Make Me a Channel of Your Peace

I have not written here in a very long time. Lots of stuff is happening in my life. I won’t get into it because it’s a long story. Nevertheless, I want to share a song that describes some of what is “adding to the mix” of positive change for me, praise be to God.

Like Susan Boyle, Carrie Underwood, and many others, Andrew Johnston gained his fame while auditioning on a TV talent reality show. He made his debut on Simon Cowell’s Britain’s Got Talent in 2008. I viewed Andrew’s audition on Youtube like so many others when it first became a meme.

I completely forgot about Andrew until stumbling across his songs again several weeks ago. I encountered his music at just the right moment because I was impressed enough to investigate further. I like Andrew’s singing so much I ordered his CD, One Voice. I only expand my collection rarely for music that really impacts me, same as when I buy a book. Music for me is a tool for spiritual growth and relaxation. My favorite songs on Andrew’s album include Walking in the Air, Make Me a Channel of Your Peace, Pie Jesu, Agnus Dei, and Panis Angelicus. Supposedly Simon Cowell selected the tracks to include. I wouldn’t expect him to choose such nice songs, especially of a deep and religious persuasion – but you never know!

I want to make a special note of the song, Make Me a Channel of Your Peace. I absolutely love it! Andrew’s song is a hymn rendition of a prayer entitled The Prayer of Saint Francis. St. Francis of Assisi has made an impact on me more than once – not because I’ve studied his life or read his works. Most people know a bit about what he did and have a general knowledge of his lifestyle. This limited knowledge has been enough to challenge and inspire me.

The Prayer of Saint Francis, whether written by Francis of Assisi or not, is very powerful. If a person meditates on the words and considers how he might apply them, it will likely change his life forever. Read the Wikipedia article and you will find yourself in good company for appreciating the song.

I have been blasted by the power of this prayer’s words. My spiritual walk is ever changing, and I hope the guiding directions are from the Lord Jesus (Proverbs 3). God is seemingly leading me toward a radical lifestyle. As I read and hear omnidirectional catalysts that inspire, I am forced to take seriously all that it means to follow Christ. I pray that everyone who claims His name will do the same. You are called to nothing less!

Make Me a Channel of Your Peace has been important as I pray over cities and people. Listen to Andrew Johnston’s beautiful rendition on Youtube. It seems I cannot tire of it no matter how many times I listen. I have adopted the words into my own prayers while going on recent neighborhood prayer walks.

When you consider and pray these words humble yourself. Let Jesus’ incarnational work be realized in the way you live – if you are indeed in Christ. May He use us all – for our good and for His glory. Amen.

Make Me a Channel of Your Peace

Make me a channel of your peace
Where there is hatred, let me bring your love
Where there is injury, your pardon Lord
And where there’s doubt, true faith in you

Oh Master, grant that I may never seek
So much to be consoled as to console,
To be understood, as to understand
To be loved, as to love with all my soul

Make me a channel of your peace,
Where there’s despair in life let me bring hope
Where there is darkness, only light
And where there’s sadness, ever joy

Oh Master, grant that I may never seek
So much to be consoled as to console
To be understood, as to understand
To be loved, as to love with all my soul

Make me a channel of your peace
Where there’s despair in life let me bring hope
Where there is darkness, only light
And where there’s sadness, ever joy

Oh Master, grant that I may never seek
So much to be consoled as to console,
To be understood, as to understand
To be loved, as to love with all my soul

Make me a channel of your peace
For when we give, we will ourselves receive
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned
And in dying that we gain eternal life
And in dying that we gain eternal life

2009: A Year of Discipline

This year has been nothing short of monumental in my life. No other year has contained such crazy things. The things are too numerous to easily recount without boring the moon to rest it’s sly lay for sunlight’s delight (just made up that wordy expression… kind of dumb… but it’s late, and I have to entertain myself somehow). Most people would probably not be able to appreciate a verbal description of this year in my life (it would sound trite to outside ears), so I will not try to verbosely do so. If I was able to actually remember all the colorful details of the experiences, I feel the rest of my lifetime could be spent describing them. Even so, I don’t like to glorify or overemphasize things. I tend to exaggerate when I’m trying to make a point about worldly things or am just in a silly, sarcastic mood. When it comes to deep things, I try my best to be honest and not make things more [insert adjective or descriptive quality] than they are.

Another healthy, wise realization that I try to keep in mind is: don’t dwell on the past or get caught up there to the detriment of the present and future. Comparing all times back to one glorious moment in one’s experience tends to disallow new experiences to develop the beauty and color that are plain to be seen in a comparison-free light.

Bad, awkward transition to a paragraph due to a long tangent in the opening paragraph… pause… reset… look at the post subject to remember the original train of thought.

I’ve been excited to pursue God this year. I believe the Spirit of God has driven me to consider spiritual disciplines in my life. Interestingly, nearly every path God has led me to follow has been confirmed in complementary movements in other believers near me, in my Bible reading, or other not-at-all-coincidental dealios (couldn’t complete sentence with a decent noun because my vocabulary sucks).

In truth, I’ve already named this year. I’ve called it a “Year of Prayer”. I’ve also made the implication that it is a year to Read the Bible. What, and now I call it “A Year of Discipline”? What other random ideas will I have in these last few months remaining? Will I assign another title next month? Perhaps! You just wait and see! 2009, the year of 2009 titles.

My titles aren’t meant to be prophetic or church-wide in nature. It is not my intention to describe the movements of the Spirit that can’t always be named or defined in an obvious package (John 3:8). These titles simply describe my own experience this year. I started off with a deep passion to spend a lot of time reading the Bible and praying. I also found myself inspired to get started in acts of service, both with my church family and in the surrounding community. In fact, my desires and passions for spiritual things have become diverse and constant – sometimes overwhelming.

Little did I know that Elder Dave would follow the Spirit’s leading and that direction would prove similar to how God was leading me. For the next year the Ethnos community is going to read “Celebration of Discipline” by Richard Foster. I’m very excited about this book because it seems to perfectly mirror God’s movements deep in my soul. It is as if He was preparing me to be willing to accept the things in this book, which will in turn bring me into a deeper relationship with Him. I feel like this book is profound, one of the few books outside the Bible itself that should find its way to every bookshelf. Trust me, I’m one of those who is a little disillusioned about reading all the popular Christian inspirational books. I often get tired of it. Some of them seem to be written just to sell an idea or to maintain the expectation of an author to continue writing. This book is simply awesome (and I’ve only read the first chapter!).

I’ll be writing various reflective thoughts as I read “Celebrating Disciplines”. I already have a bunch of things I wish to write – too much for anyone to bear to read. Who cares! I need to write these things. If I don’t write and reflect, I forget. I cannot apologize for boring narrative. It is transforming and necessary for me. It is life! So know, that when you read (more likely skim) these boring blog entries, that rebirth is being developed and appreciated in light that casts shadows far away! It is good, but not yet finished.

In case you didn’t catch the implied coolness (especially if you don’t know the “12 disciplines” referenced in the aforementioned book), all the titles I assigned previously to 2009 are contained and completed in this new title “A Year of Discipline”. Yippee! The Spirit is awesome and hard to trace because His ways are so mysterious and unsearchable. But when you look back (or He gives you a glorious glimpse in the present or even of the future), it is so gleeful to consider what He has been doing through all the mystery. Ah, faith. I think it’s easier to just accept and expect that He’s going to do crazy awesome things… and yet in no way EVER get used to it. He is so amazing that angelic creatures (glorious even in of themselves, certainly in comparison to us) surround Him and notice something “new” or wonderful so often that they CONSTANTLY cry out “HOLY! HOLY! HOLY!” (take that in… meditate on it… it’s more profound than most things you’ll ever know in this world… I was struck when I heard it in a sermon this year… deserves a separate blog entry, if not a huge book) Isaiah 6:1-3, Revelation 4.

I’m a bit sleepy, so I don’t know if what I just wrote makes much sense. Oh well, back to reading Celebration of Discipline… then I’ll read some FAR SUPERIOR straight up Scripture (I admit, I’m a bit of a purist that way 😉 ).