05 February 2016

Choices we make


Maybe this happens to you. I remember this experience when I was a boy in the US. The World Book Encyclopaedia set was in the lounge room, and for whatever reason, I would go to look up some entry, like Mercury Space Program or Toronto, Canada. I would start flipping through the pages of the "M" or "T" book, get distracted by a colourful photograph of Mars or marigolds, and the book had me. Thirty minutes later I was still in the letter "M" book, and couldn't remember at all why I had left my room to investigate something. Ah, childhood research and wonder.

This morning I read a Facebook post by a friend about a violin and a master, and thought of the Myra Brooks Welch poem, and Wayne Watson's rendition in song, "Touch of the Master's Hand." I let the found YouTube video play me to a tear or two again, and then let the YouTube keep playing. Soon, I was listening to many other great songs of faith and hope from about 10-20 years ago. Wonderful what the internet allows me to do like the old days.

One of the songs "I pledge allegiance to the Lamb" was an anthem of praise to God and Jesus, and was written by Ray Boltz. "Hey," I wondered, "Whatever happened to him?" Then I read of Mr Boltz, the Christian musician and singer, who came out as gay in 2004 or so, and now is an advocate for gay rights and such. I guess he's ever an activist. OK, homosexuality is not the topic of this blog, but choices...that's the topic. Boltz's song really nailed it for me.

The father in the video is recounting for his young son how in the old days people would be brought before kings and given a choice: Deny Yeshua or die. And real heroes would choose to die rather than deny their faith and the One who never denied them. Powerful, although the visuals are fairly cheesy. Then the scene switches to 'modern' wars and invading armies who burst into a family home while the family is praying. The same choice is offered. The family chooses well. Or so we imagine.

The video father tells the son, "My dad could even pray in school. Of course they took that away from him. Then it became incorrect for us to believe in the Bible. After that they stripped our right to worship away from us." And eventually the police lead the father off out of the cell, as we are given cause to believe, to his death. It's full of tears and drama and emotion. The father's words of challenge and courage ring in the boy's ears as his eyes see the father taken away.

The title is taken from the USA, where the day in many schools still begins with children and teachers alike standing at attention and putting hand to chest, facing the raised US flag, and reciting the pledge. "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands..." Boltz uses that image of pledging allegiance to help us live courageous lives, determined, choice-filled lives for which we and our progeny will be proud. And it's a good image.

What choices will I make today to reflect my faith? What choices will I make today which undermine all my previous choices? What choices will you make today which testify of the realities of heaven or love or life or kindness? This is my Friday thought. This is something which is helping me Thank God it's Friday.

Maybe you found this blog by wandering accident like I used to find Mars or marigolds. I'm glad you did. Do some 'searching' on this blog and see what else I've written about... you might find my voice saying some things you've been thinking also. You never know.

Make good choices.
The choices you make today determine which choices are available to you tomorrow.







_________________________________________ BTW, as a bonus, this is a great song by Boltz about the lamb: Watch the Lamb Awesome to remember as Good Friday hits next month.

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