This week, our songs were gathered around the theme of glory. This word is kind of hard to pin down. In the context of these songs, our theme of "glory" points to the aspects of our experience of God that we struggle to even begin to wrap our minds around, and that leave us confessing that God is greater than we can even hope for God to be. 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 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Holy, Holy, Holy by Sufjan Stevens
Future/Past by John Mark McMillan
Noise by Jameson McGregor
You Were There by Jameson McGregor
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.
How Great Thou Art: This song traces the works of God that are evident through creation, the story of Jesus, and the hope of the resurrection, and declares God to be Great. There is language sprinkled throughout this song--experiencing "awesome wonder" in observing the universe, scarcely being able to take in the sacrifice of Jesus, our hearts one day being filled with joy in the resurrection--that extends to us a chance to reflect upon God in terms that are anything but numb, and to reawaken within us an understanding of just how glorious God is.
Holy, Holy, Holy: We last sang this song on Trinity Sunday as we thought about God's Otherness. There are many different layers of what it means to say that God is Holy, but a sense that God is above and beyond our wildest dreams about who God might be is at the center of all of them. This holiness points to the Glory of God.
Future/Past: The verses of this song offer overwhelming and beautiful pictures of the way that God relates to the cosmos. God's holding the reigns on the sun and moon, covering the greatest geological structures of Earth in the breadth of God's wings, and holding the movement in intricacy of the constellations in God's mind--these are all images that communicate something intimidating, overwhelming, and (strangely) beautiful about who God is. These images are contrasted with the line "In this fortunate turn of events, You asked me to be Your friend." I'll admit: this language comes off as trite. But let's not miss the fact that it is nonetheless true: God entering into a relationship with humanity is about as unbalanced as possible, yet that is precisely what God has done. This category-defying action is perhaps the most glorious image explored in this song.
Noise: This song carries a similar theme to the last song in that it highlights the distance between what it is to be human and what it is to be God. Our words fail to capture an accurate description of what God does or what God is like, and our actions consistently fail to live up to "proper"conduct in dealing with God, yet God has promised to be God for us--God with us. In Christ, God took on the depths of the human condition, and because of this, God understands our struggles. This is a miracle, and it is most certainly glorious.
You Were There: We sang this song to look over our shoulder at last weeks' songs. Last week, we said this about You Were There: This song is an exercise in perspective: God was there before there was anything evil, God is there despite our present anxiety, and God will be there after everything here is gone (Everything in the universe has a clock that's running out, but God does not). While God is present in the midst of our pain, and understands our pain, God is more real than everything we experience in the world. We can confidently fix our eyes on God in the midst of anxiety, having faith that God is unhindered by the things that overwhelm us.
Doxology: We close our time together each week with this proclamation that God is worthy of praise from every inch of the cosmos.