Thursday, October 31, 2013

Take My Voice

As I was driving yesterday, a few lines from the nineteenth century hymn “Take My Life and Let It Be” came to mind. These lines in particular (which are sometimes grouped together in the same stanza, depending on the hymnal you consult):

Take my voice and let me sing always, only for my King

Take my lips and let them be filled with messages from [also for] Thee
--Frances R. Havergal, 1874

And then this thought came to mind: How have I used my voice today to praise my King? Have my lips been filled with messages from or for God?

Men and women alone among God’s creation are given the gift of speech – and many of them, such as infants and those suffering from speech impediments, do not have full use of that gift. How have I used my part of that gift today to proclaim the Kingdom (Matthew 3 and 10), to proclaim the gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20), to proclaim Jesus Christ and Him crucified (1 Corinthians 2), to proclaim that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1), to proclaim the excellencies of Him who called me out of darkness and into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2), to tell of all His wondrous works (Psalm 105)? How have I used my voice today to sing in praise of Christ’s redeeming work (Athanasius)?

How have you?

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Go and Tell

From the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 11 (ESV):

When Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in their cities. Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word byhis disciples and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”

Go and tell. That was Jesus' response to John's inquiry. The evidence speaks for itself. God has come into the world, and is even now working to redeem it.

What have you heard and seen that testifies to God's redeeming presence? Go and tell! Tweet about it! Update your Facebook status! Share a picture on Instagram! Blog about it! But then also share -- in person -- with your family, your friends, your small group, your colleagues. Celebrate the signs of the coming Kingdom.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Home Sweet Home at Wheaton College

This weekend was homecoming at Wheaton College (the ninetieth homecoming, as I learned). I have attended at least some of the events at every homecoming weekend since I graduated, but this was the most enjoyable to date.

Homecoming Chapel

There were two main events that were special treats for me. The first, on Friday morning, was Homecoming Chapel. We had a time of singing (with the whole student body fully participating -- a beautiful sound like no other), recognition of the Alumnus of the Year for Distinguished Service to Alma Mater (Dave Teune '74, Director of Gift Planning Services), and then an address from Lisa Maxwell Ryken '88, the First Lady of Wheaton College. She shared her life story, tracing God's faithfulness to her and her family from her childhood, through college and her courtship with Phil Ryken, the growth of their family, their ministry at Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, and finally back to Wheaton College. It was an inspiring story. The whole chapel service was a real encouragement. Please take some time to listen to Mrs. Ryken's message.

On Saturday, the highlight was the annual Conservatory Homecoming Concert. This year was an all-choir concert, featuring the Concert Choir, Men's Glee Club, and Women's Chorale. Their repertoire spanned the centuries and the cultures - from a Renaissance setting of Psalm 51 (in Latin) to classic spirituals and much in between, including one alumni composition. It was easily one of the best concerts I have ever heard. I was so blessed by the choirs' passionate, vibrant, excellent performance. That concert is not available online as of this writing, but will be soon on this page. [October 12 update: The videos are now available at that link. If reading this in the future, find the videos in reverse chronological order on October 5, 2013.]

As anyone who knows me will know, I am present at Wheaton College quite frequently, both working for the Artist Series and to see friends, but this weekend was a very special time to be there. In addition to those events I described above, I also encountered a number of fellow graduates, some I had expected to see and others who were a pleasant surprise, and had the chance to exchange stories. I am so grateful to be a part of the Wheaton family -- of my Wheaton family. It was good to be home!