Saturday, July 5, 2008

Frederick Buechner, Daniel Amos, and the Alphabet of Grace

Reading Frederick Buechner's wonderful The Alphabet of Grace, I was delighted, among other things, to be reminded of songs by Terry Taylor, one of my favourite obscure Christian artists. This song, for example, is the book set to music:
(What's Come) Over Me
words and music by Terry Taylor

You're in the light and in the dark
In the peace and in the chaos
In a world that's ours for naming
You're in my sleeping and my waking
You're in the color and in the sound
In every joy and every sorrow
You're in the faces of each stranger
In estrangement and in failure
In the books I read and
in the air I breathe
You live and move and have your being
There's a window in the wall
there you are behind it all
the Holy Dream becomes a Holy face
and it leaves me reeling

You're in the sunshine and the rain
in open spaces and in shadows
You're in my incantatious longings
"Come unto Me," I hear you calling

and I fear the very thing I'm looking for
here's someone at my door
I'm floored again by
what's come over me

(For more on Buechner references in Terry Taylor's music, see this excellent site by J. Brandon Barnes.)
I also enjoyed Buechner's asides about writing:
It is the first day because it has never been before and the last day because it will never be again. Be alive if you can all through this day today of your life. What's to be done? What's to be done? Follow your feet. Put on the coffee. Start the orange juice, the bacon, the toast. Then go wake up your children and your wife. Think about the work of your hands, the book that of all conceivable things you have chosen to add to the world's pain. Live in the needs of the day" (40).

"It is time to put on raincoats that smell of childhood and to say goodbye and to drop the children off at school and say goodbye, goodbye, and go off to what it embarrasses me to call my work because it is my idiotic game instead, my solitaire, played out in an empty room where when I'm lucky, I manage to escape everything including the question whether there is anything anywhere that the world needs less in its pain than another lecture, another sermon, another book" (62).

"Then, as so often happens, just as I am ready to start writing, knowing pretty much what I want to say and excited about finding a way to say it well, something in me tries to get up and leave it--drink a glass of water, look out the window, read a magazine. Just as the spell has a chance of working, I break it. Just as there is a chance of bringing light out of dark, I choose the dark, withdraw my hand from the hand I have reached out for" (88).

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