REVIVED AT THE RIVER ...where waters flow, we come to know C. Doug Blair, Waterloo ON, 2015
Oh Forever Bless This Man
And a man shall be Hiding place from the wind Covert from the tempest Rivers of refreshing water Shade by a Great Rock. For this we rejoice Not in a system Not by a code But the noblest of men The truest of heroes The One long awaited Our uplifting Helper Purest expression of the race Forerunner in righteousness. And He had been promised And we had almost fainted Despairing of the deeds of men The long reckoning of greed
And guile and grief. But no longer. Hallowed be His Name. (Isaiah 32: 2, 3)
Life at the River If I had the chance to show you If you'd sit still long enough I would take you to the River Lovely diamond in the rough I would have you hear the cardinals See the mallards skimming down And the Monarch, gossamer pilot At the outskirts of our town There the Angus cattle lowing And the hissing wind-swept corn There the sparkle on the millpond Hiding heron in the morn' And you'd sense Creator's passion And His new art brushed each day As the clouds sailed slowly over And you'd bend the knee and pray "Thank you Father for your power And your purpose in this art Long it captured all my senses But today you have my heart."
Upon Westminster Bridge (with thanks to William Wordsworth, one of my favourites)
Composed Upon Westminster Bridge September 3, 1802 EARTH has not anything to show more fair: Dull would he be of soul who could pass by A sight so touching in its majesty: This City now doth, like a garment, wear The beauty of the morning; silent, bare, Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie Open unto the fields, and to the sky; All bright and glittering in the smokeless air. Never did sun more beautifully steep In his first splendour, valley, rock, or hill; Ne'er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep! The river glideth at his own sweet will: Dear God! the very houses seem asleep; And all that mighty heart is lying still! William Wordsworth (1770-1850)
It's My River
My river is mine own and I have made it for myself (Ezekiel 29:3) How ridiculous the prophet thinks. A man in Egypt, Pharaoh a supposed god-king. He is attributing all of his glory and success to his own doing. He, like the fabulous Nile beside him, alone is worthy of worship and credit. He is the only god or arbiter of record! And he is about to be immeasurably humbled by the God of angel armies. This Egypt and its attitude had been a stumbling block repeatedly for the children of Abraham. When facing an adversary the cry had been issued to “go back to Egypt” for reinforcements. God through other spokesmen had insisted that such unbelief would only strengthen the enemy against them. We stumble today with the same pride and false hope: “Yep, all of this good fortune has come about because of MY good work ethic and MY nose to the grindstone. Difficult for a while, but then the sunshine came through gloriously. I have lived by this rule of thumb.” Friend you have lived in ignorance listening to the spirit of the world (1 John 2: 15-18). A merciful God may put you flat on your back for a while; to realize your true source and Providence. The Church would do well to preach Providence and Sovereignty at least as much as it preaches faith, miracles and “successful” Christian living.” Think of all those treacherous “self” words: self-reliance, self-esteem, self-centred, self-possessed, selfrighteous...
Dear Lord you give us this time to discover the stuff we’re made of, and to aspire to the stuff of which Jesus is made. You give us a friend or two in order to understand place, pathos, forgiveness and healing power. You give us a cause to recognize the predominant evil in this world of men, and to ignite to the small present opportunity, mustard-seed small, to turn the tide to something clean and caring. You give us music and art to explore the indecipherable, and to hold one’s breath so as not to miss a single impulse. You give us children to rescue the sense of wonder, and to discipline us into kindly letting go. You give us work to hone a skill, and to battle impatience, self-importance and monotony. You give us Heaven everlastingly, for the asking, and a sparkling river runs through it. Love presides.
(an image never forgotten from The Pilrim's Progress by John Bunyan)
Nearly caught me, she did At the Riverâ€™s final bank The Eternal City shining through the mist. My journey near complete Tired back, aching feet Wonder! Then by her wiles nearly kissed. She has toppled many souls Casting just one sultry look And bankruptcies and scandal fill her book. How could I, Standfast, Wobble at a dress or a scent,
Stumble at one vain, come-hithering look? Madame Bubble, harlot Strumpet of the world. See the wreck that befell a simple lass. And she tried me, she did Not a single trinket hid Only Heavenâ€™s keeping care got me past.
Lord you played with matter It bounced from hand to hand And lines were drawn In earthâ€™s pre-dawn Dividing sea from land. And lights and nights And mountain heights Became at your command. The forests deep and verdent Were your menagerie And birds would sing And haply wing From nest to fruitful tree. While padded feet On paths discreet Would seek out food for free. You knew each birthing tremor You saw the young well trained And blossoms grew With morning dew Or rivers where it rained. And men arrived
And worked and thrived And from your bounty gained. Which brings us all to worship Your kindness and your good And cry for peace And love’s release In Eden’s neighbourhood. We trust your will As sovereign still And sealed in selfless blood.
River It’s a river we search for Yes a stream lined with trees For the healing of nations In the Spirit’s fresh breeze. And the saints there are gathered All the broken made whole And the glorious creatures And apostles twelve-fold. Not a suffering remembered Not a sigh damps the glow Of the Lamb’s throne eternal Only dreamed of below. And His servants are busy Want it no other way Casting crowns all before Him Who alone lights the Day. And this Day springs eternal Bitter nights all forgot Revelation a-plenty For what Mercy has wrought.
Bunyan's Cell So much that I might do But the tide has turned again And the King’s ire is up-raised And he’s seeking out God’s men. And the Church is now his toy And the Bishops do his will Though the lordship of our Christ Is a fact and power still. And the cell a wee bit larger Than the one I had last time And the sleep in Christ’s approval Brings restoring most sublime. And the dream I had last night Must become a volume true Of the journey of one “Christian” And the perils he passed through. And the vision of the City That would help him bear the shame As he left the ways of custom And the neighbours mocked his name. And a wife would not go with him As he heeded Matthew Ten. But he prayed the God of Mercy Would unite them once again. Yes, a dream held all this power And a River, glorious thought; With a crossing, praising Jesus For the Joyful Land He bought.
Psalm 46- If you read Psalms 40 through 46 you will get a foretaste of the life of Christian, pitfalls and victory. And that target River... Doug