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The Order Of Things

          This song took me years to finish. In 2009, I was working as a photographer at the Florida Aquarium in Tampa, which was an hour’s

drive from St. Pete. So I decided to try to capitalize on all that travel

time by doing something other than listening to the radio or a CD.

(When did the iPod I marvel so much at come along?)

          I started to write mentally while I drove, and when I came up

with a line I liked, I would write it on a scrap of paper and put it in my

pocket. When I got home from work, I would assemble all the pieces.

This went on for months, and the lyrics to my song turned into an epic


          I spent a year trying to figure out how to turn that volume of lyric

into a song or songs. I considered asking a bunch of different singers

to record, but that didn’t work out. Ultimately, I used only portions of

the poem to create the finished song.    


        I had a few piano lessons when we lived in Germany (I would

have been something like five years old) and I’m not sure how much

those impacted me. I think my musical education really started when

I took up the trumpet in the 7th grade. I was fortunate to have great

band directors, and a music theory course I took as a senior in high

school really changed everything. I got pretty advanced on the horn,

and went so far as to major in music with trumpet as my major instru-

ment at University of South Florida. But, alas, the chronic plumbing

problems in my head made me inconsistent... I was a virtuouso one

day and a hack the next. I eventually had to let the horn go after a

half a lifetime of study.

          Fortunately, I had taught myself the guitar along the way. That

music theory class payed off dividends in spades. I hadn’t played the

trumpet years so I was excited to use a little pocket trumpet I bought

just for the song. I got some closure. Then I sold the horn.

          The first video was the song's final iteration and the second

is the poem it was came from. The words to the poem follow.

The Order Of Things  

words & music by james madison thomas

© June 23, 2009

The bloom is on the rose now,

the sun is on the sea,

the beauty of creation has taken all the breath out of me,

and left me filled with wonder for all the eye can see,  

and underneath the surface,

a purpose, and the order of things.

Further back than the beginning,

that side of the line,

the LORD had something different on His mind,

So He set the dreidel spinning,

so He started time,

and out of perfect reason came the rhyme.

Six amazing days ablaze with revelation-fire,

of cooking up momentum like a sun,

of calling out creation by the virtue of His power,

of showing us His heart in what He’s done.

He split the night with beams of light,

cast darkness from the day,

the waters He divided by the sky,

He made the sky His canvas,

when He stippled it with stars,

He fixed a star to guide the sailor right.

He made the moon to wax and wane,

the tide to rise and fall,

He made the great illuminate the small,

He laid a daily push-and-pull,

a season’s come-and-go,

a law of undulation on it all.

With laws of motion set in motion,

laws of gravity, laws of nature, entropy and chance,

all in all for His good pleasure, watching all He made

move through His elliptical romance.

Celestial bodies,

whirling, twirling dancers in the show,

that lean in close and dip and bow and spin,

With no real destination, but a destiny to go,

they jitterbug their way around the bend,

in orchestrated orbits, cosmic choreography,

a swirl of mathematics in the sky,

in circumambulations like the tracks inside a tree,

the elegant equations let it fly.

His exponential symmetries,

exceptions to the rule, and visible intangibles abound,

with beautiful complexity, He’s drawn a master plan,

and made the simple truth

the more profound.

So through our lenses,

God extends us more than meets the eye,

like windows to the worlds within His world,

where fishes glide like satellites across a liquid sky,

and musical geometry is heard,

in movements of the air transformed to music in the ear,

in oscillations square and saw and sine;

in intonations dancing on the waves beneath a song

is something like the water turned to wine.

A universe of parallels, the heavens and the sea,

the similes and metaphors abound,

in type and shadow, paradox, a forest in a seed,

is something like a dream inside a man.

As allegory’s inner story shines through the veneer,

as crimson thread or double-helix vine,

As fingerprints or common sense, or probability,

the clues amidst the camouflage are found.

He took a likeness from a tree, a simple wooden cross,

He set it in a cluster of bright stars,

He etched it in a molecule,

so near and yet so far,

this mystery, His monogram for us.

The bloom is on the rose now, the sun is on the sea,

this picture-perfect moment is God-sent,

it brings the praise out of me,

and though I’d like to keep it, it’s manna for one day,

the beauty lies beneath it, a secret in the order of things.

What a way to show the world the beauty of His heart,

through this strange and wonderful design ––

Every good and perfect gift a holy work of art,

every part a part of every part.

When I die, I hope that I will rise up from the grave

and leave all my corruption in the dust,

And all my fear will disappear,

and faith will finally save*,

and mom & dad will meet me at the bus.

As for now, I hope somehow

for eye that will not dim,

for ear that hears a whisper on the wind,

For heart that testifies

that beauty lies below the skin,

and He that brings it out has put it in.

The bloom is on the rose now,

the sun is on the sea,

the beauty of creation has taken all the breath out of me,

and left me filled with wonder for all the eye can see,  

and underneath the surface,

a purpose, and the order of things.

* Footnote

Reflecting on the lyric. “and faith will finally save”,

I don’t think I articulated that accurately. We are saved

by grace through faith. Faith is an essential ingredient,

but it is the blood of Christ that bought our redemption,

and without that, our faith would be useless. –– jmt

Words & Music by james madison thomas

            The album didn't have enough strong content

to try to release

The Order Of Things

for distribution.

I did have a handful

of songs I could add

that I deemed weaker,

but I didn't want to

hide them away

forever either.

So, I'm going

to post the whole

collection of songs,

weak & strong, on my

Widows & Orphan page.