Would you fall to pieces?

20 01 2009

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ve been trying to listen to more positive, uplifting music as of late; my latest endeavor involved a CD splurge which resulted in Steven Curtis Chapman’s latest album, as well as In the Company of Angels and Back Home, both by Caedmon’s Call. All told, I think I struck gold with the Caedmon’s Call CDs.

True, neither of the two albums mentioned are new – Back Home came out back in 2003 – but that doesn’t in any way change the quintessential fact that Caedmon’s Call is putting out the most God-centered (Theocentric to you wordsmiths out there) music I have heard in a very long time. The first cut on In the Company of Angels – BOOM. Right there. Exactly what I needed hear.

I realize that last two lines I just wrote are the most “unlike-me” lines I’ve ever written.

I’ve been wearing them out on my CD player for a couple of weeks now, and I am drawn repeatedly to the 8th track on Back Home – a song entitled High Countries. Reading the lyrics, I immediately knew that the song was inspired by The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis. This is, of course, great interest to me, partly because I remember the book to have been such a compelling read (I was reading it in Calculus class), and also because almost 10 years after doing so (at the Main Library in UP), I’ve only come across one other person who has read it.

Anyway, listening to the song as I tried to fall asleep one night, I tried to imagine what it must be like to be in the “High Countries” as depicted in the book – where only those who belong there (i.e. have died in Christ) can actually enjoy their being there; for those who belong to Hell, it is all too-unbearable: The grass, soft as down to the children of heaven, is as hard as stone and as sharp as razors to everyone else. The visitors from hell cannot so much as pick flowers: the flowers are too strong for them. To get pelted by heavenly rain would be like trying to stay outdoors during a hailstorm (if you’ve never experienced that before, imagine ice cubes raining from the sky instead of drops of water).

What got me thinking, though, was that while re-reading the book (almost a decade later), I could see, perhaps for the first time, how much of myself I can still see inside the “ghosts” from Hell – the envious boss, the self-righteous pastor, the control-freak of a wife, the self-centered mother, the dwarf/tragedian duo so given to emotional blackmail – I see parts of me in all of them…

…and I wonder: what else am I hanging on to, tooth and nail, hissing and snarling ferociously, endlessly, clamorously claiming as mine – while God continues to offer, in exchange, pure, unimaginable joy?

Would the weight of glory pass right through me if I held it in my hands? And if yes, what will I do about it now, while I am still among the living?

“Nothing, not even the best and noblest, can go on as it now is. Nothing, not even what is lowest and most bestial, will not be raised again if it submits to death. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. Flesh and blood cannot come to the Mountains. Not because they are too rank, but because they are too weak. What is a lizard compared with a stallion? Lust is a poor, weak, whimpering thing compared with that richness and energy of desire which will arise when lust has been killed.”

“The Master says to our master, `Come up. Share My rest and splendor till all natures that were your enemies become slaves to dance before you and backs for you to ride, and firmness for your feet to rest on. From beyond all place and time, out of the very Place, authority will be given you: the strengths that once opposed you will be obedient fire in your blood and heavenly thunder in your voice.'”

“Overcome us that, so overcome, we may be ourselves: we desire the beginning of your reign as we desire dawn and dew, wetness at the birth of light. Master, your Master has appointed you forever: to be our King of Justice and our High Priest.”

– The Great Divorce, Chapter 11.




One response

27 01 2009


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