When encountering a legend, be sure you are fully awake.
In this most interesting new era of time, it is important our senses are fully engaged. In the Bible we are encouraged to taste and see that the Lord is good. Those who have ears to hear understand His ways, and we are instructed that as the fragrance of Christ, we display His aroma to all those we meet. It is through touch, the laying on of hands, that we pray for the sick and see them healed.
So, when earlier this year the Holy Spirit began impressing upon me the necessity of keeping my senses alert, I knew to expect Him to show me something in a way I’d not seen it before. I had no idea He would teach me through a legend’s voice.
Having seen a movie on the life of Andre Bocelli last year, I was deeply touched by the story of this Italian opera star. Though the doctors encouraged his mother to abort this child they knew would be born with a genetic predisposition to blindness, she refused. Andre was born sighted and lost his sight at around age 12. He loved music and singing and the movie depicted how his mother would take him to venue after venue to sing, only to be told he was not good enough to make it as a professional. Those who heard him obviously could not see the potential of his gift as they listened. Ever since watching this movie it has been on my wish-list to attend an Adrea Bocelli concert, and suddenly in June that dream came true. Scrolling through the internet, a pop-up advertisement told me he was in concert that evening in Denver and within minutes I had purchased tickets for our daughter Beth and myself to attend. It was that evening, listening to Andre’s strong, mellow voice, that I was taught about how to navigate the mountains I face that seem impassable.
Arriving to our seats just in time for the concert to begin, I mentioned to Beth something I have noticed when I’ve seen Andre sing on videos: he touches the woman with whom he sings. There is neither hint nor whisper of anything inappropriate in this, but I had observed the soprano accompanying him will often hold his arm or he, her hand. I simply made a non-judgment observation.
Throughout the concert Andre was led on to the stage by the orchestra conductor. He would sing two or three songs and be led off, to be replaced at the mic by a soprano soloist or perhaps a violinist. The first note of the evening filled the hall and touched a deep place within. At intermission I posted on Instagram: “Raw vulnerability wrapped in power. Raw power encased in an earthen vessel. Andre Bocelli, your gift has touched my soul.” I had no idea what was yet to come.
The concert ended only to be followed by three standing ovations and therefore, three encores. During the second ovation, he and a soprano sang a song called, “The Prayer”. As the song built to it’s climax, the soprano joined in with her note just a hair of a split second late. Now, I neither pretend nor imagine to be a professional musician or music critic, but all of my senses were fully engaged in this prayer, and it is a song I am very familiar with as I have both listened to it often and watched videos of other well known singers perform it. As soon as she ‘missed’ her entrance, I held my breath and that’s when it happened – Andre reached for, found, and held her hand. And I cried, realizing I was witnessing a display of raw vulnerability in the same earthen vessel as raw power. Holy Spirit was teaching and I was learning, through the gift of this man.
You see, whereas other professionals turn to look into each other’s eyes at this high point of the song – to sync breath, beat, blood – their souls- in song- Andre is blind. Where his eye gate could not connect he and his duet partner, his hand, the gate of touch, could and did. Clasping hands, they finished the prayer as two voices perfectly harmonized as one. As prayers are meant to be.
They walked off stage following The Prayer and once again thunderous applause demanded Andre return. We were not done hearing. Our individual souls were collectively watered but far from satiated.
The conductor once again led Andre on for his final performance of the evening, which was concluded with as clarion a note as that with which it began. Now finished, the conductor led him to the far side of the stage so he could take his final bows there. As he did so, the conductor took a step back so as to not take any of Andre’s limelight. And as Andre turned to go, his shoulder bumped the conductor’s, who quickly stepped into place, taking Andre’s arm in a steadying, comforting, leading gesture. Together they walked across the stage and exited one final time.
But with that momentary, awkward shoulder bump, every sense in me was alerted and graphically aware: this remarkable, gifted, humble man whose voice took our collective breath away could not get himself safely off the stage.
Raw vulnerability wrapped in power. Raw power encased in an earthen vessel. Andre Bocelli’s life touched my soul and gave me great insight into how I am to navigate this new era. We were never meant to sing our song alone, never meant to find our own way. There is One who leads and guides us, One who is always by our side. And in walking together as His family, His children, His beloved, we are encompassed ’round about, always within easy reach. When one of our senses seems dull, we are invited to use another to ensure we stay in step, in tune, in sync. Jesus IS the Way across the mountains we face, and He has given us one another so we do not journey alone. His love for us and our love for and trust in both Him and one another as we make our way across the stage of life, through the seemingly impossible days, will keep us safe and sound as we Love Ourselves To Life. We will learn how to successfully and joyfully live the days we’ve been given, together.
This blog was written to compliment a series of video blogs in process. To access those blogs, check out our Facebook page at Bespoken International or click this link: https://youtu.be/nAbczD9CXCw .
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It’s time to stand up and be counted. To come out of what we’ve hidden behind and say, “Here am I, Lord. Choose me!” Times are not just changing – the times have changed. Dutch Sheets says we are not just in a new season but a new era. We’ve all lived through many season changes and for the most part know how to navigate them, but this is something new in our generation. Therefore each of us is needed as the Lord calls up the army of God to stay focused and endure; trains the athletes with integrity and equips the farmers to bring in the harvest of souls quickly ripening in the fields around us. (see 2 Timothy 2). Every “I” who loves God and is part of His family is needed to raise a hand in worship and shout, “AYE!” Frankly, if we want to keep step with the One with Whom we walk, we don’t have a choice but to go beyond what is comfortable and known.
Uncertainty brings a measure of insecurity. I have the honor of speaking with a number of people from various backgrounds and nations. Each one has their own definition of what comfort and security looks and feels like just as each has their own understanding of what it means to walk with God. Isn’t that beautiful and one true expression of diversity? All have one thing in common: we don’t know what is happening in the world and therefore are unsure how to navigate once we say our ‘aye’ to God. I wish I knew and had all the answers: I do not. What I do know is that this life, this invitation to walk victoriously with Him into the unknown is one of the gifts He gives. I know He is good no matter what the newscast tells me is happening or how my heart may be breaking over something I cannot control.
A few weeks ago Jim and I came to Florida so he can help build a house for one of our nieces. Despite cool and rainy weather I have spent hours walking the beach, listening for Him. Looking for Him. Waiting on Him to speak in a way I can hear as to what this new era holds for us: at least for a hint of how to walk forward into it. He has spoken loud and clear at times, but for the most part I am finding, three weeks in, that my inner self knows things I didn’t know before; is settled in places that were unsettled in the past era. After a few days I sat down and made this list of what He was working in me as I walk. What follows is that list that came from my deep heart. I suspect some will identify with parts of it while others will catch hold of something else. That’s good. I’m not as interested in you knowing what I think as I am hopeful that my quickly scratched notes bring you a wider vision of this era, as well as courage to deal with the emotions, thoughts and uncertainties of your own heart.
An Uncertain Season in a New Era of Time
- Not about comfort! Be prepared to be uncomfortable. Out of routine, rhythm, place, space, time. My security is in Him alone.
- My language must shift from “If You are truly good….” to, “Because you are truly good…”. One word in a sentence that changes it from doubt and accusation to faith and worship. One word that makes a huge, important difference in my prayer life.
- The incongruity of traffic and waves. The house we are staying in is across the street from the sea. We must look over one to see the other, tune out the man-made noise to hear the real, the persistent, pursuing voice of God. Like the waves He speaks, He woos, He calls and pursues our heart.
- Find beauty in the broken. Seashells aplenty, very few perfect to the eye. Much of the beauty is found inside the brokenness.
- Decades of prayer have brought us to a time of hidden things being revealed. Much that has looked good on the outside is being broken open to reveal what has been hidden. Beauty that is of His making will be celebrated in the months ahead: that which is evil will meet with justice.
- Twenty years ago we came home from Asia talking about human trafficking – many thought we were crazy; how did we make up something like this? Now the awareness is commonplace though the depth of it in our own nation is still largely ignored. Out of the depths of darkness the Lord is bringing much to light that will shock those who have been unaware in their days of slumber. May we have answers and solutions to the questions about to be asked by many.
- Walking the beach I noticed how deep and pronounced are the footsteps of those who walk barefoot. In fact, the impression of their feet is made larger by the impact in the sand so it looks like Bigfoot himself has been cruising the beach. Tennis shoes leave a mark more true to size. This morning I wore a pair of water shoes I borrowed from my daughter. They seemed to skim the surface of the sand and I realized it would be difficult to trace my steps though I walked a long way. In this new era those who ask will be given new shoes, an upgraded ability to walk in peace and leave little to no trace except that which imprints hope and peace into the souls of the confused and frightened who didn’t see or expect what is coming. What is, in fact, here. The years ahead will be glorious for His children: how I want to be ready!
- Aware of many thoughts not my own. Thoughts of impending doom or disaster. Ugly, perverse thoughts. Things I never think or even think about thinking, therefore I know they are not my own but I am picking them up in the atmosphere of this place. I rebuke them, repent for any moments I accepted or agreed with them, receive forgiveness for that agreement, ask for any door in my own life open to these things to be closed, ask for angelic assistance and help. Remind myself and the powers of the air that I am covered and protected by the blood of Jesus, once again remember I have been given the mind of Christ and the helmet of salvation protects my mind. Purposefully think on things above, things that are good and pure. Worship and pray in the Spirit.
An old song runs through my mind as I walk: “Take me past the outer courts into the Holy Place, past the brazen altar: Lord, I want to see Your face. Take my by the crowds of people and the priests who sing Your praise: I hunger and thirst for Your righteousness and it’s only found one place. Take me in to the Holy of Holies, take me in by the blood of the Lamb. Take me in to the Holy of Holies. Take the coal, cleanse my lips, here I am.”