Friday, July 25, 2008

Cinderella - Redeeming the Ashes

Last night, I went to DuPage County's Annual Fair and for the first time, they had Christian music - even better, they'd scheduled two top names in the Christian music scene: Jars of Clay and Steven Curtis Chapman.

Big names, IMHO, when you understand how Jars of Clay was so musically accomplished that they broke over into the secular market. A roomie of mine even got their CD "Flood" and enjoyed it thoroughly -though he didn't want to hear ANYTHING from me about Jesus. (Love ya, Scottie!)

But what was so powerful about the evening was that this was Steven Curtis Chapman's first concert after the death of his precious five-year old daughter. In a heart-wrenching family tragedy, one of his sons, while backing out of the driveway in a large vehicle, ran over his little sister and killed her.

The song "Cinderella" was written for her. Especially for her.

He talked about it -how the pain and grief would come in waves but how also the peace and relief and comfort from God would come to. "We've gotten very practiced at surfing in my family, as you can imagine," he soberly quipped. He talked about how God was not surprised, was not absent and was still in full control of life. He quoted scripture that had comforted him in this loss, this entrance into God's presence by his daughter that was far quicker than they had imagined (or desired).

This is what the psalmist said about God's sovereignty:

Psalm 139:16b

All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.


"My daughter did not lose her life," affirmed Steven, "it wasn't 'cut short' or ended too soon. She lived the very life God wanted her to live, every single day of it."

Here are the lyrics. (Try to imagine singing this without breaking down into tears. It is/was very nearly prophetic.)

Cinderella
by Steven Curtis Chapman

She spins and she sways to whatever song plays,
Without a care in the world.
And I'm sittin' here wearin' the weight of the world on my shoulders.
It's been a long day and there's still work to do,
She's pulling at me saying "Dad I need you!
There's a ball at the castle and I've been invited and I need to practice my dancin'"
"Oh please, daddy, please!"

So I will dance with Cinderella
While she is here in my arms
'Cause I know something the prince never knew
Oh I will dance with Cinderella
I don't wanna miss even one song,
Cuz all too soon the clock will strike midnight
And she'll be gone

She says he's a nice guy and I'd be impressed
She wants to know if I approve of the dress
She says "Dad, the prom is just one week away,
And I need to practice my dancin'"
"Oh please, daddy, please!"

So I will dance with Cinderella
While she is here in my arms
'Cause I know something the prince never knew
Ohh-oh ohh-oh, I will dance with Cinderella
I don't wanna miss even one song,
Cuz all too soon the clock will strike midnight
And she'll be gone
She will be gone.

Well, she came home today
With a ring on her hand
Just glowin' and tellin' us all they had planned
She says "Dad, the wedding's still six months away
but I need to practice my dancin'"
"Oh please, daddy please!"

So I will dance with Cinderella
While she is here in my arms
'Cause I know something the prince never knew
Ohh-oh ohh-oh, I will dance with Cinderella
I don't wanna miss even one song,
(even one song)
Cuz all too soon the clock will strike midnight
And she'll be gone.
I sat there, listening and my heart broke - for Steven, for my mother who died before I could tell her how much I loved her, for my landlady who's son overdosed just four years ago.

And then Steven did something that took my breath away.

He changed the ending.

And we'll be to-gether on that bright day
And the dance
Will go on!

Thank you, Steven.

We will continue the dance in heaven.

We will.

Amen.

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