loss, the songs on this album express various facets of my journey with God.

bridges

bridges
Click to download.
"Bridges" is a collection of original songs I wrote in the summer of 2011, during a soul-searching trip I took out to Alberta; a sort of long twilight in the dark night of the soul. I share it here in hopes these musical reflections on my own spiritual journey might be an encouragement to others: the sun does rise, blood-red but beautiful.

echoes

echoes
Prayers, poems and songs (2005-2009). Click to download
"echoes" is a collection of songs I wrote during my time studying at Briercrest Seminary (2004-2009). It's called "echoes" partly because these songs are "echoes" of times spent with God from my songwriting past, but also because there are musical "echoes" of hymns, songs or poems sprinkled throughout the album. Listen closely and you'll hear them.

Accidentals

This collection of mostly blues/rock/folk inspired songs was recorded in the spring and summer of 2015. I call it "accidentals" because all of the songs on this project were tunes I have had kicking around in my notebooks for many years but had never found a "home" for on previous albums. You can click the image to download the whole album.

blogs I follow

Readings, 2020

Readings, 2020
Paradise Lost, John Milton

Adorning the Dark, Andrew Peterson

The Soul of Shame, Curt Thompson

Cure for the Common Life, Max Lucado

Halos and Avatars, Craig Detweiller, ed.

Fool's Talk, Os Guinness

Brendan, Frederick Buechner

The Screwtape Letters

Surprised by Joy, C. S. Lewis

The Pilgrim's Regress, C. S. Lewis

Becoming Whole, Brian Finkert and Kelly Kapic

Real Sex, Lauren Winner

Out of the Silent Planet, C. S. Lewis

Voyage to Venus, C. S. Lewis

That Hideous Strength, C. S. Lewis

Till We Have Faces, C. S. Lewis

random reads

Standing on the God-Trodden Mountain

There's a monastery at the foot of Mt. Sinai called St. Catherine's (its official name is "The Sacred and Imperial Monastery of the God-Trodden Mount of Sinai"). My Father-in-Law was vacationing in Egypt not long ago and as we were perusing his post-trip photos, this picture of a painting at St. Catherine's caught my eye.

Though I didn't know it until just then, this is exactly the scene I would have expected to see illustrated in a Christian monastery at the foot of Mount Sinai: The Mount of Transfiguration. As I stared at the photo, both the Mount of Transfiguration and Mt Sinai stood out with new clarity on the horizon of my imagination.

I don't think evangelicals really know what to do with the Transfiguration. Our doctrine of inerrancy assures us that it happened, jot-and-tittle the way it's reported; but beyond that, what it means is anyone's guess. The only sermon I can ever remember having heard about the Transfiguration focused more on the actions of Peter than Jesus.

But here's some beef-jerky for thought to chew on: besides the Mount of Transfiguration, I can only think of one other holy hill where the feet of both Elijah and Moses have walked. That's Sinai. Moses hid in the cleft of a rock and saw the back of the Lord's glory as he passed; Elijah hid in a cave as the Lord passed by with the sound of crushed silence. Moses met the Lord on Sinai and later brought the newly-created people of God there so God could cut his covenant with them. And later still, Elijah met the Lord on Sinai after he had fled there, complaining (wrongly) that the covenant had failed.

Covenant and theophany: Sinai is that sacred and imperial mountain where the Lord himself once trod in glory to establish and affirm His promise to his despondent people.

But centuries later, three men walked with Jesus up a different mountain. There, squinting suddenly in the light of his transfigured glory, they found themselves standing on a new God-trodden mountain. And wonder of wonders: history removed her veil, mysterious past kissed hopeful future, heaven caressed earth for a breathtaking moment--and the two men of faith who had once come within touching distance of the glory of the Lord on Sinai now stepped into the present and spoke with him face to face.

"They spoke" says Luke, "About his departure which was about to bring fulfillment at Jerusalem." But the Greek word Luke uses for "departure" is not the word we'd expect (like maybe aperchomai); he actually says, "They spoke to him about his exodus." Of course, exodus literally means "going out," but Luke has used a weighted word here, one that points his readers back to the Exodus and Sinai, even as it points them ahead to the cross-crowned hill outside Jerusalem.

Somehow, in the Transfigured Jesus we discover the one who will bring all the God-glimpsing and promise-making of Sinai to their final fulfillment.

So perhaps nothing could be more fitting for an illustration at the foot of Mt. Sinai than this painting, pointing us away from Sinai to the unnamed mountain of transfiguration. For the transfiguration of Jesus reminds us that it is no longer on Sinai, sacred as it is, that we encounter the Glory of the Lord; it is no longer to this mountain that the people of God look for the reminder of the divine covenant that binds them together.

Or any mountain, for that matter.

It is in Jesus. Because in the presence of his broken body and poured out blood we discover ourselves a covenant people once more, catching glimmers of the glory of the Lord. And whenever his nail-pierced feet stand in the midst of the people gathered together in his name, that ground becomes a God-trodden mountain all over again.

0 comments: