Tag Archives: angels

Building a playlist: “My Chains Are Gone” and “I Will Rise”

Days 7 and 8 – “Shackles: The Playlist”

On account of real life getting in the way, I managed to fall a few days behind in my compilation of a playlist for “Shackles,” my historical fiction novel that tells the story of Paul the apostle’s earth-shaking encounter with a jailer in the Roman colony of Philippi, circa 50 A.D. The story is two-fold and simultaneously follows separate paths: Paul’s story when he was Saul the great persecutor of Christians and later then converted evangelist, and the story of the jailer, a man I named Faustus (he’s unnamed in Acts 16). I’ll admit that Faustus became my friend as “Shackles” unfolded and is one of my favorite fictional creations. I suppose it’s not too late to have imaginary friends, right?

The separate paths of Paul and Faustus eventually collide – literally – and then the story follows the outline already detailed in Acts 16. A few of my 18 beta readers have finished the story and their comments and feedback are trickling in.

For the next two entries to “Shackles: The Playlist,” I’m offering a double dose of Chris Tomlin. “I Will Rise” and “My Chains Are Gone.”

One of my all-time favorite sacred hymns is “It Is Well With My Soul,” and there a line in the last verse that yearns: “And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight.” That the answer for that yearning is foretold in Tomlin’s “I Will Rise” with the phrase, “And my faith shall be my eyes …”

Whew. Goose-bumpy stuff.

And “My Chains Are Gone” incorporates the timeless standard “Amazing Grace.” The concepts of chains breaking, shackles falling off, and liberation from the oppression of sin and spiritual darkness are absolutely fitting for “Shackles.” Allow yourself to also consider other ways that we become shackled. Our religious institutions often put us in chains with lists and expectations, which is the very thing that Paul fought until his death. We do a pretty good job of shackling others, too, with our finger-wagging and self-righteousness.

Enjoy.

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Filed under Amazing Grace, Book of Acts, Christianity, Inspiration, National Novel Writing Month, Shackles, The Bible

Vibrating pews and big-headed donkey angels

Countdown to Kianna: Twenty-one, 20, 19, 18 days … until delivery. Kelly told me tonight, “You know, Kianna won’t be born on the due date.” (That’s Feb. 19). And she’s probably right. I don’t think the countdown will get to “Minus 1.” If she takes after her mom and Grammy, she’ll be a little bit early. They are beyond punctual. On the other hand, I’m perpetually a little bit late.

Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting

It’s Wednesday, which means “prayer meetin’,” but I’m actually mining golden memories for this post from Sunday night services.

First, let’s get started with a couple of songs. From the old Broadman hymnal we have “Lead Me Gently Home,” as sung by a Ugandan choir. They have such a great time singing this and it’s such a happy presentation. I laughed and sang along.

That was our oldie. Our modern worship tune for the day is Darlene Zschech singing “Worthy Is The Lamb.”  As always, even the Baptists with us today should feel free to raise their hands.

Now …

There’s some disagreement about the details – and I expect my mother might chime in after she reads this – but when I was 4 or 5 years old, I got left at church on a Sunday night. In my version, I was left for hours and woke up in pitch black darkness, terrified and alone. In my mom’s version – let me see if I can get this right – she thought I’d gone home with Dad (the pastor), but Dad knew I had stayed behind with Mom (the choir/music director) while Mom led youth choir practice.

We’ll come back to this long-running debate over who left me, how long I was left, and whether the trauma was responsible for me still having – to this very day – the heebie-jeebies inside a dark, empty church.

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Filed under Inspiration, Kianna Allene Brown, MIP: Memoir-in-progress, Old Time Religion