This week, our songs were gathered around the theme of dependence. Below, you’ll find the list of the songs and artists. Clicking the song titles will take you to the lyrics. Below the songs, there is an example of one way you might think of these songs in light of this week's theme. If you want to talk about any of these, feel free to comment at the bottom of this page or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hope by Jameson McGregor
Your Love Is Strong by Jon Foreman
Fall Afresh by Jeremy Riddle
Feel by Jameson McGregor
Wayward Ones by The Gladsome Light
How They Fit In:
There are many ways to think about the significance of songs and the way they fit together–-this is simply one way you can look at these songs in light of this week’s theme.
Hope: We sang this song for the first time last week, and I would encourage you to go back and read the entry I posted here to get a better idea of what this song is about. In the context of this week's songs, Hope reminds us that God is present with us in the midst of darkness, and we can depend upon God to carve meaning into our darkest moments.
Your Love Is Strong: We sang this song to proclaim that we can depend on the love of God to take care of us in the midst of life's struggles, great and small.
Fall Afresh: We sang this song to voice our dependence on the Spirit for living life to the fullest and for taking our journey of faith seriously.
Feel: The first long paragraph is a jumble of thoughts I have in the background of this song, and the the second paragraph is more directly about the song itself:
There are times in the journey of faith where God seems to go "dark"--where we don't feel God. This is chronicled in the Psalms, the prophets, on the lips of Jesus. It's something I've experienced, and something many of my friends have experienced. With this in mind, I'm going to go ahead and assume that it's a normal part of the rhythm of faith. Yet, we don't really talk about it (I think we should). This is understandable to an extent. We can expect to get better at most things we do in life over time. Practice makes perfect, so to speak. So, when we don't "feel" God anymore, the first assumption is that we're doing faith wrong. But what if faith isn't like this? What if instead of getting more and more connected to God over time, our experience is more akin to a journey over mountainous terrain, complete with high points and low points, and more high points, and more low points? This is hard to take in when the low points are marked by feeling abandoned by God in some way, but what if the feeling of abandonment actually had nothing to do with God abandoning us? When relating to God, we enter a relationship where we do not see or hear the Other, but we do, in a sense, feel God. This label of "feeling" is imprecise, but we might think of it as some assurance of God's presence with us. Anyway, when the feeling is taken away, it naturally feels like God has gone away, but this is not necessarily the case. In general, "God never leaves us. God is perfectly faithful to us," is a safe theological statement. The story of Scripture shows us as much as God remains faithful to people who are not faithful to God. God's relationship toward us is about what God has decided to do, not what we deserve. So how is God present when we do not feel God? My answer to this works for me, but I by no means expect you to buy into it. It's this: God is present through the community of faith. As flawed as it is, the fact that the community of faith is identified as the Body of Christ communicates to me that it is, in one way or another, the presence of Christ in the world (Yeah, I know that some people wear the label of "Christian" and don't act like Jesus--I'm not extending this to all people who label themselves Christians at all times. Instead, I'm suggesting that those who are being formed in the way of Christ have the potential to be agents of God's presence). We generally accept this idea when thinking about caring for the poor or loving people as the "hands and feet" of Jesus, but I propose that the same is true as we relate to one another. We are agents of presence to one another--whether we are aware of it or not.
So. This song is a collection of language I've used in prayer when I go through a season of not being able to "feel" God. The temptation in these times is to stop praying altogether--if for no other reason, because it's hard. But it's not quite as hard when we allow ourselves to be honest; to let the content of the prayer be about why we don't want to pray. I should stop here and clarify: I wrote this song after having experienced this feeling of disconnect quite a few times, thus I have grown to expect that these seasons are temporary. If you are experiencing something like this for the first time, I realize that you may not share my inclination to continue to seek God in any way through it. I'm not trying to tell you that you are wrong, but I am being honest about how things have gone for me. For me, these dark times have been awful, hopeless, draining, confusing, on and on, and I never feel like the darkness serves a purpose in the moment. But. On the other side of these seasons, I look at them as times of growth. I don't think I can quantify this growth, but I'm certain of it. And, while I may not feel God personally in these times, I have benefited greatly from being around those who do. In a way, I have found that the people in my community of faith can feel God for me. Thus, in the context of this week's songs, we sang this to think about depending on God through the people of God. As always, I haven't said everything I want to about this song, though I've said more than most people wanted to sit and read. If you have questions/concerns, please email me.
Wayward Ones: We sing this song every time we take communion to remind ourselves of a couple of things. First, we are a broken people--though we are seeking to become more like Jesus, we often fail at this. Second, Christ has given Himself for us despite our brokenness. We take communion to remember the sacrifice of Jesus on our behalf, even though we did not, and do not, deserve it.
Doxology: We close our time together each week with this proclamation that God is worthy of praise from every inch of the cosmos.