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

random reads

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

Screwtape Proposes a Toast, C. S. Lewis

Standing in the Gap: a Reflection on Worship

A while ago, a friend of mine was reading through the Bible, cover to cover for the first time.  She did pretty well with Genesis and Exodus, but when she got to Leviticus, things started to get rocky.

“Why the sudden obsession with cleanliness and animal sacrifice?” she wondered.

While all those elaborate rituals and detailed sacrifices in Leviticus may seem strange to modern readers like us, they’re actually crucial for understanding the person and the ministry of Jesus Christ.

Because the theological vision underlying the Leviticus is that, whatever else God is, he’s transcendent.  The word transcendent means that God is completely other, absolutely unlike anything in Creation.  Like it says in one place:  “As high as the heavens are above the earth, so are my ways above your ways.”

Now, we tend to think in spatial terms, so we tend to picture it in this way—that God is “above us” or “far away.”  But in Leviticus, God is not “far away.”  He is the Creator of everything, after all, so he’s always present to the creation; and what’s more, the story of Leviticus is that God has actually come to live right in the midst of his people, in the Tabernacle that Moses made.

God’s Transcendence has to do with his nature, not his location.  God is completely holy, whereas humans sin.  God is completely eternal, whereas humans are tainted by death.  God is pure light in which there is no shadow at all, and humans are ...well, you get the picture.

This is the theological dilemma driving the Book of Leviticus: God is always right there with us, and at the same time, he’s wholly transcendent.  How do you live with a God like that?

In Leviticus the answer is through the ministry of a priest.  A priest must “go between” for the people, in the way that God prescribes, according to rituals he describes, rituals which not only “represent” God’s transcendence to us, but also “bridge it” so that we can in fact, live with him.

So ritual washing, for instance, reminds us that God’s pure and we’re unclean, but it also deals with the problem, by making us clean.  And the rituals of animal sacrifice address the fact that it would mean death for flesh-and-blood creatures like us to stand in the presence of a Holy God, but it also deals with this problem.

The whole Bible agrees with Leviticus on this one:  God is completely transcendent and yet, at the same time, always there.  And because of this, there is no way for Humans to do life-together-with-God—to worship, or pray, or celebrate him—without the work of a Mediator like this.

Someone needs to enter God’s presence on our behalf, bringing “the things of humanity to God,” and bringing the “things of God to us.”

And this is where Jesus comes in.  Because Christians, of course, while they may share the vision of God that Leviticus describes, they don’t actually observe any of the rituals it prescribes.

And this is because the writers of the New Testament kept insisting that Jesus is the fulfillment of the vision for life with God that we find in the Torah.  He is the Great High Priest, but he is also the sacrificial Lamb.  He is the Tabernacle where God’s Glory dwells, but he’s also the Perfect Mediator who enters the Tabernacle for us.

This is why the teaching that Jesus is both fully God and fully human matters so much, because only a fully-human-fully-divine saviour could bridge God’s transcendence for us, brining the things of God to us, and at the same time, bringing human being like us into the divine presence.

For the Christian every aspect of our life with God is really just a participation in the Priestly Ministry of Jesus, who stands as our human representative before God.  Through faith and by the Holy Spirit, our worship, our prayer, our ministry, our very lives are untied with the worship, prayer and ministry that Jesus offers the Father on our behalf.

And because it’s offered in him, it is accepted as holy: pure, perfect and pleasing to God.


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