Pastor Darian

Author's details

Name: Pastor Darian
Date registered: June 5, 2012
URL: http://www.blogger.com/profile/11559326733206917353

Latest posts

  1. Pastor Darian's Musings: The Advent Gospel of Two Christians: "Almost There" — December 18, 2014
  2. Pastor Darian's Musings: The Advent Gospel of Two Christians: "Almost There" — December 18, 2014
  3. Pastor Darian's Musings: The Advent Gospel of Mumford and Sons: "Awake My Soul" — December 11, 2014
  4. Pastor Darian's Musings: The Advent Gospel According to Josh Groban: "Bells of New York City" — December 4, 2014
  5. Pastor Darian's Musings: Why Not To Go To Church: Turning the Question on Ourselves — November 20, 2014

Most commented posts

  1. Pastor Darian's Musings: The Duties of a 1913 Preacher in Cleveland, MS — 1 comment
  2. Pastor Darian's Musings: The Gospel According to John Coffey — 1 comment

Author's posts listings

Dec 18 2014

Pastor Darian's Musings: The Advent Gospel of Two Christians: "Almost There"

Original post at http://www.darianduckworth.com/2014/12/the-advent-gospel-of-two-christians.html


When my sister and I were growing up, we listened to a lot of contemporary Christian music.

One Christmas, we received monogrammed cassette tape holders for our collections. Yes, those really did exist. They were foot-long, rectangular bins with tape-sized dividers. Covered in cloth with a handle on the end, a zipper around the top kept everything in place. Hers said VALERIE, and mine said DARIAN. There is no better security system for a Christian cassette collection than to emblazon the children’s names on them. We carried them very proudly, along with our walk-mans, on road trips.

One tape that I put in my holder every December was Amy Grant’s Home for Christmas, which included the songs, “Breath of Heaven” and “Grown Up Christmas List.” Nearby it was Michael English’s self-titled album. On "side one" of that tape was the original recording of “Mary, Did You Know?”

Twenty-plus years later, DARIAN’s cassette tape holder no longer exists. I carried it until the fabric unraveled, and the first “A” came off, leaving me with the name of “D-RIAN.” Thankfully, the songs still exist and thrive on radio stations and in choir cantatas. Some people would even describe "Breath of Heaven" and "Mary, Did You Know?" as “new” Christmas songs. I have trouble thinking of anything from the cassette holder as “new.”

This is the time of year where familiar music fills our sanctuaries and dominates our airwaves. In church, we sing about baby Jesus and angels. Rudolph, Santa, and jingling bells echo at parties. We know the first verses of many Christmas hymns by heart. It would be easy to stick with what’s familiar and not to learn anything new.

Yet the prophet Isaiah calls to us….

A voice of one calling:
“In the wilderness prepare
the way for the Lord;
make straight in the desert
a highway for our God.

Every valley shall be raised up,
every mountain and hill made low;
the rough ground shall become level,
the rugged places a plain.

And the glory of the Lord will be revealed,
and all people will see it together.
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
*

Advent is the forging of a new creation that reveals God’s glory. New roads. New valleys. New mountains. New ground. Alongside our old traditions should be new expressions of glorifying God.

Is there a new song that you might sing this Advent?

While this blog series mainly focuses on songs that are not necessarily in the “Christian” genre, this week is an exception. Michael W. Smith (who had two cassette tapes in my holder!) and Amy Grant recently recorded a song entitled, “Almost There.”

The words remind us that no matter how far we’ve come as children of God, we’re still “almost there.” There is always more to learn. There is always further to go. There is always space for a new song.

Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith have recorded a number of well-loved songs, including some we sing mainly at Christmas time. Successful songs of the past have not prevented them from writing and recording new ones for today. Part of our growth as artists and as children of God is to create something fresh. We don't neglect the songs written twenty years ago. We build upon them. "Almost There" is a song of Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter. It's the story of Christ--not just Christmas.

As we sing the songs of cassette tapes and prior times, let us download a new tune, too. Isaiah may have written his prophetic song centuries ago, but the message is one of new creation—yesterday, today, tomorrow, and always.

all good things to each of you,
Pastor Darian

* Isaiah 40:3-5 (New International Version)

If you have trouble viewing the following video, here is a link to watch it on YouTube's website:
http://youtu.be/-ClYL3pKCwI


Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2014/12/the-advent-gospel-of-two-christians-almost-there/

Dec 18 2014

Pastor Darian's Musings: The Advent Gospel of Two Christians: "Almost There"

Original post at http://www.darianduckworth.com/2014/12/the-advent-gospel-of-two-christians.html


When my sister and I were growing up, we listened to a lot of contemporary Christian music.

One Christmas, we received monogrammed cassette tape holders for our collections. Yes, those really did exist. They were foot-long, rectangular bins with tape-sized dividers. Covered in cloth with a handle on the end, a zipper around the top kept everything in place. Hers said VALERIE, and mine said DARIAN. There is no better security system for a Christian cassette collection than to emblazon the children’s names on them. We carried them very proudly, along with our walk-mans, on road trips.

One tape that I put in my holder every December was Amy Grant’s Home for Christmas, which included the songs, “Breath of Heaven” and “Grown Up Christmas List.” Nearby it was Michael English’s self-titled album. On "side one" of that tape was the original recording of “Mary, Did You Know?”

Twenty-plus years later, DARIAN’s cassette tape holder no longer exists. I carried it until the fabric unraveled, and the first “A” came off, leaving me with the name of “D-RIAN.” Thankfully, the songs still exist and thrive on radio stations and in choir cantatas. Some people would even describe "Breath of Heaven" and "Mary, Did You Know?" as “new” Christmas songs. I have trouble thinking of anything from the cassette holder as “new.”

This is the time of year where familiar music fills our sanctuaries and dominates our airwaves. In church, we sing about baby Jesus and angels. Rudolph, Santa, and jingling bells echo at parties. We know the first verses of many Christmas hymns by heart. It would be easy to stick with what’s familiar and not to learn anything new.

Yet the prophet Isaiah calls to us….

A voice of one calling:
“In the wilderness prepare
the way for the Lord;
make straight in the desert
a highway for our God.

Every valley shall be raised up,
every mountain and hill made low;
the rough ground shall become level,
the rugged places a plain.

And the glory of the Lord will be revealed,
and all people will see it together.
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
*

Advent is the forging of a new creation that reveals God’s glory. New roads. New valleys. New mountains. New ground. Alongside our old traditions should be new expressions of glorifying God.

Is there a new song that you might sing this Advent?

While this blog series mainly focuses on songs that are not necessarily in the “Christian” genre, this week is an exception. Michael W. Smith (who had two cassette tapes in my holder!) and Amy Grant recently recorded a song entitled, “Almost There.”

The words remind us that no matter how far we’ve come as children of God, we’re still “almost there.” There is always more to learn. There is always further to go. There is always space for a new song.

Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith have recorded a number of well-loved songs, including some we sing mainly at Christmas time. Successful songs of the past have not prevented them from writing and recording new ones for today. Part of our growth as artists and as children of God is to create something fresh. We don't neglect the songs written twenty years ago. We build upon them. "Almost There" is a song of Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter. It's the story of Christ--not just Christmas.

As we sing the songs of cassette tapes and prior times, let us download a new tune, too. Isaiah may have written his prophetic song centuries ago, but the message is one of new creation—yesterday, today, tomorrow, and always.

all good things to each of you,
Pastor Darian

* Isaiah 40:3-5 (New International Version)

If you have trouble viewing the following video, here is a link to watch it on YouTube's website:
http://youtu.be/-ClYL3pKCwI


Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2014/12/the-advent-gospel-of-two-christians-almost-there/

Dec 11 2014

Pastor Darian's Musings: The Advent Gospel of Mumford and Sons: "Awake My Soul"

Original post at http://www.darianduckworth.com/2014/12/the-advent-gospel-of-mumford-and-sons.html


Two years ago this month, Isaac the dog adopted me.

Before I actually lived under the same roof as a dog, I thought that canine communication was simple. When I said, “sit,” he would sit. If he barked at the front window at noon, I’d know that the mailman was in the driveway. His sniff of the food bowl in the evening would translate to, “Pet Parent, where’s my dinner?"

Thankfully, many of my conversations with Isaac are as simple as I hoped they’d be. Some days I do wish he could talk, that he could tell me how he’s feeling or why he barks at the UPS truck with such ferocity. What I didn’t expect was the way he would express his strong opinions on music.

When I started watching reruns of the TV show, Glee, I learned that Isaac did not appreciate high school choirs’ covers of Journey and Bon Jovi. As soon as the synthesizer hit those opening notes of “Don’t Stop Believing,” he would leave the room. I often found him on the living room’s couch—his head (and thus his ears) under a pillow.

I tried turning the volume down, but he still wouldn’t stay in the room with any pop music. He would pause in front of me before leaving the room, ears up and a look in his eyes that said, “Really?” A deep sigh later, he escaped to his pillowed cocoon.

One Saturday morning, for extra house-cleaning motivation, I decided to listen to Mumford & Sons I gathered laundry in the bedroom while Isaac rested in the den. The song, “Awake My Soul,” began quietly, with only acoustic guitar and a lightly picked banjo as instrumentation.

Lend me your hand and we'll conquer them all
But lend me your heart and I'll just let you fall
Lend me your eyes I can change what you see
But your soul you must keep totally free
Awake my soul, awake my soul
*

THUD. THUD. THUD. THUD.

I reached for the volume. I didn’t recall drums entering that early in the song. I turned it down, but the thuds continued. I looked overhead. Was something on my roof—or in the attic?!

The mysterious drumbeat continued, and I was looking in the wrong places for its source. I walked to the den. Mystery solved. Sprawled on the floor was Mumford’s newest band member: Isaac, his tail wildly thumping the tile floor.

I carried the portable speaker to the den and turned up the volume. Isaac’s tail speeded up, as did the music. Before the end of the song, he was leaping and dancing around the room. While he did not try to sing along, he managed to turn the fireplace, floor, coffee table, couch leg, and me into his drum by thumping his tail on each one in a surprisingly close rhythm to the song.

In these bodies we will live.
In these bodies we will die.
The way you invest your love
You invest your life.
Awake my soul, awake my soul.
You were made to meet your Maker.
*

Echoing through Advent is a call to awaken our souls. Our Maker comes to us in a body that will live and die for love of us. Do we hear the drumbeat that announces a King’s arrival?

Animals and children often hear what adults have forgotten or overlooked with age. We miss opportunities to join the band. We sleepwalk through rituals and routines –from cleaning the house to singing familiar carols. The busier our lives become in these days leading to Christmas, the more tired we become and the less "awake" we truly are. We become more disconnected to our Maker as we try to make everyone happy.

“Awake My Soul” is a song for all seasons, but I’ve especially enjoyed listening to it this Advent season. While Isaac has not graced me with his dance since that Saturday morning, he continues to thump his tail when the familiar banjo plays. As his eyes open wider and brighter, I pray that God will do the same with my sight.

… The God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened…**

With awakened souls and enlightened eyes, let us join the Advent dance.

all good things to each of you,
Pastor Darian

* Read more: Mumford & Sons - Awake My Soul Lyrics | MetroLyrics

** Ephesians 1:17-18a (New King James Version)




If you are unable to watch the video directly in this email, here is a link to the You Tube video:

http://youtu.be/8jLJ5mhgVw4

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2014/12/the-advent-gospel-of-mumford-and-sons-awake-my-soul/

Dec 04 2014

Pastor Darian's Musings: The Advent Gospel According to Josh Groban: "Bells of New York City"

Original post at http://www.darianduckworth.com/2014/12/the-advent-gospel-according-to-josh.html


For these three weeks leading to Christmas Day, we will listen for the gospel in songs outside of the hymnal and traditional holiday favorites.

"Do you still listen to Josh Groban?"

My friend, Meredith, knew me well. We'd met as freshmen in college, the same year that Josh Groban released his debut album. I wonder if I should send a letter of apology to my hall mates for how loudly I played that CD--and turned most of his songs into duets. Yes, my hairbrush made an excellent microphone! When Meredith asked if I still "listened" to him, what she really asked was, "Are you still attempting back-up vocals ten years later?"

"Not really. Why?" I asked.

"I love his new song about New York City."

As we talked, I searched iTunes and found the song, "Bells of New York City," on his newest album, Illuminations. I listened to a sample.

"That's a pretty song," I told her. I couldn't honestly say that I loved it after the first listen.

"I can't believe that I'm telling you about Josh Groban's music!"

Despite my lack of interest, I downloaded the entire album. The more I listened, the more I enjoyed it. I even pulled out my older Josh Groban CDs and started listening again --with only minimal duets this time.

No matter how much I listened, "Bells of New York City" did not strike the chord with me that it did with Meredith. With time and new musical releases, Illuminations lost its luminosity for me. The album sat unheard on my computer for three years.

A few weeks ago, I sat down to plan for Advent worship services and came across Illuminations in my iTunes folder. Though it was not a "Christmas" album, I remembered its release close to this time of year.

I clicked "play."

I finally heard what I think Meredith heard.

I finally loved "Bells of New York City."

At the heart of music is mystery. A song speaks to us, and we can't find the words to describe why or how. All we know to say is that we love what we hear. Certain melodies arouse memories, and particular lyrics speak to our thoughts. My friend heard something special in a song in 2010 that I didn't hear until 2014. Just as she didn't try to explain what spoke to her in "Bells of New York City," I can't explain what rang true for me. All I know is what I love.

The season of Advent is one of deep mystery. The Word becomes flesh. A virgin conceives. A king's reign begins in a stable. Eternity steps into time. Instead of trying to explain the mystery, we must experience the mystery. How patiently God waits for us to hear the gospel that has rung through the ages. How quietly he watches as his Light illuminates our hearts.

Sing to me one song for joy
And one for redemption
And whatever's in between that I call mine
With the street lamp light
To illuminate the gray
And the bells of New York City
Are calling me to stay..... *


Stay with the gray of Advent's mystery. Listen for the Christ child's cry in the bells of life. Live between the joy and the redemption of the gospel.

all good things to each of you,
Pastor Darian

* For copyright information on this and all of Josh Groban's music, visit http://www.joshgroban.com *

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2014/12/the-advent-gospel-according-to-josh-groban-bells-of-new-york-city/

Nov 20 2014

Pastor Darian's Musings: Why Not To Go To Church: Turning the Question on Ourselves

Original post at http://www.darianduckworth.com/2014/11/why-not-to-go-to-church-turning.html


The last time I took a Sunday off, there was a flood.

No, that statement does not mean that I haven’t taken a vacation since Noah built the ark. Look back through old blog posts on this site, and you’ll quickly see the value I place on time off!

I was in a city where rainfall began early on a Sunday morning and continued throughout the day. Flash floods were rampant, and increasing inches of water broke rainfall records for the city. I awoke that morning with plans to visit a local church that I frequented on vacation—until I turned on the television. A weather reporter clutched his blue poncho around his suit, the other hand clutching the microphone. He yelled over the wind:

Do not go out unless you absolutely have to!

But I absolutely have to go to church, I told myself. I had planned to go to church. I couldn’t let a little rain keep me from worshipping the Lord. If I were not on vacation, I’d have to be there for my job!

I went outside to discover that streets were closed and cars had hydroplaned. I was in a city that was only vaguely familiar to me, and the dark clouds made even the recognizable roads strange. Back in my room, watching Blue Poncho Weather Guy try to get his microphone under his hood, I decided not to go to church.

The weather can easily be an excuse not to go church, but it also reminds us that circumstances are beyond our control. Sometimes wisdom tells us to stay home, but legalism tells us to go to church because “it’s what we do.”

When I began working on this blog series entitled, “Why Not to Go To Church,” my intention was to listen for ways the church could become a place where people want to be.  I wanted to dig more deeply into why people were not attending church on a regular basis. What I discovered was the importance of shifting that question to ourselves.

1. Why do I go to church?

2. Why do I not go to church?

For those of us who are active in the church, sometimes we just need a break. The trouble develops when a “break” from worship becomes a habit. The habit becomes a routine, and the routine no longer includes the worship of God. This is the time of year where rain and cold keep us at home in fear of catching the flu or another bug from one another. We may initially stay away in fear of catching “something.” If we’re not careful, we’ll start avoiding the One who is trying to catch us.


Behind every answer to those questions are stories. The responses are more than mere excuses or reasons. Each word carries a load. As the body of Christ, we should listen carefully to each other’s reasons, excuses, rationalizations, and truths. Sometimes the floods of life, both figurative and literal, keep us from where we most want or need to be. When that happens, God meets us where we are.

I was glad when they said to me,
“Let us go to the house of the Lord!”
(Psalm 122:1, New Revised Standard Version)

Are we continually encouraging each other to go into God’s presence? Are we asking ourselves why we go or don’t go to the Lord’s house? Are we really listening to the answers?

On that rainy Sunday morning in a vague city, I returned to my room and pulled out a new CD by Michael W. Smith. I put it in my computer and turned up the volume. I made a cup of coffee, opened a package of cookies and settled into a chair with a book. One of the songs that I heard is in the video below. The chorus says:

Your plans are still to prosper.
You have not forgotten us.
You’re with us in the fire and the flood.
You’re faithful forever.
Perfect in love.
You are sovereign over us. *

We go to church because he is sovereign. We don’t go to church, but he’s still sovereign.

Wherever we are in our answer to, “Why?” let us not forget that the house of the Lord belongs to the Lord. It is a house with no limits, for all are welcome. Will you go into the house of the Lord with me?

all good things to each of you,

Pastor Darian



This song is from the new album SOVEREIGN.
SOVEREIGN on iTunes: http://mws.cta.gs/002
Michael's official website: http://mws.cta.gs/006

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2014/11/why-not-to-go-to-church-turning-the-question-on-ourselves/

Nov 13 2014

Pastor Darian's Musings: A Yoga Pause

Original post at http://www.darianduckworth.com/2014/11/a-yoga-pause.html


Dearly Beloved Friends,

I must confess that I gave up my blog-writing time this week for other matters. While I will not be able to write a typical "musing," I do want to offer you something brief and different.

As a Yahweh Yoga teacher, I begin each yoga class with a verse of Scripture as our theme. I read it out loud twice, with silence in between. Sometimes I offer a short reflection on the verse before we meditate on it. I'd like to share with you the verse and reflection from this morning. When you get to the verse of Scripture, I invite you to pause in silence for one minute after reading it. If you struggle with silence, set a timer for one minute, and try the best you can to remain with the Scripture......

When we think of the worries, cares, and burdens we carry, we sing about laying them down. We pray for God to take the burdens away from us. We try to put them at the foot of the cross.

Have you ever thought about God removing you from the burden?

Psalm 81 recounts in praise the way that God delivered Joseph from prison. Listen to how God relieves Joseph of his burden...

"I removed his shoulder from the burden...."
(Psalm 81:6, New King James Version)

Instead of God taking a load of off Joseph's shoulders, God lovingly cups his hand beneath the load and sets his child free.

Instead of lifting a weight off of us, sometimes God removes us from the weight instead of removing the weight from us.

What is the burden that you bring [to your yoga mat] today? Try not to fight it off, shake it off, or beg God to take it off. Invite God to tend to your shoulder instead of what weighs down your shoulder today.

"I removed his shoulder from the burden...."

Close your eyes. Breathe. Sit with these words. Meditate upon them as God lovingly speaks them to your heart.






"I removed his shoulder from the burden...."

Pause. Breathe. Soak in the knowing that you are loved.






"I removed his shoulder from the burden...."







Go in peace, and the peace of Christ go with you.


I look forward to writing with you next week for the last piece in the current series, "Why Not To Go To Church."

all good things to each of you,
Pastor Darian

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2014/11/a-yoga-pause/

Older posts «