Saturday, August 31, 2013

future's door

There's a meeting on Monday. A phone meeting. Some academics will talk to possible partners who may be interested in a project, which, if it goes ahead, could have a real impact on the way a major commodity is viewed in the future. An environmental change for good. Pretty much globally. It wasn't my job to set that up; but I saw the opportunity and made it my job.

I was told I shouldn't put all my eggs in one basket.

Well, those of you who know me know what kind of red rag that was to what kind of bull I am.

Anyway, the meeting is on Monday. If all goes well, the project that follows is one of the largest of its kind my office has ever handled. In money terms. In impact. It may yet turned out to have been a pretty big basket of eggs.

Of course, I won't be at the meeting. I've been at every one so far with these academics and this partner, I've set every one up, organised every email, pushed, cajoled, beamed with joy and wonder, and been absolutely privileged to stand alongside an amazing team of people. But I left the University yesterday. Set a thing in motion then found the movement so irresistible it carried me on my way.

Tomorrow morning I preach my last sermon at Calverley, a whistle-stop tour through hospitality in Luke (with a twist in the tale), and on Monday the removal men come.

The revolving door keeps swinging, pushing me through.

Till on Wednesday I land on the other side, and this two year and one month sojourn in Leeds finally ends as I land in Oxfordshire. Indeed, in many ways, it's been a nineteen year trip.

I left Oxfordshire for Wales in 1994. Honestly, a large part of me didn't want to go; but the Lord called me on from friends and home, and so away I went. It's been quite a time. I've learned more than I know how to express. I've felt the hand of Jesus hold me every step of the way. As I look forward to this next stage in life, I am wonderfully excited; and filled with a deep joy to be returning to a part of the world that still feels more like home than anywhere else I know.

So I'm glad that others will handle that meeting on Monday, and take that project forward. It may - it will - do wonderful things. But it's not my calling, my life, my future that will be shaped as those voices speak across phone lines and continents. The lives, hopes, dreams and worlds I will be a part of lie elsewhere.

And my heart, I sense, is already travelling ahead of the rest of me as I walk through future's door.

Friday, August 02, 2013

Salvation's Songs

I was asked to offer four hymns or songs for the Induction in September. It struck me that perhaps I might write something to throw in the mix. As I started to play around with ideas, the mood of the piece and the melody and the chords kind of fell out of my fingers fairly quickly.

A little time and a little polish brought some shape.

Then I wondered what the song was saying: the first verse came simply, as is often the case. In my head, it was living somewhere between a Spiritual and a Welsh Revival hymn, so the repetition of the second line seemed acceptable. The chorus took a while. The rhyme wasn't there to begin with, and I was playing with 'cross and crown' before I found 'thorns and glory'.

What I did find, as I reached the last line, was that I automatically sang 'I will sing Salvation's Songs', and it was just one of those moments. I mean, I've been looking to write a song with that line for years. You'd think, wouldn't you? I have a book by that title. It's at the top of this page and on my Twitter feed. It's an obvious place to go. And I've never done it musically. Never even come close to it. But the other evening, it was just obvious.

So here's a song about following Jesus, about worshipping him and living in his presence. It's a heart song.

And I think we will probably give it a run out this weekend in Calverley, and if I can get through the slight summer cold that's sitting on my voice this week and all goes well, we'll add it to the order of service for September 11th too.