Saturday, November 26, 2011

stumbling into an irrational season

"It's so irrational," my friend said this week as we sat around a table, "that the creator of the universe would limit himself to one particular body, on one particular speck in the universe to live his life out for us.  So irrational." 

Today we are cleaning and vacuuming, dusting and re-organizing; getting ready to put up the tree.  I give myself permission to play my new Christmas CD by Carolyn Arends, "An Irrational Season".  I love the way she thinks.  Wondering where she came up with that name, I googled "irrational season" just to see what I would see, and stumbled on a treasure that I did not know existed.  Madeline L'Engle has written a book named "Irrational Season": reflections and autobiography, with a year that begins and ends with Advent.  This will frame the season for me this year.  Carolyn knew, of course, and the words for her song are L'Engle's words.  Should have checked the album cover notes first! 

I bought a calendar last year, "A Christian Seasons Calendar" beginning with Advent.  The pages are marked not by months, but, rather dis-orientingly, marked by Christian seasons.  A new page is turned on Christmas morning.  The twelve days of Christmas lavishly spread themselves over one entire calendar page.  The seven days of Easter week also get their own page.  These days - these irrational days of glory being limited, and death shattered - they mark the turning of the pages.  I like that. 

Lauren Winner first suggested to me the possibility of shaping life differently if we framed the celebrations differently in Girl Meets God, and then again in Mudhouse Sabbath.

I feel as though I am stumbling into this irrational season.  I want to embrace the joy of this season ... and I love to prepare a celebration.
But how do we frame it with Christ, rather than Hallmark
...with the longing of something that is not yet done,
combined with the celebration of that which has already been finished. 
There is so much that is irrational about this whole thing;
that my Lord, the Word of life, lay down Glory and  became wordless.

It'll take a whole lifetime to figure out how to celebrate well. 
And then the celebration will really begin.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


perhaps it was courage
or an instinct for survival

perhaps it was love
for the students
for the music
for a man quietly gone

she walked into the room with a smile
our applause meant to warm her
our laughter a surprise to us
but I think not to her

she intended to make us laugh
breath into lungs
the air that would sustain us
through long notes of her bidding
through the sharp moments of pain

her voice still remembers how to sing, to soar
her hands how to conduct
her feet to carry her
her face to smile
but beneath the music and the song
lies the silence of one gone

we sing into the silence
the songs of the redeemed