From the Renovaré Newsletter Archive

The selection below is from a July 1995 Renovaré newsletter. Download a PDF of the original newsletter.

In this issue we focus on two new resources for renewal: Embracing the Love of God by James Bryan Smith and Songs for Renewal by Janet Lindeblad Janzen. I believe these two books are tremendous resources for your own personal growth in grace as well as exceedingly useful tools for small group and church-wide nurture.

How very appropriate it is that these two resources are coming out at the same time. Nothing is more important in life than being overtaken by the furious love of God,” and song is the medium that most fully expresses our experience of God’s love. Love and song, love and song — they belong together, a little like a lock and a key or a bow and an arrow.

A Little Love Song

I must share with you a recent experiment with this glorious combination of love and song. Last Saturday I had the unenviable task of cleaning out the garage. After breakfast Carolynn blithely drove off to her stained glass class leaving me staring at a garage strewn with tools and dust and boxes ad infinitum. What was I to do? Suicide seemed too drastic a way out! No, my only choice was to wade into the pile to see if anything could be done to bring order out of chaos.

Looking at all the stuff,” I recalled Janet Janzen’s ode to the simple life which she wrote for us as we were packing to move to Denver. It is sung to the tune of Three Blind Mice.”

Too much stuff, Too much stuff,
Too much stuff, Too much stuff,
More than enough, More than enough;
The piles are staring us in the face,
They multiply at an alarming pace,
And soon we’ll be buried without a trace in
Too much stuff.

There is more but that gives you a hint of my feelings. However, I had been reading William Law’s A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life, and I wanted, as he says, to make my life a devotion even in so mundane a task as cleaning out the garage. So I picked up a cassette tape of instrumental music featuring the hammered dulcimer. I love the sound of the dulcimer because it captures so wonderfully the haunting simplicity of mountain folk culture. So I worked throughout the day and into the night, allowing the captivating sound of the dulcimer to lead me into loving worship and adoration. It was a good day … and I did finish the task!

A More Excellent Love Song

But my little twitter cannot compare to the more excellent love song that arises from all creation. In the middle of writing this essay I took a brief hike in a lovely area nearby, Castlewood Canyon. Entering the canyon alone, I soon became aware of the music of love and adoration to the Creator of all things. I heard it in the hymns of bird and insect. I heard it in the chant of wind and water. I heard it in the swish of pines that waved to the wind and stretched their needles toward the heavens. My ears were too limited to pick up the sound, but I could see the love song of Columbine and Larkspur and Golden Banner and Indian Paintbrush. I wondered if even the rocks were straining to shout out their own peon of praise.

God so loved the world”
We love him because he first loved us”
singing and making melody in our hearts to God”

Peace and joy,

Richard J. Foster

Text First Published July 1995