Projects

Fight the Headlines

Have you looked at the news of late, at what new calamities the world can create all plastered on the front page as if we're all upon the stage of some Greek tragedy?

There is a crazed racket of noise voiced by the newspapers and news anchors on televisions, all repeating renditions of doom and gloom that leave little room for hope.

Wars rage on the very first page, and the page after that asserts that this or that spat will in fact become a war tomorrow.

And on page three are the refugees who flee those wars only to wash up on shores where they're not wanted.

Page four has more, from terrorist acts to economic collapse lined up by first drafts of a peace accord that went ignored while everyone went on fighting.

And all of this unease has high degrees of complexities, which means that we can't easily solve the world's pollutions with simple conclusions or quick-fix solutions. And so all of my disillusions only grow.

And I ask: What have we done to the world we come from? When hopelessness pervades the prayer that I've prayed is that we won't we have to lie in the bed that we've made.

And we cry out to God for Mercy. And his answer to us is His son, Jesus.

For on Friday a crown of thorns sat upon his brow but by Sunday an empty tomb held the promise that now the worst of kinds of news can be redeemed and infused with hope.

Jesus, Silence the news and the views of those who would tell us that the world will come to nothing for you are the thing the world will come to. You. Only you.

These headlines that roll on will not be the words that I stand on for my hope is built on the one who gave me breath and whose power conquered death!

Yes, death has been swallowed up in victory! So fear and these headlines have nothing on me. And in the face of whatever news I might be given I will declare this one headline: "Jesus has risen!"

Dust

Genesis 1 is one of my favorite passages in the whole of scripture, telling us so much about who God is and about who we are and about who we are meant to be.

It reads like poetry, but that doesn’t stop me from finding new ways to state the truth I find there, and that causes me to read it anew and receive it as if for the first time.

This is the most recent project that sprung from the very dramatic opening to this very dramatic story called life.

An unabridged version of the poem I wrote can be read below.

Before everything was nothing.

Then breath passed past the lips of God; words rocketed into the dark. And the nothing blinked and burst into bright, trembling being.

When the dust finally settled from all the commotion of making mountains and oceans and all the rest, this dust was blown about with ease by the breeze, an endless parcel of unremarkable particles.

Then, into this dust— this crust of the earth— came the very hand of God.

From dust he brought about beauty until from the dirt he’d hewn the human form, perfect and priceless.

But breathless, lifeless, far less than what he had in mind for humankind. For his kindness has always had more in store for us.

So he leaned in quite close. And thus, into this dust he breathed life.

And what am I to do with this breathing in and out but to lift my voice in Worship? That is breath’s very purpose. The thing that’s of worth is this raising of praise!

But can this mouth speak your name when marked by the shame of the things I’ve said? All the unwholesome talk that comes out of it, that spouts from it?

These lips are not worthy to give worth to Thee. So I will say a prayer like Isaiah for I am a creature of unclean lips. Touch the hot coal of your grace to this mouth so I can cry holy. For only from you can I come to form the words due you in praise.

For your words brought all things into the persistence of existence and my words come at the insistence of your breath in my lungs, of a work in me that’s been done and is still doing the work of reworking this dust into finer stuff.

So these knees sink down to the dust as they must in adoration of you.

And though praise may fall from my lips ceaselessly they will fail to be enough to give due to the wonder of you who gave me breath.

Yet until the day when you lay this body to rest in the blessed dust where it began… from this dust will rise the cries of praise!

Shadows: A Spoken Word

We all have questions, dangling thoughts that are unanswered, things we wonder but sometimes only in whispers. One of the tasks and responsibilities of artists is to poke at these kinds of questions and raise the decibels of those whispers. The team and I recently had the opportunity to develop a new piece that asks the questions and dives headfirst into the misconceptions many of us have about who God is… who he really is. This is that.

Editing and motion graphics: Andrew Schuurmann Additional motion graphics: Charles Booth Producer: Sherri Meyer Executive Producer: Paul Johnson

God Is Good: A Spoken Word

Sometimes the only way we get things done is because we have to; not because we're told we have to, we just have to. We put it off—whatever the it may be—for as long as we can until we can no longer. The pressure is too much, and the dam bursts. Even then, though, I don't always find that the water rushes. I have this vision of the dam crumbling and the water gushing into every bit of the low lying land. It doesn't happen that way very often. Usually, the dam bursts as a little chunk here and a little crack there. The water spurts out in comical sprays, like when you put your thumb over the end of a garden hose.

And these are the hardest kinds of ideas to wrangle. You're running half-crazed trying to make sense of why things are leaking here and spraying over there without the percipience to grasp that there is a titanic body of water waiting to break through what you once dismissed as a lovely little retaining wall.

This is the work we have to do because we're about to be swallowed up in it anyway.

This spoken word was one that had been writing itself in my circumstances and weaving itself in my deepest places for quite some time, but directing all that water into the neat rivers and ravines of sentences and rhymes was hard. Hard in a lot of ways.

But good too.

Note: It's in a couple pieces mixed in with the song.

Created alongside Jenny Potter & Andrew Schuurmann Song "Good To Me" by Audrey Assad Performed by Becky Ykema