Come and Make it Well

In the summer of 2000 I sat down at the piano and penned a plea for God to “Come and Make it Well.” I had questioned my faith and was ashamed. As I wrote I was reminded of a famous hymn “It Is Well With My Soul”, and the writer’s faith amidst the horrific loss of his children. With my lyrical confession complete, my hands began to play the old hymn in response, then back to an ending of my own, where forgiveness embraces the faint of heart.

Make It Well With My Soul

Come O sting of shame for questioning my faith, the penitence has flown.

Tears of salt must pour on the valley floor, for repentance to swell in my soul.

To think you’d ever find me here, sinking in these wounds of fear,

but you know my frame – O God.

Somewhere near my heart, where you won the war a thousand years ago.

False accusers came and built the walls again, but as if you didn’t know,

Come and make it well with my soul.

Make it well with my soul, make it well with my soul.

Make it well, make it well with my soul.

*Insert verse one and chorus of “It Is Well With My Soul”.

Run forgiveness run, down the drawbridge comes,

for your Spirit to dwell in my soul. ©Cindy Palin/2000

You can read about Horatio Spafford’s story, lyricist of “It Is Well With My Soul”, at

www.sharefaith.com

 

 

 

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Sacrificial Offerings

Usually every church you go to has a certain way of doing things, a structure to the service. Our church always has someone present special music while the offering plate is passed, but there are many sacrificial offerings going on in a service simultaneously. You need only be still and sensitive to the Spirit to see them.

This past Sunday a lovely woman got up to sing “Breath of Heaven”, which tells the story of the mother of Jesus. Even when the Christmas story gets clouded, most people know Mary was a young person with a scandal to deal with. She accepted her sacrificial call stoically, only to lose her son years later at the hands of an angry mob. She gave birth never really knowing the full extent of what her sacrifice would be.

I closed my eyes and and prayed for our friend who was singing, and the tears began to roll down my cheeks when the lyrics came “breath of heaven hold me together”, because I remembered how the vocalist lost her son years ago. Jesse would have been in his early twenties today.

Once the service concluded I found my eyes drift over to the far left of the church, to the front pew. There I saw another woman sit down to ready herself for prayer in case anyone needed to come to the front and pray. She too had lost a son years ago. Shane was a father at the time of his death, leaving a wife and three children behind.

I marveled at these women, and their sacrificial offerings, pressing on in faith despite their broken hearts, and the fact there will be missing family members at their Christmas table.

Thank you for being real, courageous and faithful, Bonnie and Val. Please know that there are people watching and learning from your example, and people praying for your strength as you continue the journey of faith God has called you to finish.

May the family of God hold one another together in Christ’s sacrificial offering of love, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, as we look forward to a family reunion one day in heaven.

Merry Christmas!

Cindy

 

 

Mercy and the Magi

If you are use to hearing history presented the same way year after year, it is very plausible you may miss the mystery, and the wonder, and the MERCY.

The account of the wisemen for example:

While discussing the Magi with my small children one Christmas, I was astounded to hear our middle child question whether there were just three of them. How did we know for sure? If such an amazing King had just been born, perhaps there were many more wisemen, too many to find enough camels to ride?

“Maybe they had to take a bus?” he suggested.

As I was reading in Matthew, and my corresponding class notes for 103 Gospels with Briercrest Seminary and College, I was struck by something I have been taking for granted for years, since Sunday School even.

We are so use to hearing about the wisemen seeing the star, that we forget to realize what an act of mercy it was, that God would get the attention of foreigners about the birth of his son – amazing!

We learn in the Bible that Jesus came for the Jews first. Yet, his own people were not excited about his birth, or what his Kingship meant.

We also learn that  his plan of salvation includes the Gentiles. Right from the beginning of Christ’s life God was inviting other nations to be part of his merciful plan. Even before Christ was born God was setting the stage, as he merciful made room for Gentile believers within Christ’s lineage.

The wisemen knew Jesus was a King, and they travelled far to worship him.

I can see now God was calling me as well, the night the Magi saw the star. This Christmas season as well as all year round, I want to run to him each morning, and marvel at him and acknowledge him as King, as exemplified by the three wisemen.

Thank you Jesus for including this Gentile in your merciful plan.

 

 

 

 

A Thousand Love Songs, a Million Words

A new song, roughly compiled and recorded on garage band.  My new entry into the Word Awards 2015.

A THOUSAND LOVE SONGS

A thousand love songs, a million words

and yet there’s always room for one more verse,

’cause everyday you paint the sky,

and every night’s my lullaby.

We sing you worship, we bring you praise,

and yet there’s always need of one more phrase,

’cause what you’ve done to reach my heart,

can’t be explained.  Where do I start?

You could have whispered someone else’s name,

but I’m so glad you whispered mine.

You took me and washed away my shame,

and gave me someone else’s life.

A thousand love songs, a million words,

will never say what you deserve.

But just because it’s hard to do,

here’s one more song – ’cause I love you!

sound file on facebook

 

©Cindy Palin, October 2014

 

To Bind up the Brokenhearted

This past week while preparing songs for the second Sunday of advent, I couldn’t help but feel inadequate.  Yes, those feelings hound us all from time to time.  My thoughts kept drifting to extended family situations, those which happened long ago, and some more recent, even though I was rehearsing words like….

“Come thou long-expected Jesus, born to set Thy people free”

Sunday came and our worship practice was rushed.  Some of us had arrived late due to freezing rain the night before. Everything had been frozen over with a thick sheet of ice.  My entire vehicle was imprisoned in a hard glossy shell. As I yanked on the handle to try to open the door I heard….

“From our fears and sins release us, let us find our rest in Thee”

My husband was away, and I sat alone near the front.  As the church filled for the first service I kept wondering, “why God, would you want to have anything to do with someone as weak as I?

“Israel’s strength and consolation, Hope of all the earth Thou art”

In the middle of a song I looked out and saw a friend, who had just returned to town from her Mother’s passing.  I had wanted to have her over for dinner right after she arrived home, but the time had slipped away. Another song and another face, a man who had  said goodbye to his wife last Christmas, due to a sudden serious illness.  “I need you” my heart cried.  “We need you”.

“Dear Desire of every nation, Joy of every longing heart”

In between services I spied a new friend and slid into the pew beside her.  I had remembered she had told me something in passing – months ago, and It kept ringing in my ears.  I sat down and cautiously asked if I could inquire about her health.  She graciously shared about her illness and the necessary medications required. She went on to tell me a bit about her family and where she came from.

“Thank you for coming Jesus” I whispered under my breath, for taking on human form and walking among us to feel our pain”.  For sacrificing your life  in order to release us from the icy grip of despair and death. You alone, are our strength, and hope!  As we celebrate your birth in a manger, and long for your return –  may You be our desire and our joy!

 

“He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives” (Isaiah 61:1).

Lyrics from “Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus” Text: Charles Wesley, Music: Rowland H. Prchard, Arranged by:  Robert Harkness

 

 

 

….at the bank

Returning from a week break, I began to prepare for our worship team practice among other things.  I decided to rally the troops and call in extras in case my voice did not return in time for Thanksgiving Sunday.  After calling a couple of friends and finding out they were going to go home for the Thanksgiving weekend, I decided to leave things as they were.  I had done everything in my power to be responsible, the rest was up to God.  I wasn’t the first worship leader to sound like a croaky frog recovering from an illness, and I wouldn’t be the last.

I put away the church phone directory and whispered a small prayer of trust to Jesus, then off to the bank to run an errand for our daughter.

As I explained to the teller that I was depositing something for my daughter, she made conversation by asking where my daughter was.  Briefly I explained that she was away in another country studying the Bible.  The teller beamed and relayed that she had just finished Bible School in a nearby town.  I was delighted to hear that the new young woman at our bank was a believer, and newly married.  I asked her if they had a home church.  In no time we both found out we were attending the same one!

I croaked out that I would be seeing her the next day, as I was leading worship.  Excitedly she asked about choir.

“Could it be she liked to sing?” I asked myself.

“Would you be interested in singing on the worship team tomorrow?” I asked without hesitation.  In the same spirit, she responded with a jubilant “yes!”.

It never even dawned on me that she might love to sing but not have the ability at all.

“I love hymns!” she chirped.

She didn’t have a problem with the 8:00 a.m. practice either.

I leaned across the counter and said “two strangers in a bank, who’d have thought?”

She leaned in closer too and replied “we’re not strangers anymore.”

I walked out of the bank feeling as if it was meant to be, and do you know why?

Because it was.