From a home in Brooklyn, NY the streets sound like a playful United Nations meeting. The parade grounds have never been more diverse than they are on this day. Spanish, African languages, Brooklyneese and even a sense of southern drawl; Cajun French and Haitian with a rhythm of Italian and Asian. The mix is as diverse as the bakeries that line Flatbush and Caton Avenue. Then somewhere a drum, a cello and a guitar ring from a studio overlooking a park where Futbol is being spoken. The tune is familiar and the chords somehow wind their way into the hearts and the minds of the parents. Achingly beautiful like the language that the Soccer ball transcends in the park. The words are Biblical, they communicate love and an awakening: A man from Puerto Rico hums the melody and Scottish woman speaks of the great bard whom the lyrics belonged to, the preacher preaches a different message with the same loving tongue of the poet and the singer sings:
Flow fully, fresh Spirit among city streets
Flow fully through alley ways and to all that you meet
Awaken the sleeping by murmuring streams
Flow fully sweet spirit… and fulfill God’s dream.
The kids continue with their playing on this sunny day in May. The songs are part of a world music that is taking traditions to the street and bring the message of God’s love to the people. Not for show, not for performance and not for success. In local Pastor Jim Cymbala’s landmark book “Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire,” he warns of the gods of our day who are as dangerous as the Canaanite gods of Baal or Asherah, “we must beware a god in our time called Success.” A simple form of fellowship is found on the parade grounds soccer field today. And it is found in the home of the Celtic singer who is where world music, Christian approach is being shared. “This is what the house church can be, a serendipity form of prayer and praise with a simple melody,” the worship leader says. “There was a time when the fame and the fortune were the lure of the music and the lyrics for me,” he says.
The God of Brooklyn
Now it is a form of prayer and communication that the message can ride on. The mission is friendship and fellowship and to take the traditions that are close to our hearts and Biblicize them- and that the one and living God becomes the focus. Jesus becomes our approach and our song; and the power flows fully among our cities, through the Holy Spirit” he continues. “I refuse my name to be used in this exercise, because it simply is not what is important. It is THIS dialogue with God and with this neighborhood that we sing and pray through .” In June
Through Brooklyn to Glasgow resound in our hearts
from Bedford to Fairfax, renew and restart
Like eagles who fly through the turbulent sky
Flow fully Fresh Spirit and flow in our lives
Renew and Restart- Taking it to the streets
“We decided to begin with the Celtic tradition” the hymn writer tells us, “because it is simple and it can flow into all these other traditions.” “When worship becomes like a summer street fair or a winter coffee house then we are living a genuine heritage. We are no longer slaves to our traditions but we are free. Next month we might explore the Jamaican and the gospel sounds, it will be a different rhythm and yet through harmonies and singing the prayers will bring hearts and minds together in worshiping Jesus.
Our offerings of sticks and stones or precious gems
Pastor Cymbala writes, “Warren Wiersbe made an observation about the passage from (1 Cor 3:13) where Paul writes that there will come a day “when our work will be revealed for what it is.” “It will be revealed by fire,” Cymbala paraphrases, “The gold, silver, and precious stones will endure while the wood,hay,and straw will go up in smoke.” “What’s the difference between these materials, besides the obvious-that one group is fireproof while the other isn’t?” asked Wiersbe to the Brooklyn Tabernacle staff. “I think it is significant that wood, hay and straw are abundant and right outside our door. But if you want gold, silver and costly stones, you have to dig for them. You have to pursue with great effort. They are not just lying around, you have to go deep into the earth.”
Flow Fully Fresh Spirit
The love that is in the game that the children are playing at the parade grounds is different than what our ancestors played. Balls and bats have been replaced by feet on a round ball, nets and wood, metal and boxes have replaced the diamond and the dirt, the circles and the backstops. The spirit still flows in the fellowship and the laughter in this meeting of the United Nations. And the songs and prayers for the children fill the air, like a street fair- flowing fully at Caton Avenue and Flatbush.
Communication is key with couples, families and friends. But as the pastor said in this story, you might have to dig and give it your all to apply the principles. But you and I are worth it, and through it all a counselor has dug enough to find: thecommunicationcure.com. Sign up for free. The National Prayer Examiner is doing a series of re-arranging familiar ethnic folk songs, and bringing prayer to the mix. Todays piece is the traditional Celtic tune “Flow Gently Sweet Afton.” If you have an original or traditional song-prayer and you are located in New York, Vantage Point wants to share your music and words with our readers, listeners and viewers. For more go to http://nyradio.wordpress.com.