This week, our songs were gathered around the theme of redemption. 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.
Chariot by Page France
Noise by Jameson McGregor
Heart With No Companion by Leonard Cohen
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.
Chariot: The Christian story, in broad strokes, is about God redeeming a fallen world. In terms of humanity, this means that God chooses to initiate making things right with us, and entering into our stories to weave them into a greater Story. This song narrates what we might consider to be the end of this story, though it might just as well be called the end of the introduction. When we sing about a big party at the end of all things, and categorize it as a happy ending, we are proclaiming this alongside the fact that even the most pious of us slip up along the way. God's redemption of us is in spite of our own failures, and it is centered in the love of God that doesn't play by the rules.
Noise: This song begins with the acknowledgement that there is very little we can say with confidence about God--or at the very least, there is little we can say with confidence in its complete accuracy. As much as we might think we know about God, we are incapable of getting our pictures of God to line up just right. This is why the chorus narrows its talk about God to what God has done for us--and leaves it fairly vague in the process. The song then turns to thinking about what God knows about us, namely, that God understands our pain and our doubts. Why? Because God became human in Jesus. This is a much more intimate knowledge of the human experience than we could assume merely from God's having created humanity. Instead, God lived humanity. This is important when we think about redemption because it means we are known in the darkest parts of our being, yet God has still not abandoned us to our own devices.
Because He Lives: We sang this song to look over our shoulder at last weeks' songs. This is what we said about Because He Lives then: We sang this song to name the hope of the resurrection of Jesus over/against the pain of loss. This is not merely future hope, but infuses every moment of life with great significance, making it worth living.
Heart With No Companion: This song is fairly simple. It's about the love of God reaching to us through all measures of pain. This love comes from beyond this pain, and is untainted by it, yet it is a love that we might call shattered--it's calibrated to reach brokenness. I think the thing I love most about this song is the variety of images Cohen uses to describe who this love is directed at: the captain without a ship, the mother without a child, the lonely, the wayward, the ballerina who can no longer dance. While they aren't all the same, many of them point to people who have a passion or a self-identity that they are unable to fulfill. The love of God reaches this person with the message of "you matter. you are valuable." In thinking about redemption, we would do well to remind ourselves that God also wants to redeem the way we view ourselves and our place in this world.
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.