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Stories from the Salt Farm. II

After over 25 years of living on both coasts and working alongside some of the most wonderful and well known folks in our Vineyard family, my family and I now live on the side of a mountain no one has ever heard of, overlooking what is commonly referred to as the "armpit of NH". That in itself could be a recipe for disaster except for the strong sense that G-d is on the move.My heart is both broken and hopeful for the people of this area. My husband, Eric, and I are deeply involved in the school system and community revitalization projects in our region. We regularly have people over for meals, mayhem, and music. I once said if there were a theme hymn/bar tune for our gathering the first line would be something like: "I'm not looking for the perfect body, I'm just looking for some company" because we are fumbling our way towards Kingdom one end-of-the-workday-bonfire at a time. Maybe you'll join us some time. If you do: Wear your mudboots. You're guaranteed to step in something...


Last time...

In terms of a song or a sound - sometimes that G-d breathed sound is completely the opposite of what we are expecting - or even wanting. Sometimes that sound or song is not our version of cool at all. Sometimes we need to sit inside those vulnerable, ego-naked places and listen to the big, gaping emptiness. I had to sit inside that kind of emptiness in a deeply personal, publicly visible way last summer.


During the Vineyard Regional Conference in Syracuse, 2016 I was doing BGV’s during the morning sessions. About 2 months earlier I had been told by my Doctor and a second reading Radiologist that it appeared I had a crippling disease. They both felt that by the looks of “how quickly things were progressing” on a brain MRI, it appeared I might not even be able to walk by the following year. I was told the condition would affect everything, and likely rob me of my voice. If I was to tell you all details, it would take far too long, but I'm trying to give you a bit of context for the frame of mind within which I was in going to the conference. I felt torn between sensing this might be my last “opportunity” and also sensing very strongly that I was in a war of sorts. This was also made a bit more complex by the decision that Eric and I had made to wait tell our kids at that point - so we hadn't told anybody except my closest girl friend. Also I am inexplicably grateful to say that in September it was discovered that I had been misdiagnosed, (and “ repeated human error” was to blame) but contextually speaking: I was at the Regional with the pronouncement looming over me that I might be losing my voice, not ever get to lead, or do BGV's on that scale again..

So - now that you have a sense of where my heart and head were at - you can understand how during the worship team’s pre-worship prayer when I felt the hovering of G-d so thick in the air, I just assumed G-d was going to blow the larger room open in a really cool way - I started to expect G-d was going to do just that when the worship set got going and one particular song / beat kept getting deeper and deeper. There was this space forming that seemed to be inviting someone to jump in, vocally. Now keep in mind - I have been that person at times in the past. I have jumped in, not knowing what was ahead of me, and just gone with it. Most times the exchange has been loud and powerful and often like a call to battle. It's really fun when that happens - and frankly the emotional high from that can last for days. .Right then It felt like I could hear that power type of song coming forth in my “inner ear” again - And heaven knows I could have used a high like that … Maybe G-d was going to give me this again - and wouldn't that be so kind of G-d to do that? “ If I could just reach out and touch that garment…” Etc...I just remember having all those thoughts and feeling all the opportunities to jump into a loud, cool call to arms---

and then…

And then..

the musical instrumentation abruptly ended -

and there was raw silence on the stage.

And instead It was then that I got pushed out of the nest… Then this tiny, little phrase dribbled out of me in a near whisper:

“Reckless Mercy”

When I say dribbled - I mean dribbled:..

No call to battle -

no cheering -

no joining in -

no awesomeness

Just broken me -

standing there on a very big stage, in front of a very amped up crowd, singing some very tiny words...

“Reckless Mercy.

In Reckless Mercy you will find healing”, etc…

Right there - right then - it felt like I had just stepped out into the spotlight completely naked…

It sounded like what it might be like if worms could sing. It felt weak and broken and vulnerable

It wasn't Powerful or Cool or Pretty…

The one thing that it was --- was True

Somehow, from within that little whisper, G-d met the larger Body of us that had gathered there - and from deep withIn the chaos of my life, brought out a song of praise...

I don't remember all I sang or said. I do know hearing the words coming out of my own mouth helped me to determine to extend a few folks some reckless mercy for wrongs they had recently committed against me. Regardless of how uncool that song sounded at that moment, the sound of weeping around the auditorium signaled that G-d had moved on more that just me with those words, and that reaches farther deeper than Cool.I still hear from people about that little phrase. Someone might use it for a book title...

Maybe on our deepest level everyone craves some reckless mercy towards themselves. As Ambassadors of the kingdom Heaven, and having been through the ringer (last article/Psalm 51), perhaps we become more pliable for however the Spirit of G-d is moving over the people we are leading into worship. It's this richly beneficial cycle with Kingdom stuff. Sometimes we’re going to be the worm and sometimes we’re going to be the Warrior. In any event - we seek to make room for (create space for)G-d going where G-d wants to go by being willing to be either

or neither…

I am so grateful I still get to be involved in the leading of worship on some level. In that same psalm (51) that this thread began with - I simply love the phrasing “give me a job teaching rebels Your ways, so the lost can find their way home”

More on that next time...


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