The Sound of Music

John, John, John, John, still in John, John, John, John. This chapter eight just won’t wait, every day another date, with chapter eight another plate.

If I sound a tad hysterical, it is only that “being grounded” sometimes (also) means running onto a sandbank. Watching the tide rise and fall, and still not moving. Chapter Eight of John is beginning to feel like that.

But the tides rising and falling brought other words this morning …

“Be still and know that I am God” … “Come to me all you who are burdened and I will give you rest” … “Knowing that God loves me unconditionally, I can afford to be honest about how I am.”

Well God, I am finding this conversation as presented by John quite a gristly meal. Chewing and chewing. Looking at it in different ways. Trying different things. All of it helping wash away the distance between the years and you. And yet …

This morning and again these few verses … again Jesus sounding more like a debating academic … all the archaic language … translation/refinement/version after version all unable to change this style of wording … where is the gentle loving “be still and know I am God” kind of guy?

So I am chewing and chewing – and my jaws are getting a little tired.

Jesus answered, ‘If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, he of whom you say, “He is our God”, though you do not know him. But I know him; if I were to say that I do not know him, I would be a liar like you. But I do know him and I keep his word. Your ancestor Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day; he saw it and was glad.’

Then the Jews said to him, ‘You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?’

Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, before Abraham was, I am.’ John 8:54-58

More chewing and more gristle! And that phrase rings in my ears …

I AM. Three times in the words and phrases above. I AM eternal. I AM unconditional (please no arguments on that one today). I AM simple.

I AM simple (that last word jumping out unintended).

I Am Love. Love is the answer, what’s the question.

And suddenly … a growing thought and clarity. A nodding lord just behind my shoulder … seeing this misty vapour forming. A vapour swirling to sweep up others. And pulling them together into a page. A page of tiny, intense, perfect sheet-music. Beethoven, Brahms, Liszt … that kind of sheet music … concert style sheet music … whole orchestra sheet music.

And sitting there in front of me are notes interwoven: John being the throbbing base lines, Matthew, Mark and Luke – tenor and harmonics, other books, chapters, verses – all tinkling, blaring, crashing, teasing, smiling – and within the music: notes as “question marks”, notes as “emboldened characters”, music in different colours, in different fonts …

And then I see others with instruments – the orchestra forming.

The players of this wondrous music. Other faces and names: There is Heather and Denine – violins and bows flashing, their eyes locked on each other as they bounce notes between them, entice an intricate web of wonder from those violins. and

And there is Don – cello and his bow. A lower tone. Underpinning.

And then I hear LM – the percussion being notes not just bumps. How does that happen?

And then with an instrument that sounds like laughter there is Katie:

And others … Limbi with his oboe, Levi with his trumpet, Mark with his Acker Bill clarinet, ChapLynne with that gorgeous double bass, Lilka with triangles – that instrument always adding that tingle, VWoods with her glockenspiel – wow those woody notes, Kenneth J with one of the wowsers bird-like blowy wooden things, Karina S, Chow Lin, the awesome Mel, BJ and his rivers of sound, BDL and his intricate psalms, McD and his thundering love, , , ,

The list goes on, the orchestra ever bigger, the sound ever deeper and broader and richer. Submerged in sound.. Submerged in Love.

And the lord is jiving and a-bopping and a-weaving his moves this morning. That wall of sound rocking this room. The bible this concert music, this unfinished symphony, this masterpiece and cacophony –

And he taps me on the shoulder. Points to John Chapter 8. And I understand.

They are notes. A piece of the whole. Without this chapter, these words, these notes – the orchestra would be missing a crucial part, the sound without would be emptier than with. And players in this orchestra will settle on those notes and find their God within. Will find their own “Be still and know that I am God”

And once again He has brought me this wonderful diversity, this wondrous gifted creativity, this no one is greater than any other, this I am of I Am orchestra to which we all belong. Each with our own part, each with our own sound, each with our own spirit.

And then in a sudden unexpected silence between waves of enthralling seas of sound – one tiny noise. A conductor’s baton clacking as it hits the ground. Slipping from fingers. Oddly – wow this is weird – done to draw our attention so “simply” …

God Jesus bends down and – with his fingers on this sliver of wood – looks us each in the eye. And smiles.

(My thanks to Denine and Heather. Their duet on the “Water into Wine” passage has been inside my head. Last night I went to sleep with their words. And then reading these few verses … the trigger!)

NB: I always suffer a little nervousness when adding others here. If you feel ignored or missed – do let me know.


22 thoughts on “The Sound of Music

  1. This is beautiful Paul. I just loved it. We truly are his orchestra.


  2. Paul, you are a very clever guy! Yes, it’s like a symphony! The score is the Word, and we are the musicians… wow!

    It’s really quite something when the Body holds off on the arguments for a little while!


    • Big thanks Don – different strokes for different folks. And simply listening as good as I can.

      Got me thinking about the role we play – the “body”. And since this morning’s symphony – the orchestra is no different. Some sit at the front, others at the back. Some get hot and sweaty with big long parts. Others look around waiting for their few big notes. Some carry the harmony, others the beat, others the tiddly bits. But every single one is necessary – is part of the whole – or else the sound is missing something. Doesn’t do that “hairs on the back of you neck” stuff. 🙂


      • Odd you mention iMonsatery – I keep seeing it on my “blogs” page and feeling as though I am neglecting it. Preferring the me blog. Rather than the us blog. Thank you – looking at the comments it seems to have struck a chord (sorry!)

        And cracked the Queen’s English? Only when you guys grow grass shorter / longer than 3 inches (even your White House does 3 inches – I reached through the fence and measured it!) 🙂


    • Levi, spot on. Most times it comes as a complete surprise to me as well. What I love about the fellowship here, is we all “hear and see” in different ways. Yet all share and all are welcomed. The source, the conductor, the essence, the lord – the same for each – yet so many differences in the way he connects. WOW! Just writing that grabbed something inside and tugged!


  3. Paul you made me cry in a good way. Sometimes when I read others blogs I am so impressed. Everyone with so much talent. I question at times if I have anything to add. Then, I remind myself “do it unto The Lord” and if no one reads it at least I got it out. . Kate’s “you are good enough came at the right time. Now this. I feel so very blessed to be included with such wonderfully talented, Godly people who have my utmost respect. Thank you so much Paul! You have truly touched my heart with the beauty of this symphony! Remembering you a writer of songs.


    • Denine, I have to thank you. The intricacy you and Heather found and then shared and then exploded with love … I would never ever have been given this way of seeing the bible – not if my head wasn’t already spinning with your music.

      And me and these words – the same as you. “anything to add”. And I read others – yours included – and think wow! Here I am doing my thing and look over there – wow! You play the bible like an instrument. A maestro. How? I used to wish I could. Now I read and just go wow – thank you! And then Kate’s “enough” – and then another and another – and “my thing” connects. And duets happen.

      We have a great conductor! And he has given us each a beautiful piece to play. And then when we play together …wow wow wow woweeeeeeeee !


      • Wow- much agree! . By the way, I think you are awesome Paul! I wish I could put it in words as beautiful as you do, but that is your area and you do it amazingly well.

        Now on a different note- pun intended. Do you sound like Anthony Hopkins? LOL I don’t know what a UK accent sounds like. So as I read your words I have attached his voice to you inadvertently in my mind. Seems a good fit to me. : ) ❤


      • I love Anthony Hopkins voice. Mine is nothing like his. Please keep his when you read these words. And I will try and do the same when I write!! 🙂

        And please be content with your words. They wow me – and others from what I see


  4. You definitely pegged me with the proper instrument 🙂 Loved this post! That was beautiful the way you put this together. I’d like to think that collectively in our own unique way we really ARE making a difference by being obedient (really wasn’t my idea to write blogs, definitely His) and touching lives. Thanks for reaching out, sharing, connecting and lifting your brothers and sisters up! B Blessed, my brother! Peace, love and blessings to you!


    • Hiya Lilka 🙂

      Thank you. I had a twinge when I read back these words. In England the triangle is not the most esteemed instrument. Yet always I hear that tingle – feel that tingle – every time. And the triangle and you connected without conscious thought here. And when I was reading back it also seemed so right.

      I am starting to repeat myself in these comments, because what the lord seems to be giving me is the freedom and confidence to hear “better” – by sharing words like those above and these beneath – that freedom and confidence grows. Less and less I think “no that is a bit weird I must be hearing wrong” and more and more I hear and go “wow – guess what he showed me today.”

      Don’t know whether it is the same for you – it was something I never imagined when I (also) found a call to the keyboard and began stumbling words together.

      So a BIG thank you for your words – they are connecting dots more and more!


      • Thank you for encouraging ME along! Trust me, you don’t want me playing anything other than the triangle! I have a few talents but music is not one of them.

        The clearer we hear from God, especially when its not what we want to hear and then OBEY his prodding the better we are. I am by nature a shy person so posting my thoughts and musings on the internet for them to last forever!? was a far cry than what I would have “chosen” to do. But here we are and I must say I am the better for it. I’ve “met” wonderful people, been encouraged, LEARNED a thing or two from other bloggers and will continue this journey as long as HE sees fit! God gave you the perfect instrument for me 🙂 Much love and peace!


      • Lilka, I think in real life your words are not too far from the heart inside you. And it is a big heart. Amazing stuff keeps happening here – and the wonder remains our lord is slap bang in the middle. We are the spokes of the wheel connecting through him. Here’s to triangles!! 🙂


    • Karina, thank you. Your words and Shamgar were amazing. I have never heard of him. And yet not only did you find such a rare element, you then drew him out with all the glory and majesty of any of the “headline figures” we read about. And just like each of us – the “little man” or lady – is just as precious, just as important, and just as glorious in God’s eyes.

      There is a community growing within all these words. And our lord is entwining his love and wisdom in each. For me it is humbling to be anywhere at all in the orchestra. Thank you again.


  5. OK, Paul, you truly have the gift of insight. First, thank you so much for including me in your orchestra. I am overwhelmed by the decrescendo and crescendo of God’s voice in my life. How, after reading Denine’s “Water into Wine” post, He crescendoed into a fortissimo of “Pay attention.” Once I was there, present in the scripture, hanging on His every Word, He slowly decreased to a pianissimo of the sweetest, stillest, smallest voice–that voice only I can hear as it’s meant only for me. We wrestle (chew on the gristle, as you so creatively put it), and He is always victorious because I believe and belong. I hear. Oh how I hear His sweet music. I yearn to savor it all for myself, but He urges me to share His Word. To be an instrument, harmonizing among this orchestra of voices and players. Such beautiful melodies He writes on our hearts. You are such a gifted maestro of words and see into the middle of a thing. You peel back its layers and reveal the juicy center.

    Thank you, Paul, for your encouragement and for revealing what God wants us to see. I am truly blessed to be a part of such an amazing symphony of servants.


    • Heather, each time you write I find myself overwhelmed by a tsunami of such intensity and god-given love, I end up washed miles from where I was when I begin reading. 🙂

      That is a gift. A real gift you share so freely. Yet each one seems to have an impact great or small. On our own we submerge in our relationship with our lord. Yet sharing seems to release an explosion of depth and strength not possible one-to-one. Today’s comments leave me yearning this fellowship and community continues. At a personal level I struggle to find words which explain the honour and privilege of these connections in my life and own relationship with him.

      And I bask in the warmth rather than try and analyse it. Your words build me up. Not with understanding – rather a confidence to be who he wishes, to hear what he wishes, and to continue dropping pebbles without knowing or owning any ripples.

      And as for keeping the savouring for yourself? If we are sharing just a fraction of your sweet music – wow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.