Saturday, May 31, 2014

Inflame the Fire

John Michael Talbot has been one of my favorite musicians for quite some time, now.  His Simple Heart CD has been a great conduit of God's peace during times when I have experienced stress since back in 2000.  Brother to Brother, recorded by JMT and Michael Card has been one of my very favorite CDs of all time.

Today, as I traveled to and from the ordination service at the Indiana Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church (more about that at a later time), I was listening to John Michael's Cave of the Heart CD. 

Cave Of The Heart

Cave of the Heart "sounds different" than many (or most) of John Michael's CDs.  Theologically, the theme of the CD harkens back to St. Paul's message to the Athenians in Acts, when he used the "altar to an unknown god" as his point of connection from which he said, "What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you" (which was my sermon text last Sunday, the Sixth Sunday of Easter).  -  In other words, from a good Methodist perspective, much of what John Michael does in this CD is consistent with a Wesleyan understanding of Prevenient Grace.

The song, in particular, that caught my attention was "Inflame the Fire."  (Since this is the second to the last song on the CD, John Michael has, by this time, moved from the prevenient aspects of grace that are found in earlier songs.)  -  This song captured my attention today, I think, for a couple of reasons.  First, there is the sacramental focus found in the song.  That of course would catch the attention of one who is committed to recapture the Wesleyan commitment to Eucharistic worship.

A second reason is the fact that certain of the lyrics of this song made a real connection with recent lectionary texts, including this Sunday's text, which has focused on what, again, is very consistent with a Wesleyan understanding of Scripture: the fact that it is the Holy Spirit who enlivens the Word to us as we faithfully go to Scripture seeking the face of God.  The Scriptures are intended to reveal Christ to us and to shape our very lives by the power of the Holy Spirit.

A third reason that this song captured my attention is what might be called a general sacramental understanding of life.  Another way of trying to get at that is that the song focuses on a very real, living God who is truly at work in "the ordinary ups and downs of life" (as JMT says of the song).

I hope that you will find the words of this song meaningful, as well.

Inflame the Fire
Spreading the fire of the gospel of God
Spreading the fire of the Spirit
Spreading the fire of His call on our life
To follow the gospel of Jesus
Look beyond the mere bread and the wine
To see the real presence of God
Look beyond the externals of life
To His presence within our hearts
Beyond the words on the page of a book
To the mystical Incarnate Word
Written deep in the spirit and soul
In the pages of life to be learned
Inflame the fire
Inflame the fire
Inflame the fire
Inflame the fire
Inflame the fire
Inflame the fire
The truth of law gives direction to life
To know the right from the wrong
But by itself it is never enough
To bring us to divine love
We need the [S]pirit of God in our life
To write the truth in our hearts
A truth beyond ideas and words
To a mystical truth of the heart
Inflame the fire
Inflame the fire
Inflame the fire
Inflame the fire
Inflame the fire

You can hear a bit of the song (and purchase songs from the recording), here.

John Michael's website can be found, here, and the website for The Brothers and Sisters of Charity at Little Portion Hermitage (founded by JMT) can be found, here.

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