You go on saying what I want to hear
And alarmingly clear
Playing on all of my sorrow and fear
But I see that your mask is crumbling
Judgment is swift, like a wolf in the night
Ignoring the truth
Doesn't change how it bites
Keep trying to cheat the standard of right
And it'll consume you in the end
I reach out my hand to guide and defend
Let me help you, my friend
Open your heart, and don't try to pretend
You know festering wounds never heal
As long as there's breath, it's never too late
But now the Master
Is waiting at the gate
Hoping that you will consider your fate
And turn aside from the road of death
Last night after Bible class I enjoyed a brief discussion with a young lady regarding songs that speak of Zion. It's a topic I've spent quite a bit of time thinking about and studying over the last several months, but I have not yet reached a firm conclusion across the board. Part of my trouble is this: some of the songs in our song books use the word "Zion" to refer to heaven, a concept which I do not find in the New Testament. Rather, I believe Zion is used to refer to God's new covenant kingdom and His subjects' relationship with Him, that which we have "come to" in Hebrews 12.
I have heard some sum up this concept as "the church," however, I'm not convinced that that label carries God's full intended meaning. But I have not been able to find any New Testament references to Zion as a figure for heaven. Does anyone else have any thoughts on this?
My practical application of my study encounters hiccups when, as a congregation, we are led in songs which use this concept of Zion, songs like We're Marching to Zion, Zion's Call, and There Is a Habitation. Several of these songs are among those I truly enjoy singing and draw great encouragement from, but I am concerned that the authors may have used Zion as a mistaken reference to heaven or to that place where God's figurative throne is. Because of this, I find that singing those songs makes me uncomfortable.
I have to try to concentrate on rearranging the thoughts in my head as I both read and sing them so that they match what I have come to believe from my studying (e.g. since we can't "march" to a place we have already come to, I try to replace "Zion" with "heaven" in my mind). Often, I find I just can't do it fast enough to keep up with the tempo. Sometimes, my tired brain can't seem to reconcile the thoughts at all. Since "whatever is not from faith is sin," I fear to simply sing anyway when I am not convinced it's okay to do so. I usually end up not singing portions, or even whole songs, and feeling rude, embarrassed, grieving.
Those of you who know me best know that I LOVE to sing. Singing praises and thanksgiving to my God, singing encouragement to myself and my brethren, singing requests for strength, courage, and wisdom are things that lift my heart, give me hope, and motivate me to dare the big, bad world for another day. I don't know what to do when it comes to songs using Zion. Help, anyone?
Oh yeah, and golf too...
For those of you who had asked for follow-up on my last post, the IOC made it official this month. And as before, superfluous golf verbiage has been removed. :)
Copenhagen - The sports of golf and rugby sevens have been voted today by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session for inclusion in the programme of the 2016 Olympic Games - awarded last Friday to Rio de Janeiro. The two sports had been recommended by the IOC Executive Board (EB) in August following an extensive evaluation by the Olympic Programme Commission of the seven sports seeking to enter the programme.
“Both golf and rugby are very popular sports with global appeal and a strong ethic,” said IOC President Jacques Rogge. “They will be great additions to the Games.”
The two sports, voted on separately in alphabetical order of the sports, golf then rugby, received a simple majority of votes cast by the members of the Session. The result of the first vote was not revealed to the Session until the vote for the second sport had taken place. The IOC President elected not to take part in the vote.
Bernard Lapasset, President of the International Rugby Board, said: “I am so delighted and proud. My thanks to the IOC members for their wonderful support. Rugby is honoured to be a part of the Olympic Sports Programme and we are already looking forward to Rio 2016.”
Format of the rugby competition for the Games proposed by the International Rugby Board (IRB): two to four days of competition of rugby sevens. Teams will be split into two pools of six with a total of 12 men’s teams and 12 women’s teams (288 athletes). The two top teams in each pool will qualify for semi-finals. For more information: www.irb.com
Want to know more about the sport, or the USA Sevens Team? Nifty info here.
Spotted this on the AP wire... and took the liberty of "editing out superfluous golf references"... ;)
BERLIN (AP) - Golf and rugby took a big step toward joining 2016 Summer Olympics, making the cut after the IOC rejected bids from baseball, softball and three other sports. The International Olympic Committee executive board Thursday also denied squash, karate and roller sports. The board will submit golf and rugby sevens - a faster-paced version of the standard 15-a-side game - for ratification by the full 106-member IOC assembly in Copenhagen in October. "In the end, the decision came down to which two would add the most value," IOC president Jacques Rogge said. "Golf and rugby will be a great addition to the games. ... They have global appeal, a geographically diverse lineup of top iconic athletes and an ethic that stresses fair play." Final approval will require a simple majority vote by the full IOC. Rogge said the sports will be put to individual votes, not as a tandem. The 15-member board selected the proposed sports for 2016 by secret ballot over several rounds, with the sport receiving the fewest votes eliminated each time. Rogge, who chairs the board, did not vote. Rugby was the clear winner overall, getting seven votes in the first round and a majority of nine in the second. In a separate ensuing vote, golf needed four rounds to get through. Karate led the first round with five votes, with golf getting three. Golf then got six votes in the second, seven in the third and nine in the fourth.
Rugby was played in four Olympics between 1900 and 1924 in the full 15-a-side format, but now proposes the 7-a-side version. The tournament would be played over four days with 12 teams each for men and women. "They bring the spectacular side of sport, with a lot of scoring, reversals and turnovers," said Rogge, who played rugby on a national level for Belgium. "You have a lot of countries that can win medals. It's very universal." International Rugby Board president Bernard Lapasset was ebullient but cautious. "We recognize the significance of this milestone in our campaign but are also mindful that the ultimate decision rests with the IOC members when they meet in Copenhagen. The Olympic Games would be the pinnacle of the sport for all our athletes," he said.
Oh, and your 5$ word for the day, courtesy of the AP author and (indirectly) the IRB Prez:
"Ebullient" - overflowing with fervor, enthusiasm, or excitement; high-spirited.
Sounds like me after reading the above!
I just wanted to thank everyone who has expressed concern and offered prayers on my behalf for my recent illness. While I am feeling better than I was, I find that I am still prone to discomfort, and my sleep is often fractured as I wake in pain. Praise be to God that my illness has been deemed not at all serious, but merely painful and passing.
After some additional poking and prodding on Monday, my doctor believes that the cause of my discomfort is Splenic Flexure Syndrome, a disorder relating to inflammation of the large intestine due to trapped air bubbles. I had a rather long and uncomfortable spell of hiccupping last weekend, and I probably swallowed large amounts of air, which later got trapped in my large intestine, from the middle of my chest going to slightly below my heart.
Anyway, I'm on a restricted diet for a while while everything gets set to rights. So, I would appreciate it if you would continue to keep me in your prayers. And thank you so much to all of you who have been doing so. Love to you all!