Dear Ferguson

“I would say ‘I would want to hear your stories. I would want to hear about your heartache.’ I would want to hear them.”

Ferguson my heart aches for you. I pray continuously for the balance of God’s justice and His mercy that He continuously talks about in the prophets to be righteously bestowed on you. I don’t pretend that I am able to understand your situation right now. I agree that if I could do or say anything with you right now, I would want you to know that I want to know your stories. I want to hear them from you directly.

You are not alone. I am praying for you. We are praying for you. “This too shall pass. I’ll say it again, this too shall pass.”

I was a Worship Director Today

I was a worship director today. It may not sound like much to you, and quite honestly that’s okay . . . but to me it meant the world.

I plan worship for every other Thursday night on campus here at Dordt. I try to plan my sets around a theme. Sometimes I start with a verse, a specific song, just one word, etc. and I expand from there. But when it comes down to it, I’m the one that makes the decisions for what happens during that space. I have really enjoyed this opportunity, and it has helped me grow in my ability to make decisions, to stand by them when they are questioned, and to be willing to listen and change my mind for others’ sake.

This week was different. This week there were more people involved than just me. I worked with my church’s worship director (who was out of town) as well as the pastor who was preaching. I worked around his sermon, their setup, the congregation’s needs . . . I had more to think about than just what kind of music I wanted to play.

Of course I consider all those things when planning for Dordt; I try my very best to ‘zoom out’ and get a feel for what I think God is doing on campus. However, this week felt different. I loved collaborating with other people to create something beautiful for the Lord. The gathering of believers is something truly beautiful, and I am blown away by the fact that I am able to do that week after week after week. This week taught me that planning worship goes beyond me. It’s beyond my music style, my favorite redemptive themes and verses, and my preferences. It is all about being a servant. A servant to the other leaders, the congregation, and ultimately to the Lord.

All that to say . . . being a worship director, even if it only was for one week, was amazing. As I put my car into park after arriving back on campus this afternoon, I felt this feeling inside me saying “Yeah, I can do this every week. This is something I can see myself doing. This is something I want to do for as long as I can.”

It was my first week of being “the worship director,” and it couldn’t have been better. Being at my church with my praise and worship team worshiping with my church family . . . . there really is nothing to compare it to.

I was a worship director today, and I can’t wait to be one again soon.

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Pool of Grace

Return, my people; return to the Lord. Come back to me and all that I have for you. Trade in your plastic dreams and selfish ambitions, for your individualism and so called “freedoms” have actually enslaved you, and what you have sought to posses . . . it now owns you. You were bought with such a price, but have willingly indentured yourself once again, selling out to the latest fad or the next gimmick. Your very identity is for sale and the price is set so low. Your time is not even your own anymore, and you belong so much to the created . . . all the while scorning the Creator. Your greed has consumed you with titles, trinkets and fleeting scraps. You labor to make your name famous while mine is spat out as a curse. You have severed parts of my own body in the name of pride in tiny doctrines I care not for. You collect offerings in your worship, but I see no sacrifice. You stare, gawking at actors on a screen but you can’t see my own image-bearers suffering in your own midst.

And yet.

Yet I will never forsake you, my child, no matter how often you have forsaken me. You have tirelessly dug for the bottom of my pool of grace, but in all your striving you will never find it. And I will heal your tired, self-worn hands, and I will make your heart calloused again. I will give you my eyes to see where hurt lives, and together we will heal the nations. I will claim you before all creation if you will but acknowledge me. So, humble yourselves, and you will see how I will raise you up. Trust not in your wit, your fists, or your grit, for I have strength your imagination could not even contain. If only you would be still and contrite, at rest in me, and not so busy in you. Trust me, and trust my love. I already am what you’re looking for.

Aaron Baart
Dordt College Chapel
08.27.14

Dear October

Dear October,

It blows my mind how today was my last day with you this year. It feels like just yesterday that we were reintroduced, and by the time I wake up in the morning, you’ll be gone again.

October, I just want to apologize for never appreciating you for who you are until this year. In the past I have held extreme grudges against you because your arrival meant nothing more than cold weather and dreary skies. It took my twentieth year with you to understand that I was so very wrong.

You opened my eyes to a whole new world. I took time to notice how each and every leaf on each and every tree had its own timing on when to turn colors and when to leave the branch it was born on. You reminded me how much I love wearing cozy sweaters, scarves, and thick socks. Morning coffee became more enjoyable as it ran down my throat and warmed my entire being as I walked to class.

October, this has been one of the best months I’ve ever had, and I’m honestly quite sad to see you go. I wish you didn’t have to be replaced by your harsh, wintery sisters, but I understand that this is the way it has to be. Perhaps I have been judging them too quickly too.

But, as I look down at my clock, I see that you and November have probably made your exchange by now. Thank you, October, for thirty-one days of beauty, excitement, adventure, wonder, change, and growth. I’ll see you again next year.

Sincerely,

Marta Ann

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Inspired by Carrie Hope Fletcher’s “Dear Autumm” series