The Father’s Love – spoken word & mime

“I hold a shield of condemnation and a sword of betrayal.
I travel on the train of trust that has finally been derailed.
I know the pain of loss as if it were my very veil and I accept my lot to never succeed but always fail.
This is my creed the motive of my being.
I never set my roots, I’m in constant fleeing cause I’m constantly seeing the destruction I cause.
A force to be reckoned with and yet I reckon it comes from deep within, some dark place drenched with sin.
I attempt to wrench the thing out and yet I start to understand what it’s about as it whispers sweet nothings in my ear.
Year after year I listen to this fear, this comforting security that’s appeared seems to drag my soul to depths unknown whether sitting on the bus or in an empty bath, fully clothed at home.

Alone.

With only my thoughts and voices bringing forth all my wrong choices, my mistakes.
If only I could forsake my past and take up a new path I would see this farce before it got too far but no, I do not.
I cannot relinquish this cold deathly kiss of the dark, inconsolable abyss, this clenched fist around my heart, this dark, dart of despair that has become my comfort and the defining feature in my conceptual lair.
A fair beauty in my eyes but others behold deception and lies.

Is it true that I’m blind?
Blinded by my own misery and shame, made lame by this self made rod of pain.
Why do I punish my inner being for being in or for seeing the truth?
For not being aloof but for making me see that my comfort is false.

For it’s the Holy Spirit in me that keeps my head focused, He exhibits the love needed to vanquish the locusts that have bred and multiplied leading me to believe my life is too defiled for God to accept any offering, other than sing and maybe dance.
And so I run from God.

But running from God just enhances the disasters plaguing my life.
I could choose to wallow in strife or run to God and receive love and life.

So I run to my Father, God, when I’ve had enough of my lies and selfishness, when I accept my mess is too big for me and I stop trying to dig myself free.
You see, that is how my disasters become dissolved.
Now I must resolve my heart to stay on things true, like love, joy and hope, even through the depression and self-hate I find the ability to demonstrate the elated spirit that comes from running to God.
Not forced but over-flowing, fully knowing God is there holding onto me.

He cares more than I dare to believe and it humbles me, how time and again He can be such a faithful Father and Friend.
When I lose sight He tells me “everything’s gonna be alright, every thing’s gonna be okay” cause that’s His way.
Day after day after day He is the Unchangeable, the Unmistakable Creator of Love, not sitting in the heavens above staring down but through His Son walks with us on this very ground.
Love abounds whenever He is near but don’t fear cause He’s always near when we’re here.
His Love is in us.
No matter our circumstance or situation He’s patiently waiting for us to realise He wants to show us His Love.
I have found nothing more accepting, nothing more directing, nothing more perforating than the Father’s Love.

And for that I am glad.

Touch The Flame – Music Video With A Message

Good art is more than technical brilliance. Good art is creative; it inspires something beyond itself. Good art is purposeful, it inspires. But art at it’s best is even deeper than that; it speaks from the heart and to the heart. And when art speaks from the heart of The Creator it’s prophetic.

Piano and pianist music video

There’s a prophetic message from God that’s been circulating around my church (the Jesus Army) recently. It’s about how we need to completely walk away from relying on our own traditions and ways of doing things, living life dry of the power of the Holy Spirit. God wants to set us on fire again for us to live conspicuously connected to and charged by Him, driven by a passion, not dragged along by duty. One key scripture that bears this message for us is 2 Chronicles 7:14-15, which is read out at the start of the video later in this post.

Out of this message came a song titled ‘Touch The Flame’, with a chorus that asks the longing question “what if we turned to you again?” It seemed to strike a chord at a couple of our events so it was decided that it would be made into the month’s official studio produced Jesus Army track, particularly considering it’s timeliness and topical relevancy.

Accoustic guitar and cello

Taking inspiration from an an impromptu live lounge music session the song’s author, Nathan, decided to record the song with a grand piano and asked Carole and Gav to play the cello and acoustic guitar for it. Maybe also taking inspiration from The Piano Guys he asked me to film it to give the vital message a bit more exposure to the church with a shareable music video. Not that I’m claiming to have achieved anything close to the production values of The Piano Guys’ video team, but it’s good to aspire!

Here it is:

I’ve never made a music video before. This project was particularly challenging considering the fact that I was filming the official recording of the track rather than something acted afterwards.

After dinner at our kind host’s house we spent a whole evening recording seven or eight full runs of the song to get the best take we could. We used two cameras, one handheld for closeups and medium shots, the other tripod mounted for medium and wide shots. I was aware that whatever take we used in the end I’d need the closeups of the musicians from the chosen take- I couldn’t get away with syncing too many clips of closeups from unused takes. This meant I ended up taking the same closeup shots all evening.

Crowding around mixing desks producing the music video

Chris temporarily set his desks up in our host’s utility room for the evening. Setting up for hundreds of events teaches you how to travel light and make good use of space.

Editing started with the lengthy and boring process of labeling and splitting all 3 hours and 20 minutes of source footage. With that over I used the roaming camera’s footage as a base for the video, synching it with the mixed track using the live audio captured by the camera’s mic. Then with a broad vision of how I wanted the video to progress between musicians and shots I set about adding in clips from other takes of the song. As the trio weren’t using any kind of metronome each take was at a slightly different speed so some clips had to be slowed down to odd rates like 98.1% of their original speed. It was tough to find enough suitable clips to fit in time with the recorded track and keep the flow going with cuts in suitable places. I’d better not tell you too much about the clips that still aren’t in time as that would spoil it for you!

All three musicians in the music video

Thank you Jayne Elliott, Hannah Chappell, Emmaline Hart and mum for lending all the candles. Thank you Caroline West for lending us your house and putting up with our late noisyness, and thanks to Lionel for his sterling reading of scripture.

All in all, I’m happy with how it all came together.

Lastly, you can buy the album or just the Touch The Flame track from iTunes or listen here:

Christ Is Risen

I love it when excellent artists of disparate mediums work together, subtly blending their arts. It creates something that often has more depth than a single song or video, and it’s always fresh.

The following is a highly effective and affecting mashup of music and slam, on the most exhilarating subject possible, the resurrection of Jesus.

If you’re interested watch the full version which includes the Christ Is Risen song and a crowd of oh-so-christian worshippers!