Starting today, 25th February 2010, I am going on a journey. Destination: Unknown.
The journey ends 4th April, which in the Christian calendar is Resurrection Sunday, when Christ rose from the dead after being entombed 3 days. Yes, ’tis the season of Lent. Lent runs 40 days prior to Resurrection Sunday, and for believers, it is a time of soul-searching and repentance, reflection and sacrifice. Practically, it means the believer decides to give up something he values: Certain activities (online chats, TV), meals (fasting), time (sleep?), whatever is perceived of great personal value, for a season.
The final days of Christ were in Roman-headquartered Jerusalem, where He was cruelly tried and faced His imminent death by crucifixion. It was where His biggest battles were fought–those of the soul and of the mind–to relinquish His will, to face His deepest fears, to obey the will of His Father in heaven under pain of torture and slow death. All because He loved us beyond all reason. So He could conquer death for us, and we might live with him eternally.
I need to go to my own Jerusalem, to crucify the residual habits, indulgences, distractions that threaten to regenerate and become the sin “that so easily entangles.”
In an earlier post, I mentioned that the crafting of a song is similar to what a metalsmith does in his forge. We imagine a black-aproned metalsmith using long-handled tongs to grip and dip the metal into the fire, removing it white-hot from the heat (yet not too hot that it shatters or melts), placing it on the anvil, and hammering the living daylights out of it. With a high degree of skill, strength, and finesse, the metalsmith batters and shapes the now- pliant metal into the object he has envisioned for the metal–be it be a sword, a hammer, something useful, something beautiful, and more likely, all of the above.
So it was with the crafting of the songWonderful, so it is now with me.
This Lent, I have decided to go without the music, (leaving only my heart’s worship), to go without virtual social networking (i.e. Facebook, leaving only meaningful real dialogue), and to go without tweeting/blogging/writing (leaving only my thoughts with God in quiet reflection). Along the way, as the Spirit leads, I will be asked to give up a slew of other things. More of that later.
Of course I’ve been through the fire more than once in my life. Most of it was driven by external forces, circumstances, the choices I made.
So why does my soul and mind need to be forged again and now?
Like the forging of a samurai sword, it is only through repeatedly heating, folding and hammering the steel blade that the swordsmith can 1) remove any impurities from the metal of the sword and highlight the Hada (grain patterning on the blade) and 2) eliminate imperfections in the blade while assuring maximum power and flexibility.
Therefore, where it is often said that the soul of the warrior is encompassed within his blade it can likewise be stated that the spirit of the maker resides there as well.– Swords of the East website
Forging, as opposed to simply cutting metal to shape, improves the strength of the metal by aligning the grain along the lines of potential stress. In other words, a forged hammer is better equipped to handle pressure and pounding than one simply carved out of a base metal. Also, the process of forging is highly economical: No part of the metal is wasted during the process, and unused portions can be remelted for use in other pieces [Taken from a website on metal forging.]
Through the process of refinement, I hope to come out purified. Through the process of discipline, I hope to come out stronger so I can be used by God.
This is one of my longest posts, in part because it will be followed by a long, long silence. Forty days in the wilderness must translate to at least 100 days in the virtual world! It follows that my song-in-progress, Wonderful, will have to be put on the backburner for a while. This too is necessary. Yes, it began based on a vision, over which was shed much blood, sweat, tears, and a collaborator’s talent and craftsmanship thrown into the process.
It is, if I may say so, in many ways a winner. But I believe that while I can give You more than a song, that a song in itself, is not what You have required. You search much deeper within, through the way things appear; You’re looking into my heart (lines from Tim Hughes’ The Heart of Worship).
This song below, Above All, talks about the greatest sacrifice ever given, a pure and holy life given by our Lord Jesus in exchange for our own lives, steeped in sin and guilt and separation from God. The greatest sacrifice is our greatest gift to receive, the gift of redemption from sin and the promise of hope and eternal life with God, our Father.
If God is to be glorified in me—if I am going to craft more songs–I am going to have to be holy and adhere to the strictest of Christ’s demands.
The good thing is, I will be walking this journey with Jesus quietly by my side.