She has a mind fed on C.S. Lewis and the great Christian thinkers, hands that learned to calm a nervous horse, eyes that have looked deep and long into the sky and desert, lungs that have breathed the smoke of wildfires and the dust of spring branding. Somehow she, who knows all these things, knows also the miles of asphalt between herself and her land. She performs where people put their lives on display in digital cages like rare exotic creatures. She walks in beauty in a place where beauty is a distortion of truth, where people only see her animated by the same lights that lie to them about who they truly are. But she lives in their world as being apart, like the Native American children of the past, taken from the tribe to learn the ways of the white man, she does not belong here.
You see a lanky man with long hair, an up-and-comer creating his own image to brand and market and sell. Look deeper. Listen harder. Listen to him: the voice of lapping waves, of highland snow, of hot, desert wind and New Mexico pines, of adobe shade. Deep truth lives in the eyes of this young man who has lived several lifetimes in one, and whose journey has only just begun. In his hands he holds an instrument that speaks for him when he has no words to a crowd who has no ears.
Together, she and the lanky young man appear again and again with a message that no one hears, making sacrifices others would not call a sacrifice at all. A poster in the window at a coffee shop. Is that all you see?
The ‘why’ of it is clear to me, but perhaps you missed it. This is a man captured, heart and soul, by the great love and majestic name of Jesus. The truth of that Name is the spark, the depth of that love the driving force that carries him to a lead a life abandoned, investing all his creativity to magnify the Name, and proclaim it to the deaf people living in the dark. This is a woman created, called and wholly given to serve her Redeemer. Whatever He asks, wherever He bids her, whatever the cost she is invested even knowing she will be away from her home and her people and her way of life.
Have these artists so concealed Christ behind their art, is He so well-hidden in melodies with lyrics about the world that their message will never be heard? Have their struggles to stay on the narrow way destroyed their witness? That depends, I guess, on what you choose to see. Perhaps it depends on where you are standing. I know one thing about Gleewood: they go where it’s dark, but their Light does not go out. I know that there are souls dead in the dark that have been drawn to this Light, awakened for the first time.
It’s a promise that we will reap what we sow. And these two called-out, blood-bought followers of Christ have been out sowing seed where the rest of us won’t go. They have given and they have gained, and they have lost along the way so far. But like you and I, they live missionally. They do this with purpose and ultimately to live honestly before God, exercising all of His gifts for His glory and to give Him all the credit and all the praise for everything. They do this for souls to see the Light.
Missionaries in America are like unicorns, the real ones are hard to find. If you were looking and truly listening, you found two of them when you saw that Gleewood poster in the window. Perhaps you know them. Perhaps you disagree with me, and see a back-slidden pair of struggling youth swimming in the graywater of a post-Christian culture. So find me a perfect representation of Christ on earth and I’ll concede. Until then, I’ll insist that the Gleewood duo is the real thing. Real Christians who show real love to the real lost and dying world that their Perfect Redeemer has sent them to be in, not of.
Gleewood, wave the banner of the King everywhere you go. In the world, you’ll have your share of trouble. But take heart, because He has overcome the world.
Dear Reader, I’ve had it on my heart to write a review of this Indie band, Gleewood, ever since their departure for Europe on tour. It’s only now that they are back that I have published this. You may wonder what in the world this has to do with ranch life? Well, the woman in this story is my sister, Callie Sioux. Her dream in life was a range management degree and a ranch, but she felt drawn to Hollywood. As did our mother, and our great aunt…in fact, in three generations of sisters there has been one who chose a somewhat public life and one who chose ranching. Dear Reader, you can consider this post a ‘teaser’. Because I’ll be telling the tale of three sets of sisters from the 1930’s to the 1990’s and beyond, growing up on ranches in the American Southwest, and the grand Western women they have become (or in the case of Callie and I, hopefully becoming). That’s down the road a bit, but thank you, nonetheless, for reading. My best to you!