Where Is God? – I’m Crucified Til The End of Time – A New Song

 

For years I’ve tried to consider the incarnational meaning to this passage from the book “Night” by Elie Wiesel. Last night I attempted writing a similar thought in the form of a song. Even if you don’t want to hear the song, I’d encourage you to read this passage and as we head toward Sunday reflect on the question Wiesel asks along with all of mankind, “Where Is God?” It’s a great sacramental question I think.

“One day when we came back from work, we saw three gallows rearing up in the assembly place, three black crows. Roll call. SS all around us, machine guns trained: the traditional ceremony. Three victims in chains— and one of them, the little servant, the sad-eyed angel.
The SS seemed more preoccupied, more disturbed than usual. To hang a young boy in front of thousands of spectators was no light matter. The head of the camp read the verdict. All eyes were on the child. He was lividly pale, almost calm, biting his lips. The gallows threw its shadow over him.
This time the Lagerkapo refused to act as executioner. Three SS replaced him.
The three victims mounted together onto the chairs.
The three necks were placed at the same moment within the nooses.
“Long live liberty!” cried the two adults.
But the child was silent.
“Where is God? Where is He?” someone behind me asked.
At a sign from the head of the camp, the three chairs tipped over.
Total silence throughout the camp. On the horizon, the sun was setting.
“Bare your heads!” yelled the head of the camp. His voice was raucous. We were weeping.
“Cover your heads!”
Then the march past began. The two adults were no longer alive. Their tongues hung swollen, blue-tinged. But the third rope was still moving; being so light, the child was still alive…
For more than half an hour he stayed there, struggling between life and death, dying in slow agony under our eyes. And we had to look him full in the face. He was still alive when I passed in front of him. His tongue was red, his eyes were not yet glazed.
Behind me, I heard the same man asking:
“Where is God now?”
And I heard a voice within me answer him:
“Where is He? Here He is—He is hanging here on this gallows…”

[Excerpt from NIGHT by Elie Wiesel]

 

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Walter Brueggemann To Guest on Voices In My Head Podcast and Other News

THE
Rick
Lee
James
UPdate.
September 2015

BIG NEWS
I hope your September is off to a great start. It’s been a while since I wrote one of these so I thought I should give you some big news.

WHAT IS IT?
I am so excited to announce that Dr. Walter Brueggemann will be joining me on September 11th as my guest on Voices In My Head (The Rick Lee James Podcast). Brueggemann is widely considered one of the most influential Old Testament scholars of the last several decades and has greatly influenced my own thinking.

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If you would like to submit a question or comment for me to share with Dr. Brueggemann on September 11th, please email them to VoicesInRicksHead@Gmail.com

We’ve already got some great ones and are only sharing the best ones so put your thinking caps on.

For an archive of our past podcasts go to www.rickleejames.com/podcast

FINISHING THE NEW RECORD
On September 22nd I will be heading back into the recording studio in Nashville Tennessee to finish my new record titled Hymns, Prayers, and Invitations. I’ve been recording extra guitar parts for the album from my home in Ohio and the record is really cooking along now. We still are about $1000 short on funds so if you want to pre-order the record, thus helping to fund the production, you can do so at www.GoFundMe.com/Hymns.

EMPOWERING THE CHURCH
On September 24th I’ll be leading worship and teaching some worship related seminars with Jonathan Burkey at Lima Community Church of the Nazarene in Lima Ohio. You can get more information about this great event at www.nwonaz.org.

IN STORES NOW

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Positively Hope is a new CD available exclusively from Lifeway Stores. I’m honored to have writen two of the songs on this great worship record.
— Rick Lee James

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Rick Lee James Author Page Amazon.com

BACK TO SCHOOL
CEDARVILLE UNIVERSITY
On September 14th I will be leading a songwriting seminar on the campus of Cedarville University for students in the worship arts course of study. I’m really excited about the chance to join these great students once a month to help them grow in their craft for the service of the church
OLIVET NAZARENE UNIVERSITY
October 11-13th I have been invited to the campus of Olivet Nazarene University, just outside of Chicago Illinois, to participate in a conversation about worship for the center of faith and culture with other leaders for the Church of the Nazarene. This time together will allow a sustained dialogue concerning worship from a Wesleyan/Nazarene theological perspective, exploring the faithful exercize of worship leadership. Our hope it to move toward a sharedunderstanding and language concerning worship in the Church of the Nazarene

The Spirituality of Dishes

This might sound strange, but I had a very clear God moment while washing the dishes recently.

We had just eaten a delicious supper, pizza in fact, I mean what is better than that? We ate it on the back deck outside in nearly perfect weather conditions.

As I took the dishes inside and started drawing the water to wash them after the meal, my iPhone stopped playing the podcast I was listening to. Rather than hit play again I just decided to wash the dishes in silence.

I listened prayerfully as I washed. I thought about how hard some of the cheese was to clean off certain dishes. Minutes before these dishes held cheesy, gooey, saucy pizza that just slopped all over; a beautiful thing.

Now it was dried, caked on, and needed to be washed off, scrubbed off even.

It struck me how like those dishes we are. Dishes are simply a delivery system for the food we eat. If food is what sustains us in life, then dishes are serving the gift of life to us. If we are people who believe in a loving God, and I do, then our daily task, like a plate, is to carry the feast of God’s love to others. We are not God, and we can’t give life ourselves, we simply are used to carry the feast to hungry people so that they may be nourished.

Even though our dirty dishes were not engaged in an evil activity by feeding us, they still got dirty. It’s not like I slopped mud on the plates, I served delicious pizza on them, and it was great. Even so, even after their noble service of feeding the hungry, our plates were in need of cleansing.

We don’t have to be doing evil things to need cleansing. Even in doing good each day, we will see at the end of the day that we have a real need to be cleansed again. I don’t know why we can’t stay clean, we just can’t. Most of us need a shower every day or we will stink. It’s not because we’ve done something evil to get dirty, it’s just who we are. We need daily, regular cleansing.

I was washing good dishes. They are nothing fancy, but we keep them clean every day and they get the job done. After each use we wash them and they are made ready to serve the feast again.

Everybody and everything gets dirty; preachers, worship leaders, ushers, board members, and congregants who are faithful to worship every week. No matter how clean we think we are, like dishes, we need the cleansing of Christ in our lives.

Next time you do the dishes, be reminded that if these dishes, which are not evil, need cleansing after every use, then how much more do we daily need to surrender ourselves to God for the cleansing? We daily have need return to our God given humanity, which only He can bring us. He creates us, recreates us, cleanses us, and says of us, “it is good”.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart today,
Try me, O Savior, know my thoughts, I pray;
See if there be some wicked way in me;
Cleanse me from every sin, and set me free.”

Voices In My Head Podcast 150th Episode Celebration with 2015 Dove Award Nominees

Episode #150

Subscribe To This Podcast on iTunes

Subscribe To This Podcast on iTunes

Episode #150 of the Voices In My Head Podcast features 2015 Dove Award nominees who have been on or associated with the show.

This week’s show features:

About A Mile

All Sons & Daughters

Randall Goodgame (Slugs & Bugs)

Andrew Greer

Craig Adams

Andrew Peterson.

Its a great show celebrating 150 episodes by spotlighting some of the most talented guests we’ve been privileged to have on the show.

Sermon and Song by Rick Lee James from Sunday August 9th, 2015 at First Church of the Nazarene

RickLeejames.com

RickLeejames.com

This past Sunday morning, August 9th, 2015, I sang and preached at my church in Springfield Ohio (www.HomeRoadNaz.org)

Here is one of the songs I arranged/wrote a new chorus for and the sermon I delivered. I hope you enjoy them.

If you are a guitar fan then you might like the telecaster guitar solo at about 2:15 on the song recording. Come Bow Down is a new chorus I wrote for the song.

Song: Brethren We Have Met To Worship ( Come Bow Down)

Sermon: Questions From God

Let me know what you think in a Tweet @RickLeeJames

Voices In My Head Podcast Episode #149 – Into The Fray with Matt Mikalatos

POdcast Logo 2015 with web site

Subscribe To This Podcast on iTunes

Subscribe To This Podcast on iTunes

This week on the Voices In My Head Podcast, http://www.mikalatos.com/p/welcome-to-mikalatoscom.htmljoins us to talk about his latest book, Into The Fray

Into the Fray, is an exploration of the book of Acts in a modern-day setting. It’s about church, the Holy Spirit, and the importance of story in God’s plan for the world.

Also, check out Matt’s many blog posts from coolsville at www.NorvilleRogers.com and his the Storymen Podcast that he hosts with Clay Morgan and J. R. Forasteros at www.Storymen.us

Voices In My Head Podcast Episode #148: The Dirty Parts of the Bible with Sam Torode

POdcast Logo 2015 with web site

Subscribe To This Podcast on iTunes

Subscribe To This Podcast on iTunes

My guest this week on the Voices In My Head Podcast is Sam Torode. Sam is a writer, a visual artist, and a singer living in in Nashville, Tennessee. On his Father’s side of the family, Sam is related to Henry David Thoreau and on his mother’s side are Texas farmers, preachers, outlaws, banjo players, and Cherokee Indians.
His novel “The Dirty Parts of the Bible,” reflects both sides, combining religious/philosophical exploration with an epic journey to Texas to reclaim his defrocked minister father’s fortune. Sam’s writing has been compared to Mark Twain, Sue Monk Kidd, and Flannery O’Connor
Publisher’s Weekly gave this really glowing review to “Dirty Parts of the Bible”

While the title suggests a raunchy read, this rich and soulful novel is actually a rather well-done coming-of-age story steeped in wanderlust and whimsy that at times recalls The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and at others a tamer On the Road. The story begins in 1936 as 19-year-old Tobias is thumbing his way from Remus, Mich., to his uncle’s farm in Glen Rose, Tex., to find a hidden bag of money, after his father, a Baptist pastor, drunkenly slams his car into the church and is removed from the parsonage. The author does an excellent job in making well-charted territory (riding the rails; scavenged campfire meals under the stars) seem vibrant and new. Snippets of scripture, Southern spirituals, and folk ballads lend context and flavor to the text. Most impressive are the jangly dialogue and the characters’ distinctive voices, which are authentic and earthy but not remotely hoary. When Tobias finally arrives at his uncle’s, the surprises that await him are more than enough to keep his—and readers’—interests piqued.”

DISCLAIMER: While this is not a dirty podcast, the topic of this week’s conversation may not be appropriate for younger ears as we do acknowledge that there is such a thing as sex and that teenage boys think about it. Use your discretion.