Take Me Back

Ohmygoodness, I L O V E D late 60s/early 70s soul music like the Stylistics and the Four Tops; give me some Marvin or Stevie or even Smokey; but wow-o-wow for the Supremes, the Chi-Lites or Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, mm-mm-mmm.  A Motown Label on an old vinyl in a thrift store still sets me heart to beating fast.

It wasn’t just love songs and radio pop soul music that I loved, though, for since as far back as I can remember, I have loved-loved-LOVED music that brought the Presence of God into the room.

Andrae Crouch.

Oh, yes, Andrae Crouch.  L O V E him.  Wrote about him before HERE.  And HERE. And as far back as HERE.  Reeeeeeeeeeeeeeally wanted him for Heaven Fest this year, but breakdown in communication or something?  And he parted ways with the guy we were working through.  Sad!  *sniff, sniff

But he was just the power-and-Presence-of-the-Holy-Spirit music to me in my early teens and on.  Got to see him in person and LIVED on Andrae Crouch: Live at Carnegie Hall and later Live in London.  Had 8-tracks, cassettes and record albums.  My dad loved him, too, so there was always a lot of Andrae in the 70s for us!  This 5 or 6 minute sampler on Amazon.com – ahhhhh.  Just click on number 1 and let-er-play.  And-why can I not play the piano like that?

Ephesus Girl.

I also love the book of Ephesians.  Just always thought: now Paul knew how to communicate with these people.  It mixes the right amount of richly-romantic and mystical Bride-of-Christ imagery with just the right amount of practical here-is-how-it-is-done language.  He speaks of mystery and marriage and a spotless bride and husbands loving their wives like Christ loved the church all that.  Go get ’em, Paul!

Jesus

Sometimes the mystery and magic, though, gets muddied, lost.  Sometimes we have “seen enough to know we have seen too much” and we are dirtied and poisoned and broken and bleeding, just sitting in the yuck-of-life getting hard-hearted because tenderness leaves us too vulnerable.  An innocence stolen, a trust broken, a love damaged.

And then we remember – there is a place where those things were taken into account before I knew I would even have needed them to be.  There is a place. It is where resurrection happened, where Jesus rolled away the stone and darkness and death that had held our hearts.  Jesus had hung on a cross, yes, wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities.  His blood had  flowed freely to cover the wrongs done to me, the wrongs I have inflicted on others.  He bought my freedom.  He took the keys of death, hell and the grave.  He rose again and it was a done deal.

Jesus set us free and somehow the enemy managed to dupe us and has stolen our freedom and our hearts.  We sigh and say ‘Life….’

Makes me think of Gal. 3.1…O you foolish Galatians…

Or as The Message puts it~

You crazy Galatians! Did someone put a hex on you? Have you taken leave of your senses? Something crazy has happened, for it’s obvious that you no longer have the crucified Jesus in clear focus in your lives. His sacrifice on the cross was certainly set before you clearly enough.

How did we get here?

The Ephesians weren’t much better.

Despite the love letter God had given them through Pul the Apostle,  in John’s Revelation, God rebuked them,  He saw their works, knew they hated evil – He could see all that.  But He pointed out that they had fallen so very far, left their ‘first love.’  He didn’t leave them hopeless, though. He reminded them to return to that love, to remember the height from which they had fallen and go back and do the first things again. New life, new love, restoration!  Fresh.  Clean.  Whole and holy.

Sometimes you just need your spiritual innocence restored, don’t you?

As we have walked through Holy Week, I have not been  a bit interested in observing religious dates on given days of the week for the sake of remembrance alone, but I have cried out for a return, a restoration of my heart to flesh.  Transformation.  I am open to God renewing and restoring to me the JOY of my salvation {Search me, O God and know my heart} and I am praying for the resurrection power, that same power that raised Christ Jesus from the dead, to give life to my heart. 

Take Me Back

 

Enter Andrae on Easter week.  A song from my way-back-in-the-day past.  Just remembered it.  Started singing it.  “Take me back – to the place where I first received You, where I first believed…” I have been singing this as a prayer all week.

Romans 8.11 Amplified   “And if the Spirit of Him Who raised up Jesus from the dead dwells in you, [then] He Who raised up Christ Jesus from the dead will also restore to life your mortal (short-lived, perishable) bodies through His Spirit Who dwells in you.”

So, Happy Easter. May Easter (the high holy day of every Jesus follower) 2011 be for you a very holy and set apart day.   And may you be made  new and alive because what Jesus did was enough, more than enough.  And may your heart be softened and trusting again.  Return to your first love. Sing with me and Andrae, if you want. And Danni Belle Hall, “Take me back…”  yeah-let’s go remember the height from which we have fallen.  Back – not to a cross on a hill, but to the open grave of a risen Savior, where we first believed…

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