Up early today… and remembering…
I was sitting in a wood beside a dark and still stream the other day, having some time alone with God. He spoke to me in a rather unusual way. Very clearly I “saw” a musical chord on a piano keyboard. It was an F Major 7th. It is a chord which when you play it on a piano, invites a further note or chord to be played, suggests a further melody or another movement to come. When it is used to end a song or a tune, it somehow leaves everything alive and lingering in the air to be savoured, enjoyed, and thought about more deeply. It is hard to put the sense of this in writing, but the best I can do is say that is not a closed sound, confident and self assured, but has quite a mysterious flavour especially if played gently with a light touch as an ascending arpeggio.
As I thought about the sound of that chord, I naturally thought of the names of the notes which make it up: F.A.C.E. Through the unusual “word” of that chord, I think God was simply saying to me what I now pass on to you: if we are prepared to FACE up to any reality in our life and circumstances with integrity about where we really are spiritually then one or both or two thoughts will usually emerge. Firstly, we may become aware of a new and onward movment in God’s purposes of mercifual love and grace for us. Secondly, we may feel drawn to linger at the point in the music of our life we have reached, suspecting we have perhaps not heard all of its sound or savoured its depth, be that in its sublime simplicity or in its intricate and well tbought out complexity.
Hugh Black, one of the founders of the Struthers goup of churches, said this on one occasion: “I would strongly urge you to be a realist.” As we stand in the grace of God given us in Jesus, that is something we can become without fear of condemnation. As we FACE up to what is happening in life and to where we are or where we are not with God, the fruit of that honest realism is paradoxically a sense of mystery: a sense of the mysterious purposes of God being unstoppable. What looked like an uncrossable river, a brick wall, turns out not to be. There is always a way through, an onward step; songs of deliverance, a melody of peace and faith, truth and hope, hanging in the air.
I hope this may be of help to you, as it was to me, even if you are not musical at all! At the moment you may feel that if you were to dare to be a realist before God, all you would hear would be a series of jarring and discordant notes that make no sense, as though all meoldy, all tunes have been disallowed in favour of random and haphazard sounds. Of this I am sure: God is not a composer who has a penchant for random, chaotic and unconnected noise. May he attune your ear and mine more keenly to the thread of the melody of His good purpose which He has written into our lives and circumstances, even for this very day and this precise moment.