Thursday, February 13, 2014

She Flies On: Stargazer Lilies and Dragonflies

Mission Summit 2014 is over and my life is almost my own. I  say almost because we still have the debriefing to complete, and the 2014 Planning Team to close out but the Summit, the event, is over. Rave reviews are still coming in unsolicited, enthusiastic. Everybody who attended and helped us out that day, and there were many, enjoyed and learned from it. I didn't crash and burn. New relationships are flourishing, enduring by grace, and, I am now reveling in the allure and fragrance of a gorgeous bouquet of  flowers. The Stargazer lilies especially hold me in a spell because they remind me of one of my favorite things about the character of God: His Immanence (See my note on Percy Ainsworth's sermon Stargazing and Heart Healing based on Psalm 147: 2, 4). And, every once in a while I pause to read, yet again, the marvelous handwritten card thanking me for my work on the Summit. I admire the delicate watercolors of the dragonfly on it. Thoughtfully chosen it brings out the stargazer, the dreamer, but also traces the contours of my own brokenness. "She Flies On" is the title of the painting and the artist's name is C. Chimayo. A treasured gift it just keeps on giving. Here's what I relished today.

She Flies On is also a hymn. It is about God as the Holy Spirit. It is so very appropriate because it accurately reflects the way in which our presbytery's Mission Summit played out. We weren't just a 'church court' but we became a community upon which the Spirit was poured out on Saturday. Even before Summit Day, the Holy Spirit was truly leading our planning team and on the 8th as dawn was breaking into the night, Hebrews 12 came alive: God is a consuming fire, and we live in his "unshakeable kingdom." Consuming Fire was the song I'd been humming after that but it was a bit more passion and power than I could handle :). I needed something lighter. And, She Flies On showed up, just right! Quieter, evocative of God's amazing love through the mother-daughter relationship (my very own poverty deficit to use the words of our Mission Summit Keynote Speaker Bryant Myers), it suits my mood now, affirming it. "And in the passage of her flight, her song rings through the night, full of laughter, full of light, she flies on." I am being refreshed with the "Spirit song in my heart again... bringing life in wind and fire." Thank you.

Are you tired today? Feeling unloved? Perhaps you need a gentle Holy Spirit pick me up? Check this out. Below are the lyrics and a link to the YouTube video of She Flies On. I chose a version with a choir, soloist and an accompanying flute arrangement. You might also want to contemplate that She Flies On is known as She Comes Sailing on the Wind. Nothing can separate us from the love of Holy Father or Yesu Appa (Jesus Father, in the lingo of my girls in India - I wonder if they know of God as Amma (Mother) too, parts of South India are after all strongly matriarchal). May you bask in this amazing love, a treasured, well-beloved child.

Refrain:
She comes sailing on the wind,
her wings flashing in the sun;
on a journey just begun,
she flies on.
And in the passage of her flight,
her song rings out through the night,
full of laughter, full of light,
she flies on.

1. Silent waters rocking on the morning of our birth,
like an empty cradle waiting to be filled.
And from the heart of God the Spirit moved up on the earth,
like a mother breathing life into her child.

2. Many were the dreamers whose eyes were given sight
when the Spirit filled their dreams with life and form.
Deserts turned to gardens, broken hearts found new delight,
and then down the ages still she flew on.

(Refrain)

3. To a gentle girl in Galilee, a gentle breeze she came,
a whisper softly calling in the dark,
the promise of a child of peace whose reign would never end,
Mary sang the Spirit song within her heart.

4. Flying to the river, she waited circling high
above the child now grown so full of grace.
As he rose up from the water, she swept down from the sky,
and she carried him away in her embrace.

(Refrain)

5. Long after the deep darkness that fell upon the world,
after dawn returned in flame of rising sun,
the Spirit touched the earth again, again her wings unfurled,
bringing life in wind and fire as she flew on.

(Refrain)

Words and music by Gordon Light (see references below for more information)

Here's the Youtube video of the song by the Singers and Players of Beaches Presbyterian Church, arrangement by Andrew Donaldson. 


If you liked the song you may want to purchase the Stained Glass album in which this song is featured or the printed sheet music from here. And, here's a description of the album: Andrew Donaldson, artistic director and conductor - Chipped, stained, fragile, we are all in need of the Artist's skillful repair. When God's grace brings us together, we become living windows...This first CD by the Singers and Players of Beaches Presbyterian Church was both a portrait of the music of our worshiping community and sketches for what it was becoming. The piano pop of Keith Green's Stained Glass mixes with Bruce Cockburn's soaring Lord of the Starfields, Gordon Light's folk anthem She Flies On and a suite of African worship and freedom songs. Source: http://www.andrewdonaldson.ca/recordings.html#stainedglass

References

Gordon Light is a retired Anglican Bishop of Canada and I believe it is the version played by his folk-singing group, Common Cup Company (all male vocals) that I've heard before. You can listen to their version from Nimbus Music: http://www.nimbitmusic.com/commoncup. Please scroll down and She Flies On as the last song on the album The Spirit of Christ. I highly recommend the whole album! Browse the Common Cup Company website - here - to learn more about them. She Flies On has found a place in many denominational hymnbooks and here is the story behind the hymn from the General Board of Discipleship of the United Methodist Church which, incidentally, is where I've sung the hymn before as She Comes Sailing on the Wind!

Credits: Thanks to Wendy Donaldson :)

Grace and Peace.

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