Tuesday, November 7, 2006

When will I ever learn?

"When will I ever learn to live in God/When will I ever learn/Cause He gives me everything I need and more/When will I ever learn? " So goes the chorus of Phil Keaggy's song When Will I Ever Learn To Live in God. It is a good question to ponder this Tuesday morning. This is a beautiful song that I used to listen to a lot back about 15 years ago, when the album it was on was newly released. It is written in the confessional style of St. Augustine and captures, rather powerfully, how God is present to us in and through creation, not in a pantheistic way, but in a way that, while allowing us to appreciate and rejoice in creation, both natural and human, causes us to realize that the beautiful things point us beyond to something greater, namely God.

It is a strange phenomenon that part of the experience of being happy and content, those brief, fleeting moments, is the realization, even as we experience such times, how perishable and incomplete they are, and how they call forth a longing from deep within us for something more. In other words, in the glow of those moments, we realize we are not fully satisfied. This world was not meant to satisfy us completely, only God can fulfill us. To quote a much overused line from St. Augustine, "Thou hast made us for thyself and our hearts are restless until they rest in you"

The song is from Keaggy's album Blue, which is a really good album. Further along in the song, verse two to be exact, he sings: "You brought it to my attention/That everything was made in God/Down through centuries Of great writings and paintings/Everything was in God/Seen through architecture of great cathedrals/Down through the history of time/Is and was in the beginning And evermore shall ever be."

Followed by verse three:

"Whatever it takes to fulfill His mission/That is the way we must go/But you've got to do it in your own way/Tear down the old and bring up the new."

He ends with this powerful and comforting image:

"Up on the hillside it's quiet/Where the shepherd is tending his sheep/And over the mountains and the valleys/And the countryside is so green/Standing on the highest hill with a sense of wonder/You can see everything is made in God/Head back down the roadside/And give thanks for it all."

Today dear friends, let us give thanks for it all. Let's begin learning to live in God, because in Jesus Christ, He gives us everything we need and more.

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