Merry Christmas!

New Song Preview!

The following three, new-ish songs are ones I assume will go onto my next album which I’ll begin to record in the early new year. At this point, the working album title is “Wouldn’t You Love To Know?” which is the first song posted below.

I share them now with you, my friends and supporters, because whenever I write new songs I feel like the woman in Jesus’ parable who found a lost coin and just had to call her friends over to celebrate. Songs, to me, are like those lost coins. I rarely feel like I wrote them, but rather like I found them. And my heart is always gladdened when I do.

I am more than happy to share these songs as a gift, and please feel free to share this page, but am also happy to receive donations from those who want to help keep this work going. I’m set up to receive and receipt donations for tax purposes, and you can donate if you wish at https://stevebell.com/support/.

I pray that both you and I get some solitude in this season of Advent to go out to quietly greet the One who is coming towards us. If we hope our activities to be impregnated with meaning, rather than anxiety, it seems to me that the practice of still and patient waiting is a necessary antidote to the frenetic dis-ease of a culture that has unwisely traded activity for fruitfulness, consumption for mystery and satiation for anticipation. And we are somewhat impoverished by it.

I hope you enjoy the songs. I still love to write them.

Peace friends,

Steve

WOULDN’T YOU LOVE TO KNOW
Steve Bell 15/09/16

Theologian NT Wright comments about the “present confusions on what we know and how we know it, and particularly about the continuing stand-off between supposedly scientific ways so knowing things and faith-based ways of knowing things. Beyond the split world of supposedly objective and supposedly subjective ‘knowing’, there is a deeper mode of knowing which has to do with that vital but elusive quality we call ‘love’.”

Professor Wright’s point is that “the highest form of knowing is love”.  And so, if you can’t truly know what you don’t first truly love… then, he asks, “Wouldn’t you Love to Know?

If you have to love the truth
Just to know that it is true
Wouldn’t you love to know?

If the essence of a thing
begs to hear your tender wooing
Wouldn’t you love to know?

If you can’t know a part
Without delighting in the whole
Wouldn’t you love to know?

If you’d never know a kiss
Without first cherishing the soul
Wouldn’t you love to know?

To know as you are known
Merely love as you are loved
Gently turn this fertile loam
To unearth the fragrance of the lover’s drug

From the far cloud-hidden star
To the solitary bug
Wouldn’t you love to know?

Frankenstein and Faust are yet the rage
Unspeakable, the severing damage done
Yet on the wind, the distant sound of drum
And the sweetness of the sage
Still might come a kinder age…

See the wonder-stricken child
Hear the elder’s wizened song
Wouldn’t you love to know?

IN MEMORIAM
by Steve Bell
in memory of my father, Alfred C. Bell (1936-2019)

Fresh tendernesses burgeoned
With the dying of my dad
I love him all the more for it
He lived his life for other’s gain
His death, he gave away the same
And I love him all the more for it

This son was fiercely fashioned
By his father’s dappled life
The way he loved his children
The way he loved his wife
My dad was hardly perfect
But I hardly give a rip
I loved him all the more for it

Not scandalized by brokenness
Not scandalized by pain
But Dad could not abide the curse
And hellishness of shame
He’d absorb another’s failures
And return them as a gift
I loved him all the more for it

My father was a trumpeter
Those days have long since passed
He passed along his passion to me
Eager as I was
We’d sit for hours and listen
To the Tijuana brass
I loved him all the more for it

I tenderly remember
When a beauty left me rent
I was too young to consider then
That love is never spent
He told me pain would linger
And would probably leave a dent
I loved him all the more for it

My dad was a believer
He believed that God was good
He was certain Jesus lived
To show how everybody could
And that all our earthy sorrows
Couldn’t be the final writ
I loved him all the more for it

My father was a fortress
For my two sisters and I
And more-so for our mom
Who suffered so much of her life
He taught us how to live
And then he taught us how to die
And we loved him all the more for it

Fresh tendernesses burgeoned
With the dying of my dad
And I love him all the more for it

THE STRANGE BLESSING OF BEARING
By Steve Bell 

On reading Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s sermon “The Peace of God in Affliction” (Sept. 3, 1938) circulated to seminarians encouraging them to resist, at the cost of suffering, the German churches’ growing allegiance to the Third Reich. “In the church today,” he wrote, “we know much too little about the strange blessing of bearing something… Whoever avoids affliction discards along with that God’s greatest gift for his creatures.”

The peace of God is with the patient ones
Bearing up under affliction
For the joy that Love has promised us
Though waves of agony wash over us
May we know
What mothers know
The strange blessing of bearing

Quietude becomes the lover
Oriented towards the other
Sufferings gladly enduring
For the sake of another’s flourishing
May we know
What martyrs know
The beautiful blessing of bearing

God we pray that in the days to come
Ever keep before our longing
The mystery of your bleeding son
Through the night into the dawning

Love enwombed in God’s creation
Fortifies the soul’s elation
Hearts on fire to love attending
Tribulations notwithstanding
May we know
What Jesus knows
The glorious blessing of bearing

***

If you are interested in purchasing my Pilgrim Year (meditations on the Christian calendar year) book-set for delivery before Christmas, best order by December 16th. Shipping is on us!

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