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I was sitting in my father’s chair (it creaks so badly as if mimicking my own bones) and humming a Hymn a friend reminded me of. A Hymn that brought back a Sunday in 2006 at Bethel Church on Washington Island with my family.

We all sang in the choir that day–all of us. My mom asked us to. We didn’t always do what she asked us to do, but that day we did. She played the piano.

Their voices came back to me as I hummed the Hymn and read the words, “And can it be that I should gain an interest in the Savior’s blood? Died he for me who caused his pain, for me, who Him to death pursued? Amazing love! How can it be that thou my God should die for me?”

For me, repeated three times, in case I had missed it the first two times. For me, a prodigal, who chose to write fiction rather than a memoir because of how I struggled with those words on the pages. But they say most fiction is autobiographical anyway. Who wants to admit to squandering all you’d been given? I guess it made sense, after all the years I had spent in theatre I would be most comfortable living inside a character.

I consider the great inheritance the Father divided up for us…

When the brother of the Prodigal, the one who didn’t take the risk, or live on the edge, though maybe he wanted to, resented the reception and celebration their father gave for his lost soul of a sibling who finally dragged his sorry soul home with the soles of his shoes worn thin. I have to wonder if that’s how my own older brother ever felt about me. The father said to the older brother, “Everything I have is yours.”

And isn’t that just like God with us?

If that’s not enough, He gave His Son too. The Son said, “I and the Father are One.” God gave Himself. I let those words settle with the music, now wooing me gently like a Psalm.

Instrument accompanying voice, does He play music on your heart strings? From the deepest places of your being, rising over the octaves, the lowest to the highest. A heart is made for this.

A heart is made for music and melody, for beauty, not bitterness, not gloom. Die to self. “Sing a new song,” the Psalm says. Hear the strings played high and low, all of life, all the fullness of a heart that beats will be made beautiful.

From the deepest places of emptiness, I returned home, from vain glory to Glory hidden–the everlasting Glory in the human heart waiting to be played. I imagine God singing, playing instruments, and humming the melodies of our collective hearts.

Can you hear the harp strings? Such a mighty Heart was broken so the healing could flow through it to a bitter broken world, to a bitter broken me. I sat there, the chair creaking, my heart beating, and finally understood why it was called Good Friday.

What should be done within us so I/we can move forward, being better, doing better, and living better? “Come unto Me,” He says. That melody, that music, those heartstrings move me more than I can put into words. So I’ll be quiet now.

At Bethel Church, Washington Island, 2006

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