Handwriting on My Wall – 1

Pinned to a wall board right above my computer screen are some orienting momentos – photos, poetry, verses of Scripture, pithy comics, prayers. We all have them: “remembrances of things past,” celebrations of the present, hopes for the future, tucked away between the pages of a book, folded up in our wallets, tended to in the secret gardens of our hearts.

Some things revolve on and off my wall, others are purposely fixed more permanently. If it’s been there more than a few months, you can bet it’s pretty important to me. Often someone’s steak is another’s cake, but trusting that there is broader appeal to some of these treasures, I offer them to you expectantly.

We begin with ancient words of Job who, in the midst of significant personal suffering, means to clarify his “friend” Bildad’s perspective:

Behold, these are but the edges of his ways; how small a whisper do we hear of him; but the thunder of God’s power, who can understand?

Job 26:14

We also note a sonnet of Michelangelo Buonaroti, penned in the 16th century, and translated from Italian to English in the 19th century by fellow poet William Wordsworth. It peeks into that crease between between inspiration, illumination, perspiration, and communication so central to crafting worship:

The prayers I make will then be sweet indeed

If thou the Spirit gives by which I pray.

My unassisted heart is barren clay,

Which of its native self can nothing feed.

Of good and pious works thou art the seed,

Which quickens only where thou say’st it may.

Unless thou show to us thine own true way,

No man can find it: Father! Thou must lead.

Do thou, then, breathe those thoughts into my mind

By which such virtue may in me be bred,

That in thy holy footsteps I may tread.

The fetters of my tongue do thou unbind,

That I may have the power to sing of thee,

And sound thy praises everlastingly.

Michael Denham

Author: expositionalvision

Michael Denham has served many years as Director of Music Ministries at The National Presbyterian Church in Washington, DC.

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