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two chords

October 7, 2008

I thought about posting the piece I read for the Worship Night last month. After some thought I decided not to because – while it’s based on an old blog post – it’s spoken word. Spoken word, by nature, loses something when it’s not … spoken. Especially when it’s not spoken by the author.

But then someone asked. So alright. I don’t know if it’s going to make the final cut of the live album, but if it does, get it. It’s much, much better spoken (even though I totally choked and had to clear my throat despite frantically downing a half bottle of water just before reading) … ’cause that’s what it’s for.

So here it is. I also thought about breaking it up all poetically the way it’s supposed to be read … but a lot of that is kind of spontaneous, and when I tried to do it anyway it makes a really, really long post. In the interest of maintaining some artistic integrity and the aesthetics of the blog, you get it in paragraphs:

Revelation 4:2-11// Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne. And He who sat there was like a jasper and a sardius stone in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like an emerald.

Around the throne were 24 thrones, and on the thrones I saw 24 elders sitting, clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads. And from the throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings, and voices. Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal. And in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were four living creatures full of eyes in front and in back.

The cheap, plastic lamp that hangs above my piano doesn’t turn on anymore. It’s probably the bulb, but I’m satisfied in shadows.

So I sit in the dark. Alone. I sit in the black office chair with the kind of posture that only a decade of piano lessons can cultivate in a person’s subconscious. I sit, eyes closed, and listen for eternity.

I reach out for the keys that I know are just in front of me and play the chord my fingers fall on. The only decision I have to make is whether to go to a minor third or up a fifth. My hands know the math that comes after the second measure. I am not aware of which I choose.

I rock back and forth between two chords, there in the doorway, and He smiles at me. I feel the flame in His gaze and I want it. I want it dangerously, passionately, fearfully, hesitantly. And He knows it. He knows yearning mixed with trepidation, and desire tainted with fear. He knows, and He_waits. Two chords. Two chords is safe, and I can do it with my eyes closed without hitting an incorrect key.

I rock back and forth between two chords, there in the doorway, because right now He is utterly unapproachable and I am even ashamed to have gotten no where. That throne is terrifying in its beauty, and the kind of love that waits for me in the center of it will consume me. Still – that fear is laced with longing, and He waits for me.

I glance down at my two chords and my stomach turns. I rock back and forth between pride and disobedience. Between apathy and false humility. Between selfishness and hatred. My feet, my shoes, my pant legs, are soaked through with mud. And He waits. I rock back and forth between the sea of crystal before Him and the stain on my walk. And I see Him waiting.

And I don’t hear the notes I’m playing but I hope in that moment they’re minor because I want to scream at Him. I want to make Him come out. I can’t go in there! How can I go in there? Can’t He see me? Can’t He see where I’ve been? Can’t He see the stain on my clothes? How can He call me in there like this? Doesn’t He know I’ll ruin it? I can’t go!

And He waits.

He waits, and I know that He knows. His eyes burn through me even from here, so I wipe my feet as best I can, add a third chord, and step out of the doorway. Eyes still closed I try to tread lightly as though I can’t feel clumps of filth landing softly on the floor beneath me. This is so embarrassing, but He knows. I want to be there and He knows and He waits so I go.

I add a fourth chord to complete the phrase and I run. I’m already in. I’ve already ruined His splendor. I’ve already burdened eternity with dirt it was never meant to endure. And I wonder if I’ll survive. I wonder if He’ll look at me when I get there. He can’t look on sin. It can’t stand in His presence and about the moment I’m sure I’ll never endure Him I’m close enough to want nothing more than to try and then I’m there and all I can do is fall at His feet.

And He waits.

And I play, and I open my eyes. I’m playing in D, and as I turn to look behind me at mistake after mistake that I so boldly smeared all over Revelation 4 all I see are the last few, blood-red footprints fading to a pure, crystal finish.

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