I sang a little during school. And at one of two high points in my school career, I travelled Europe with “The Messengers”, a gospel group our of the US military base in Ramstein, Germany. The choir director, Joyce Brannon, was easily one of the brightest, most profound teachers of any discipline I’ve been blessed to have encountered in all my life.
Although it was over 35 years ago, I remember her unique method of teaching sight-reading with numbers instead of “Do-Re-Me” or color coding the piano keys. I remember Joyce’s joy. Persistent, and amazing joy. And she wasn’t a pushover, either. She could mete out discipline with the best of them! Her classes were so stinkin’ fun – with the promise of those who excelled traveling with her to the varied countries of what is now the European Union.
One bus ride we did not want to miss in those days was The Messengers European Tour! Imagine, singing in the Sistine Chapel or in the haunting, mountain-top castles of Germany or the near-ancient churches of England where the reformation took place… and, of course, being on board that rolling party in between was half of the fun!
One thing that strikes me as I recall the architecture of old Europe – before cell phones and the internet – still disconnected and distinct in its many ethnicities, languages and cultures – was the beauty of the nature.
The heavily treed forests, with their pine-needle walkways and broken sunlight filtering through the mild summer day…
The cobble-stoned roads echoing the bleating of sheep and cows in the fields…
The red-soaked cherry tree I frequented, nesting in its branches to partake in its fresh cherry wine…
And my own life amidst friends… if it wasn’t my singing friends, it was my fellow skateboarders. In 1978-9, we were fully engaged at the beginning of this 3rd and final world-wide x-wave, building half-pipes and “shredding new terrain” (our motto).
How we rooted ourselves in our surroundings, our friendships and passions in those three short years, in spite of our shared transient military lifestyles. And those night-time rides through the base still affect my thinking today – like bricks laid in a foundation – an architecture of bliss – preparing me for the inclement weather ahead in life.
Whether you’ve lived your life in one town (as I have now, thankfully, for the past 15 years) or you’ve traveled all your life like the upcoming Christian singer-songwriter sensation, Jonathan Thulin, who, born in Sweden, began traveling at the ripe old age of 1, your life is being formed and fashioned out of your experiences for an eternal display.
Yeshua, was a traveler. Moving from ancient Israel to Egypt and back at a young age. He was surely formed and strengthened by his experiences abroad as the Father of all creation whispered and directed the boy in His divine humanity.
I find myself deeply identifying with this song by Jonathan in this season of blood moons, Architecture. Read some of the lyrics below and consider grabbing this ridiculously loopable track for your dream-time collection.
You are also being built by the Architect of souls into a mountain-top wonder. Let your movies reflect that grace.
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Tom Chaffer, founded MMASFY, the Movie Makers and Shakers for Yeshua, in 2005 as a result of watching the Passion of the Christ for the first time.
There are million trees blowin in the wind
Witnesses of lives already lived
So here I stand on what You build
and the walls will never ever ever come down
You build me up like a city of gold
the battles rage but I’m standing tall
You build my heart like an empire
the wind and rain can’t stop this fire
If only I could see it from your perspective
The beauty and the grace of your architecture
Here I stand on what You build
You are surrounding me.