Here are a couple of short meditations I did for the Hallmark channel show, "America at Worship." These will be included in Sunday morning's show, but they may be hard to locate--the show is three hours long, and the pieces are only abt 90 seconds. I think one is in the first and one in the last hour. It's pretty negligible, but in case you were interested in a face and voice to go with these emails, tune in!
I did a couple of these for the show last June, but forgot to send out the scripts to this list. It seemed like a pretty alarming assignment, because though I used to do similar pieces monthly for "NewsOdyssey" (on Hallmark's predecessor, the Odyssey channel), that show would fly me to their studio to record the pieces, where i could use a teleprompter. This is a terrific device that fits a transparent computer monitor screen over the front of the camera. You can read the words of your essay right off the screen, but the camera shoots through it, and it looks like you're gazing into the lens. Great idea.
But "America at Worship" doesn't do that. They shoot on-site in a church or other setting. Last spring it was shot in St Alban's church by the National Cathedral in DC; this past Feb we shot in the chapel of Wesley Seminary in DC. No teleprompter--I had to memorize the pieces. Unlike radio, you can't splice together several takes; in TV, you have to get it spotless from the top. And, for me, I'm one of those people whose first take is the best; every subsequent take gets more wooden-sounding and just *odd*, like I can't remember what words to put the stress on.
So--memorize two 250-word pieces and reel them into a naked camera lens with no prompter, and know taht if you glitch the first take the second delivery won't be as good, and the third will be worse, and the fourth will be incomprehensible. Now, top with this: the host told me, "It's 90 seconds, but you don't have to be bound exactly to that. We have a little leeway. You can go as long as 93 seconds." Aaaaargh...
When I taped the meditations last spring I went in extremely tense, but praise God it went smoothly, and it did again this time too. Here's the text of the two pieces below. In each case, the host gave me only a very general instruction; last spring the assigned topic was "commitment" and this time it was "listening to God." I was free to do whatever I wanted with that idea. I sent them the text of the pieces by email before the taping to make sure it was what they were lookign for, but there was no editing. It's curious but I find that in radio commentary (NPR) they edit every word very closely, like a magazine would treat an opinion piece; in TV they take a very "hands-off" approach, like a magazine would treat quotes in an interview transcript. I don't know why this is.
Also, after we taped these, I stood on camera while the host threw words and phrases at me and asked for reactions, short responses to various theological or moral concepts. Some of these he wanted me to answer in the form of questions, which I gather would be used to introduce responses from other speakers or a panel. These short takes will be sprinkled through upcoming shows for the next six months or so.
Hope youall are having a blessed Lent--
Do you remember the story of when Elijah was hiding in the cave in the wilderness and he heard the voice of God? First there came a strong wind that broke the rocks in pieces, but the Scripture says âthe Lord was not in the wind.â Then an earthquake, and a fire, but the Lord was not in those either. Then, the bible says, came a âstill small voice.â
Do you ever wonder how you could learn to hear that still small voice? Itâs hard to imagine when our worlds are so noisy from the moment we turn off the alarm clock in the morning until we turn off the TV at night. And the noise isnât only external: inside we are full of worries, fears, and desires. How can you quiet all that down?
The early Christians wanted to learn how to do this , how to remain always open to Godâs voice and âpray constantly,â as
Have you noticed those billboards with messages from God? One says, âKeep using my name in vain and Iâll make rush hour longer.â Another one says âDonât make me come down there.â
Sometimes I wish that hearing the voice of God was as clear as a billboard. When youâre praying over something, trying to get guidance about what to do, it can be frustrating to figure out what God is saying. Here are three tools to use, in case you donât get the answer on a billboard.
First, search the scriptures. Is there a similar situation there? Does it seem like that same guidance would apply?
Second, talk to trusted friends or your pastor. Get the perspective of other people. Weigh their advice.
Third, consult your own heart. What do you incline toward doing? Itâs possible youâre being led astray by selfish desires, but itâs also possible that what you want to do is exactly what God is calling you to do. The more your will conforms to his, the more you can trust your instincts.
Thatâs the point, in the end. God isnât looking to use you as a robot to accomplish his will. He wants all of you; he wants your full assimilation with his love and light. This process will take a lot of time spent in his presence and in his Word. Itâs not the kind of relationship you can establish with a billboard.
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