This was the eighth Sunday after Pentecost, and our songs were gathered around the themes of lament and hope. Below, you’ll find the list of the songs and artists. Clicking the song titles will take you to the lyrics. Below the songs, you can find recordings from Sunday morning of a few of them, and below the recordings, 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.
Rescue Is Coming by David Crowder* Band
Peace (Change Everything) by Jameson McGregor
Because He Lives by Bill and Gloria Gaither
For Those Tears I Died by Jameson McGregor (adapted from M. Stevens)
From time to time, we'll post live recordings of the songs from Sunday morning. These recordings aren't what you would call polished--sometimes guitars are out of tune, sometimes the vocals are off--but they are records of moments we've shared together. Here's one from this week.
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.
Rescue Is Coming: In the wake of a week full of pain, anger, and longing, we began our time together proclaiming that this present darkness is not the final word. Now is a time when we need to address systemic issues of racism, police brutality (both racially motivated and not), cultural addictions to violence, and overall division, but we placed those conversation on hold as we entered worship to reorient ourselves toward our only Hope.
Peace (Change Everything): As we have been moving through these difficult weeks, we have been singing Advent songs, because Advent is the time where we look around, see how dark the world is, and voice our longing for a Light. We sang Change Everything again this week because it afforded us the chance to voice our longing for change, and to turn to God as the catalyst of this change.
Because He Lives: We sang this song with a couple of things in mind: First, the claims made in this song are true—Jesus is alive in a way that is more than real. And so, we as individuals can stake our hope in One who is outside of ourselves and be held there. Second, Jesus is alive in another way in the people of Christ, those who have been and are being formed by His story and Spirit. Because of this, the people of Christ are partnered with Jesus in actively reconciling the world to God. But we need to know that sometimes that might mean doing things.
Furthermore, we need to know that the true claims to hope that Because He Lives makes are quite difficult for some people to claim for themselves. Namely, the “calm assurance” that our children can face uncertain days because He lives. If we listen to the cries of the black community in America, there is a decided lack of this "calm assurance," because their life experience says otherwise. And, yes, there is a way in which the "calm assurance" of Because He Lives is rooted in what Jesus' resurrection means broadly for the whole of human history, but if the church is the body of Christ, and this body is living and breathing in the present, that should bring some measure of hope to the present as well.
So we sang this as a proclamation of something true, but also as a challenge to ourselves to take seriously the fact that being the people of Christ demands something about the way we move about in the world, and that when we see that life experience makes it difficult for someone to claim the same hope that we do, we should make it our purpose to do something about that.
For Those Tears I Died: I came across this hymn text a couple of months ago, and started to reimagine it. After a few weeks of this "reimagining," I had stripped the text down to about 4 lines, knowing that they contained an important truth, but not knowing how to structure the rest of the song. In the wake of the attack on the LGBT community in Orlando, I started keeping track of things that I was praying as I expressed anger, confusion, and ultimately self-loathing for my own complicity in systems of hate by not being very vocal in combatting them. The song continued to take shape this past week as I felt more of those same emotions. This song isn't finished, and I don't know what it will look like when it is. At the moment, it's part existential despair, part personal confession, and part proclamation of hope. Probably the most personal side of it for me is the line in the second verse, "I've made an idol out of comfort, praised by keeping my mouth shut//but now it's found a thirst for blood." I'm what you might call incredibly talented at not speaking out against something I know to be wrong when I feel I can slip by unscathed if I keep my head down. This is fundamentally unchristian, and I am attempting to lean into repenting of it.
All Creatures of Our God and King: We sang this song to stand alongside creatures of all kinds in acknowledging God as our creator, sustainer, and the One who is reconciling all things to Godself, knowing that the Story that God is weaving is far from over.
Doxology: We close our time together each week with this proclamation that God is worthy of praise from every inch of the cosmos.