Sunday, March 31, 2013

The rest of the story...?

I wonder if Saturday was the longest day in history. If Jesus died on Friday, yet wasn't raised till long was Saturday for them? The in between day. The day before the first rays of a new dawn. The dawn of a hope never to be extinguished. Today was great. I began by watching the final few minutes of The Passion of The Christ. I had watched most of it on Fri. I was struck again by the brief scene where Satan is in ...Hell I presume. He was confident in every other scene, except this one. Where his robe is torn, & he is screaming & waving his arms around. Sorry, it would have been fun to watch how this played out for real. Jesus strolling into Hell walking up to Satan & just holding out his hand & saying "Keys". Receiving them & walking out. I have an image in my mind of 2 keys in a hand with a hole in it. The keys have skulls as the part you'd grasp with your fingers. On one is written Death, the other Hades. Just wild. This year I had several images in my head. Jesus carrying a cross that was made of abuse, shame, loneliness, murder, self-injury,... And one of a tombstone... with the word "DEATH" written on it. I imagine someone saying: "You will not be missed." and then  dancing away.

Rich Mullins - Nothing is Beyond you
Neal Morse - The Temple of the living God [reprise]

today we celebrate
your rising
& coming out of the tomb
The beginning of you
making all things new
to live in our hearts
in my heart
You lived without sin
you died carrying every single one
you did not have to die
you chose to
you chose to be
the last blood sacrifice
the greatest sacrifice
for us
for me
I cannot fathom this
you chose me
you give me value
when so much in my life stole value from me
you gave me value
What can be said?
how do we wrap our minds around such love?
I get to live with you
and you did all the work
to make it possible
I could not climb the mountain to God
to you
and you could not wait for me
so you climbed down
live with me
one day
you will gather me into your arms
and carry me up the mountain
Thank you

Friday, March 29, 2013

Good Friday

Loved the Good Friday service at LW. I so loved the appropriate song Jesus... by Rich Mullins. [Thank you Lord, for having Jenelle sing this.] My friend Byron over at Hearts & Minds posted a link to some poems for this day. So I will put a link here to them. They are by Malcolm Guite.  They are quite good. 
We, who know Jesus, the son of God could go through this. We grasp at ways to sing, write, speak of such a love as this. In a murder trial the question is often asked: "how do you put a price on a human life." The cross is God's answer to how much your life is worth, at least to him. The cross is Jesus saying I love you. It's almost as if you can hear him from it... "can you hear me now?"
Heaven in his eyes by Rich Mullins
With the Tired Eyes of Faith by The Swirling Eddies
[the only thing wrong with the lyric posting is at the end it's actually "but with the tired eyes of faith, you'll sing resurrection day"]
The Trumpet Child by Over the Rhine [a poem/song for today...& a long anticipated day]

Thank you Jesus, for Joe
and our long walk today
thank you Jesus
for friends coming to see us
before the service tonight
it was good to see them, too
thank you Jesus
for being the reason
for this week & weekend
thank you for showing us
that sometimes
is really winning
in disguise

Thank you Jesus
for making life unfair
I sinned
you got punished
you lived a perfect life
and I
get to share your prize with you
in all honesty
the greatest prize of all]
Thank you Jesus
for being you
and loving me
this much
b.e. noll

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

thoughts on Holy Week

So, as we walk through this week.... holy week.... the "week of the cross".... I tend to reflect on how powerful Jesus is. You might think of that on Easter Sun. rather than during this week, or on Fri.
I cannot get over his calmness as he stands before these people that he put/ allowed to be in power over the land. The land that he created. He's mostly silent as the trial plays out. The voice that spoke & said:
“Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day." -Genesis 1:3-5
This same voice said nothing. The ability to hold his tongue, to mind his speech greatly impresses me. What you have is not nearly as important as what you do with it. [or in this case, don't do]
I'm held still by the account of John [19:30]

"When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit."

...he bowed his head & gave up his spirit. No one took it from him. Even death itself cannot steal from God. Even death obeys God. 
I had an interesting conversation with a man [might have had it twice, 2 different guys]
"If Jesus was really God, why couldn't he save himself?" A fair question that even the Pharisees asked. I tend to see it this way...
"Who said he couldn't save himself?" See... this leads to a gripping moment... if he couldn't save himself then he's just a victim. If he could save himself then we must ask... why he didn't. To borrow, slightly, from The Matrix: "oh, what's really gonna bake your noodle later on is..." if he saved himself, he wouldn't have saved anyone else. This is love.
"don't take money, don't take fame, don't need no credit card to ride this train, strong & it's sudden, & it can be, cruel sometimes, but it might just save your life...that's the power of love."
-Power of love by Huey Lewis & the news

I see things Jesus said being true in his life. In this week.
#1. Matt. 20:16 "So the last will be first & the first will be last."
I have been told the fall of Satan was recorded in Isaiah 14: 12-15
Though as you read the whole chapter it does not seem to play out that way. I will still use it here as Satan's pride has always been the reason for his chosen fate. In these verses it states that he planned to: "“I will ascend to the heavens;
I will raise my throne
    above the stars of God;
I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly,
    on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon.
I will ascend above the tops of the clouds;
    I will make myself like the Most High.” [12-14]
...or "I will be first"...
Jesus came here stretched out his arms & died. 
effectively saying "I will be last".
And so, the last became first & the first will be dead last.
#2. Jesus said: "he who seeks to save his life will loose it. And He who looses his life for my sake will find it." - Matt 16:25
This makes me think about the fact that Jesus heals us of our wounds...but keeps his. He gave up his life for The Father's sake...for us...& keeps it for eternity.
Chris Tomlin sings it quite well...
"This is the one we have waited for,
Lord & Savior
is our God..."

My Mother has a saying:
"Love talked about is easily cast aside,
Love demonstrated cannot be denied."
Here is a link to a story of a girl & her struggle with self-injury...
& her crying to God over Jesus' sacrifice:
Only Once [at least read the 4th paragraph, from whence the title comes]
I love the statement someone said years ago. [this isn't a direct quote, but the jist is there]
When God wanted the Israelites out of Egypt,
He sent Moses.
When God wanted the walls of Jericho to fall,
He sent Joshua.
When God wanted us to be free from sin, to enter Heaven,
He came & died, & rose again.
He didn't "farm" it out to someone else.
[yeah, you're that important to Him]

You came
you let me hate you
you let me rebel against you
you let me spit on you
let me
my sin
my failure
my brokenness
upon you
then you
gave me
a place in your kingdom
will let me
in your house
Thank you
for not being fair

have a blessed week & Easter,
b.e. noll

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

a published work on facebook

Hello all. I have written a rather interesting piece. I did this once before. You can view it here. It was a story/review of U2's No Line on the Horizon disc. This new one came to me last night. I am a fan of the Prog rock band King Crimson. They have a very jazzy approach to prog. There's still a decent symphonic component to their work. Yet I feel like it's largely a jazz/ rock/ metal/ "wall-of-sound" mix. Which still is woefully inaccurate of how they sound. I also tend to see them as Fusion jazz & Prog rock put in a blender. I may post this writing on here sometime. However, for now I'll link to someone else posting it. Inner Knot Records facebook page. It includes, perhaps not every official King Crimson title studio & live recording. Written into a story. The folks at rather liked it. Which was the sole point of sending it to them. Hope you enjoy it as well.
[Inner Knot Records is an Indie label that began with Robert Fripp & King Crimson's recordings, yet has been steadily branching out. is the source of & for all things Robert Fripp & King Crimson.]
This is a "shout out" to these fine folks. And a thank you for posting one of my writings.
Have a great one,

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Cool Huh?

Pretty cool A co-worker got this plant. 
It was a plant when she got it. No flowers what-so-ever. Then a big pink flower formed. Which is the "outside" flower you can see here. Then a few days later, it got the little purple ones. A day later it got the burgundy ones. & Fri. it got the white ones [you can see the one in the middle, there are at least four others below the purple & burgundy ones]. What is more amazing still is that "results may vary". She Googled the name [starts with a "b" -yeah, I get the irony] & it turns out the flowers are different depending on the temperature of the room it's in & how much sunlight it gets! Wild, huh. God is very amazing. This is just what I can see him doing with flowers. He's never done anything & said "that's all I got, that's me at my best". Which leaves me to assume that a flowering plant like this is "pretty easy" for him to just "whip up" as it were. I think of this when I look at the sky... when I look at nature... when I held my nieces when they were small. 
Even when I think of all we have/can do with technology. Art. Finite humans, creating in a finite space, with flawed bodies, brains, intellects. A friend of mine asked me to be a part of a "Bible verse chain". Sharing verses that are helpful in stressful/dark times. I don't know if my favorites verses would help anyone else. A favorite? I just don't have one favorite....
Psalms 147:3 "He heals the brokenhearted & binds up their wounds"
Revelations 21 pretty much the chapter. This is the "happily ever after part" Jesus once said: "only with the mind of a child can you enter the kingdom of heaven". I tend to think of this being true because only children believe in fairytales. Think about a fairytale, heroine gets into trouble [taken by the "bad guy"] hero shows up, fights villain, looses, reappears later & defeats the villain. Rescuing the heroine & the ride off into a happy ending. sound familiar? This summer a Superman "reboot" is coming out... again. Father sends son to save a world that doesn't understand him. Why does this sound familiar?
ok. verses of Chapter 21...verse 1 "then I saw a new Heaven & a new Earth, for the old heaven & the old earth had passed away." 
some days I'm a little more ready for a "new one". Rich Mullins echoed it quite well [Ecclesiastes 1:9 that is] "there is nothing new under the sun"...if that's true then "This is the world as best as I can remember it".
verse 6. Which to me is an echo of the cross. Where Jesus said: "it is finished" [John 19:30, NIV]. In verse 6, "it is done" [NIV]
verses 22-26 talking about the fact that there is no temple. "because the Lord God Almighty & the Lamb are it's temple." "The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp." [verse 23] LOVE that. beautiful image.
A verse to reminds me that God is in control [& he's smarter than me] Job 38:4 “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand." I think of God talking to me similarly, saying: "Did I come to you for your opinion? Did I ask: 'does Florida look ok? or should it be wider?" 
For me this is also spoken of in Isaiah 40:12-26 [actually all the way to the end of the chapter, ending famously with verses 30 & 31]
 There are others. However my wife needs some "tech support" so I shall end here, for now at least.
Enjoy the photos, if not the rambling...
May His grace drip from your fingers,

Sunday, March 3, 2013

[inspired by ENCOUNTER last night]

She probably doesn't know this blog exists, but...
Thanks Connie...

Give Us This Day...
give us this day
a long walk
through the trees

give us this day
enjoying us for who we are
helping making us laugh

give us this day
his spirit
ever ending my loneliness
someone to worship
someone to stand with me
even if I feel I'm standing in hell

give us this day
maker of days
Ancient of Days

thank you
for giving us
this day

b.e. noll