. . *****ANA'S CHILDREN***** All proceeds from the sale of this CD go to Ana's Children, a non-profit organization helping at-risk kids and families in Romania. Please go to the link below to see their website. Thanks In the beginning... He was there; 'speaking'. Him in all His glory and beauty. Beauty that was not bound in a frame of space or time. No space. No time. Just Him. It was He who spoke, creating time and space, the empty beginning, the blank canvas He intended to fill. He constructed His 'frame', the heavens, without visible beginning or end; boundless, just as He is boundless, for nothing less would be big enough to hold what He had to say. Three dimensional space. We can neither comprehend it going on forever without end, nor can we imagine how it could be otherwise. In one deft stroke He drew for us infinity, and on a clear night, a thoughtful look can cause even a tired, old man to catch his breath in awe. In these heavens He placed the planets and stars. Some, incredible titans, rushing through the limitless expanse, crushing and absorbing lesser giants in their paths. Things so big, that just their presence can change the course of whole systems of planets, even whole systems of stars. A sun so unbelievably hot that it can warm us from a distance we could not walk in a hundred life-times, with a fire that will burn just as brightly in ten thousand years. Fantastic exhibitions that can only hint at the size of the hands that made them. But infinitely big was not nearly enough for Him. The hands that stretched time and space from forever to forever also made whole worlds that are much too small for our eyes to see. Worlds just as complex and magnificent as the galaxies and just as awesome in their power. Worlds within worlds within worlds, He spread His creation from incomprehendibly big to incomprehendibly small, and you and I can see neither end of the spectrum from where we stand. Even more amazing than these extremes of size and power was the fact that everything, from electron to supernova, would be subject to, and guided by, something completely invisible; something unseen, yet undeniably the very foundation of the universe we live in; His invisible presence that holds everything together; His laws. In fact, as we disassemble the visible world down towards it's smallest building blocks, we seem to find ourselves moving back in to the invisible world of thought ('ideas', 'order', 'purpose'). Indeed, the visible world appears to have as it's main purpose, the task of pointing to the invisible world that precedes it. You see, for our benefit, He wrapped His hand in the garment of nature, that in this way He could introduce Himself to the young eyes of His children. Creation, the ultimate parable; the perfect riddle, with each answer leading one step closer to the Puzzle-Maker Himself. But only so much could be said with things like 'comets' and 'gravity', and so, narrowing His focus He continued to speak. One small planet, blessed beyond measure. Here creation took a significant turn as The Artist revealed more of Himself; as life began. Now the deeper beauty of things like Courage and Patience and Loyalty could be seen, heard, smelled and touched. More of the Invisible became visible, taking on wings and fur and fins, to live and breathe and dance on the canvas. Courage would risk and give up it's life for it's offspring. Patience would build and rebuild it's home. Loyalty would stay with it's mate till death. How many times would The Artist point to one of these, a bird, a tree, to reveal His heart to us? Still, even this multitude with it's seemingly infinite variety of unique voices would fall short of being able to sing His song. They were not even aware that It existed. The spawning salmon was not aware of it's own persistence; it just did what it was made to do. The spider's patience went unadmired. This Artist's work, as with any other artist's work, was not made to enjoy itself. Like music notes on a page that ingeniously represent The Artist's heart and mind, they had been prepared for one who in looking at them could see and hear and feel The Artist's music, The Artist's heart, within them: For without such a one, what would be the point? Certainly He would not express Himself only to Himself. Indeed, the very word 'express' implies a 'recipient'. All of creation was busy 'doing' and 'being', but completely incapable of listening. He had surely spoken. But to whom? A hush fell over the garden as into the center of it all He brought her; Her for whom all this had been intended; Her to whom He had been speaking...She was His finishing touch, the master stroke. She was in a very real sense more beautiful than all the other aspects of creation combined. She was different. All creation, from every vantage point including hers, looked adoringly at Him as the center of it's attention. But looking back through His eyes, we would see that she was certainly the center of His creation. She was incredibly special to Him. (More special than she could possibly begin to understand) It was in her that the creation was most obviously a self-portrait. Nowhere else had He poured more of Himself into His work. But I would not want to confuse you at this very important part of the story. She was not special because she was just like Him. Indeed, in the most important sense they were not at all similar, but the difference between them was not the kind you would expect. It is a common mistake for a man to believe that the difference between The Creator and us is primarily a difference of magnitude: That He is bigger, stronger, wiser, more good, more loving, etc., than us. These things are in a sense true, but they miss the real point entirely. He is not merely a 'bigger better' version of us, even if we allow for infinitely bigger and infinitely better. Nor is the difference one like that between a man and a bug or a plant, even if we again expand that gap infinitely. And think of the tragedy if that were the case; if He differed from us in the way we differ from something like a fish. What part of a man's heart can he share with a fish? In the same way, what part of His heart could He then share with us? No, she differed from Him not as a poor instrument differs from an excellent one, but as any instrument differs from the music it was meant to play. No matter how you improve an instrument, at no point does it become music. It does not even begin to move in that direction. The two are totally different. There is a division between them; a line that can never be crossed. Under the best circumstances the two appear to become one; linked seamlessly, in perfect relation to each other. The one was made for the other. But, however it may appear, the division remains: The instrument will never become the music. A man may become more and more loving, perhaps even perfectly loving ( isn't this His children's destiny?), but he will never become love. Love Himself may dwell in the man but the man will always remain a man; an earthen vessel holding the real treasure; the wonderfully made instrument playing the incredibly beautiful music it was created for. The question is, just how wonderful is this instrument? This is important, for some will tell you that the human instrument is crude and limited, and at best capable of little more than a partial or distorted understanding of The Artist's heart. How sad. This belief, which sounds like humility itself, has served to convince many that He is, and always will be, for the most part, a stranger to us; unknowable. How sad. I wonder how many times a seeker has given up his search for answers too early because of this belief?; because he had heard that the answers were beyond him; that it was really not his place to expect them; answers that may have been just around the next corner. Not that we are by any means guaranteed answers to all our questions in this life or even the next. First, it is undoubtedly in our best interest that He withhold from us some information, and there are certainly things that we do not need to know in order to know Him. He will, for our sake, often conceal the details of His plans, but He will never conceal His Heart from us. How could He? His heart is the only standard for our heart. It is the one true light at the center of our existence. If He hides His heart from us we are lost. On the other hand, differing from Him in the way we do, there will remain, of course, certain mysteries; unanswerable questions concerning for example 'how' He does what He does. We will never comprehend 'What' He is. The 'bigness' of His being will forever be beyond our grasp. When contemplating Him Who has no beginning or end, Who stands outside of space and time, Who sees all things and knows all things, Him for Whom all days, all thoughts, all motives, are eternally 'present', we will be, for all eternity, completely overwhelmed and filled with wonder. When considering the essence of 'I am that I am', our place is not answers but awe. Here, we come again to that 'line' we have no way of crossing. However, questions about His character; about Who He is and what motivates Him (love, anger, compassion, etc.) to do the things He does, are legitimate and will, I am confident, all be answered eventually. These things He fiercely wants to share with us, even at great cost, (as we would one day see). It is the reason we are here. We are certainly made to understand His heart, and it is the chief of all tragedies that so many of us believe otherwise. Fortunately, He would one day stoop incredibly low to be near us; to come to us in a way that would once and for always lay to rest (smash to bits) the mistaken notion that The Creator's thoughts could not fit in a human head. He is not like the earthly parent who says, 'Do as I say not as I do'. On the contrary, He would never ask us to do anything He would not do Himself. Having created us in His own image, miraculously endowed with the ability to understand and express His Heart, He would then turn and call to us to follow Him. We would forgive just as He forgives; Love our enemies just as He loves His enemies; Be holy just as He is holy. No, He is certainly not unknowable. There would be a day when He would look at us with those eyes. And say, 'I have been with you so long and still you do not know Me', but He would say those words, not with condescension in His Voice, but with tears in His eyes... But how could we ever have believed that anyway?;how could we ever have thought that The Artist, (indeed, Music Himself) having His heart and mind filled with a masterpiece would then decide to build an instrument that could not play it? What would be the point of that? Especially when you consider what He intended for her. She would be no pet; no trophy. To the trees He would give the rain and sun. To the cattle He would give the grass and stream. But to her He would give Himself, completely. To all creation, including her, He was 'King'; this, first and foremost. He was also 'Shepherd', 'Potter', 'Father'; words used to designate His 'leadership', 'preeminence', 'loving guidance'; words that certainly applied to her, and had she been made like the rest of creation, these kinds of words would have been enough. However, being made as she was, she required an additional word all her own to describe her unique relationship to Him. She and she alone was meant to call Him 'Husband' as well; a word reserved for the one who could know Him. And He, having created her with this in mind, would call her, and her alone His 'bride'. Different, yes, infinitely so, and yet intended to meet and be joined in total intimacy. 'Married'. She had been given within her the possibility of knowing and loving Him perfectly. But it was just that; a possibility. For The Master Craftsman had paused before His work. Soon He would pour the precious molten metal that would replace the fragile wax features with incorruptible gold. 'Could be's would be replaced by 'Forever shall be's, but before He would do that He would give her a say in determining her destiny. She would have to decide for herself her ultimate purpose, for the only instrument that could play the Holy music, was the one that was created with the power to refuse to play it, and so much depended on her choice...